Wellspring

Wellspring

Friday, October 20, 2017

Safe Harbour-- reaching out to each Jane Doe


In helping domestic violence victims, we often interface with other related social issues. Dave DeCelle of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, talks about how domestic violence intersects with their work.

This year, Soroptimist International of Saratoga County is working to raise awareness of trafficking issues. Our theme for the year is Talk About It! Before a Club meeting a month ago, members asked me for statistics on trafficking in Saratoga County... do we even have any trafficking that happens here? Yeah we do. John Kelly oversees the Saratoga County Safe Harbour Program, a community response to sex trafficking. He provided the following statistics since July 2016 in Saratoga County:
  • They've worked with  13 confirmed Trafficking Victims . 
  • There have also been 62 individuals under the age of 21 who have scored a “High Risk” level on the screening tool for trafficking during the same time period.
I might also add, these are just the number of trafficking victims under the age of 21; Wellspring also assists trafficked persons  over 21 years of age... so the problem is even greater than those stats.
At our monthly Soroptimist meeting, members were shocked at the numbers... in Saratoga County?! Frankly 4 years ago, before CAPTAIN and the Center for the Family collaborated to launch the Safe Harbour Program,  these vulnerable youth probably wouldn't have been identified... or helped.  What's happened in the past few years? We've all gotten training so we're better able to recognize trafficking... and know what resources there are to help a victim. We've developed teamwork between agencies so that we can pull together our resources to help vulnerable victims. CAPTAIN, the Center for the Family, Wellspring  work together to increase awareness and provide crisis services and support. Wellspring hosted a training for first responders where CAPTAIN's street outreach team talked about the  needs of vulnerable teens on the street-- how they get sucked into a world of sexual victimization... just to survive.
 
Most folks wouldn't imagine trafficking happens right here in our community... and wouldn't recognize it if they saw it. So how can we help? Let's increase our knowledge. Awareness is the first step to solving the problem. Here's an opportunity. On Thursday October 26th at 4 pm, Bow Tie Cinema at 19 Railroad Place in Saratoga Springs will have a showing of the film, I Am Jane Doe. The film has been described as :
a gripping legal thriller” (Esquire); “a powerful call to action” (The Los Angeles Times); “viscerally emotional” (The Washington Post), I Am Jane Doe chronicles the epic battle that several American mothers are waging on behalf of their middle-school daughters, victims of sex trafficking on Backpage.com, the classified advertising website that for years was part of the iconic Village Voice.  Reminiscent of Erin Brockovich and Karen Silkwood, these mothers have stood up on behalf of thousands of other mothers, fighting back and refusing to take no for an answer.

Reservations are available on line. Click here for more information. Watching the documentary and starting a conversation... it's an easy way to start tackling a tragic problem that affects our youth.

And here's another easy way to make a difference for victims. Wellspring has just 10 days left  to raise funds in Allstate's Purple Purse Challenge. It takes just seconds to make your donation online and help place first in the nation earning the $100,000 bonus from Allstate. Go just a few seconds to get us one step closer to ending relationship and sexual abuse in our community... click here to donate.








 
 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

One Day... One Day Closer

My sons are grown men now, but if there were Emmy nominations for reading to your kids, I'd probably have a series of trophies on my mantle (I delight in character voices, accents, suspense and timing when reading a kids' book). Malcolm Gladwell says  the key to achieving expertise is dedicating 10,000 hours of practice to your craft. I'm pretty sure I spent at least that much time with the boys (and a cat) sitting in my lap as together we discovered how a book can open the door to any possibilities you can imagine. Dreams become reality when you're between the front and back cover of the book...and often ideas live on after the reader closes the book.  Judith Viorst's Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, monumentalized one day in the life of young Alexander. Allow me to share  with you the story of my yesterday... with a working title of Maggie and the Stressful but Exciting, Inspiring, Grateful, Hopeful, Really Wonderful Day!

So yesterday at 1:59 in the afternoon marked the end of week 2 of Allstate's Purple Purse Challenge. It was a big week as the 3 agencies that raised the most money during that week, would earn a $10,000 bonus. We're competing with about 125 agencies across the country... and they're all working hard for the survivors in their communities, so we have some really stiff competition! Stressful.

Watching the leaderboard!
As 2 pm approached concluding the end of week 2 of the Challenge, I was in the company of about 25 women who were enthusiastically watching the leaderboard and supporting Wellspring's campaign in every way they could. All eyes were glued to the cell phone screens as the fundraising totals for all agencies kept changing ("We're in 3rd- by $1,000... another agency just got a $5,000 donation... oh Wellspring just moved ahead!...can we hold the lead?)" Exciting

While Tuesday's conversation was certainly about the Challenge, this isn't the first time we've gotten together to talk. We've talked before about educating youth, about reducing stigma, about how to talk to a friend who may be experiencing abuse, about changing attitudes that contribute to  abuse... and mostly about what they can do to end relationship and sexual abuse. Wellspring's not alone in this... we've got a community supporting our vision. Inspiring


Karen Charbonneau, Willie Miranda, me and Karen Totino
We had a quick moment of celebration when Wellspring placed 1st in the nation in the week 2 challenge and- yes!- got the $10,000 bonus funds for programs  and services here in Saratoga County, but then all went back to our busy lives. I left there and headed to the ribbon cutting for the Saratoga Home Team. On their really special day as they launched their new business, Karen Charbonneau and Karen Totino chose to share the spotlight to support Wellspring, raising funds and awareness about our work. Grateful
 
Throughout the crowd were friends of Wellspring who've championed our work over the years and were following the leaderboard all afternoon. We've always said the key to ending abuse doesn't rest solely in the hands of Wellspring advocates assisting survivors... we'll only achieve or our vision by engaging everyone  to create the change so that abuse isn't acceptable  in our community. Everywhere I went Tuesday, I saw we're on that path. Hopeful

When I'd read to my sons about Alexander's bad day, I'd always tell them that tomorrow's a new and different day with new possibilities.  Unlike Alexander I had a magnificent day yesterday... but it was just one step along the path. We've got less than 2 weeks left in the Challenge... and a lot of work to do to maintain our standing (and maybe advance into the first place position) so spread the work and let folks know they can help by clicking here. And then we've got some more work do to do to create the change needed to end relationship and sexual abuse. But, together, we can do it!



Saturday, October 14, 2017

Nicole Kidman Should Be Here

There's a saying about domestic violence, "Silence Hides Violence". Tomorrow at 4 pm at Northshire Books, join us-- we're breaking the silence. We're not the only ones doing it. In fact, Liane Moriarty started it with her book, Big Little Lies. Then came the HBO series based on the book. And Nicole Kidman continued the conversation with her Emmy acceptance speech. Tomorrow we're inviting you to be part of the conversation as we have an open community book/series discussion about Big Little Lies.
Rachel Person, of Northshire  Books, explains that one of the best ways to deal with the hard things in life is through the safe space of a book. Click here for more from Rachel... and join us tomorrow at Northshire Books for an exciting conversation about the book where the "little lies turn out to be the most lethal" and about Wellspring's vision of ending relationship and sexual abuse

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Purple Purses for Sanctuary


The Presbyterian New England Congregational Church is no stranger to helping those in need. From being the site for the Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council's daily soup kitchen and food pantry, to supporting Code Blue efforts, and the recent Peace Fair, their congregation lives their commitment to be a loving friendly community that worships God and serves others.
Pastor Kate Forer spoke with me recently about how the church is a sanctuary where everyone can feel safe, loved and valued... click here for her inspiring wish that the Purple Purse Challenge can help make all relationships that same sanctuary for people.

Today Wellspring is in third place in the nation... because you and all our community members share that same vision. Please spread the word and support Wellspring's Purple Purse Challenge by donating here

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Thoughts Over Your Morning Coffee

Like me, you probably wake up and have a cup of coffee to start your day. Unlike me, you may not wake up most days and start thinking about how we can end domestic violence in our community.

Well the folks at Death Wish Coffee know a thing or two about coffee beans... and they're also really good spokespeople for how important it us for us to increase awareness. Click here to find out why their supporting Wellspring's mission and the Purple Purse Challenge.

Wellspring is as concerned as Talia from Death Wish about the  1 in 3 teens who experience dating violence. We do extensive outreach to youth for prevention programs and also social change initiatives. If we can teach youth to recognize and take action when they notice abusive behaviors, we're on our way to creating the social change needed to end abuse. To that end, here's a video we produced for high school and college age youth about being advocates for change by challenging social norms. Share the video with a young adult you t know (or a parent of one).





Sunday, October 8, 2017

Girlfriends... There's Still Time

You work hard... you deserve a night like this.


Could you use a gals’ night out with: shopping, fashion show, pampering (chair massages anyone?), delicious food, and great friends? Would it be even better if your night of fun benefited other women in need? Then join us this Wednesday, October 11th from 6-8:30 pm at Longfellow’s for Girlfriends Helping Girlfriends. This popular event supports Wellspring’s programs to support survivors and engage our community… so we can end relationship and sexual abuse.  

Tickets at $50 in advance and $75 at the door. Purchase your tickets now at WellspringCares.org/girls   or by calling 518.583.0280. 

Hope to see you this Wednesday!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Finding Strength Together

Friends wearing purple and showing their inner strength
 in support of the Purple Purse Challenge
I got to Reform Pilates a little early this morning. I've never done a Pilates class and wasn't sure what to expect as I went to  my first class. They graciously offered a donation class in support of our Purple Purse Challenge, so what better reason than to try Pilates? As I was sitting looking around the reception area there was a sign with motivational messages about how to make your life exciting, healthy and joyous. One line caught my eye 'Every day do something that makes you feel uncomfortable'. OK it's 9:45 in the morning and I'm about to ace that one, I thought.

Big smiles after class
The class was great fun, but I had to notice that with this Challenge I've been spending a lot more time at my computer and not very much in plank pose. My core muscles are grateful for the reminder...and I'm grateful for the generous support of Reform Pilates.

And speaking of not shying away from things that are uncomfortable. Our friends at Look TV regularly dedicate their show to conversations about the hard social issues that affect our local communities: homelessness, mental health, poverty, heroin use among our teens... and domestic violence. They're not sensationalizing the problems, they're digging in and having real conversations about how we can educate ourselves and create solutions. Robin Dalton and I met yesterday with Jesse Jackson to talk about an event we're coordinating with Northshire Bookstore to start talking about how we can end domestic violence. I'll give you a hint.. Nicole Kidman would approve! Click here to finds out what we're doing and why Robin and Jesse want you to be part of this. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

People As Diverse As Purses

Right now we're holding at #2 in the country in the Purple Purse Challenge (but we've got a whole month ahead of us and some very stiff competition.) I'm struck by the diversity of our supporters in both who they are and why they care. I spent a lot of last month hearing from community leaders about why the  issue of domestic violence is important to them (check out all of September's blog posts.) We've got men, women, fitness folks, restaurants, attorneys, engineers, poets...and even a dog raising funds to support the cause. Truly our whole community --Tourism, Life Coaching, Digital Marketing ...and Engineers-- are all united in our vision of a community free of relationship and sexual abuse.  Click on the names of these interesting folks to hear why they're supporting Wellspring's Purple Purse Challenge:

The Saratoga County Tourism Bureau knows how to make visitors' vacations in Saratoga enjoyable... but Talia Cass also demonstrates that they are also knowledgeable about and sensitive to the many challenges domestic violence survivors face,

Carly Hamilton-Jones works to empower women and girls... and she's seen the effects of domestic violence, so she's grateful our county has Wellspring's services to assist survivors,

Fingerpaint Marketing regularly wins national awards for their work. They know how to communicate a message and they acknowledge that domestic violence isn't easy to talk about... but Bo Goliber isn't uncomfortable having the at conversation. They're supporting the Purple Purse Challenge because of Wellspring's work on prevention programs,

 Adam Farvo supports not just physical health but quality of life in our community so he's rocking his purple purse, and
on behalf of women building ships let's hear from Emily Franz, the president of The Society of Women Engineers




"Ending relationship and sexual abuse in our community"... yeah, together we can do this!

Do you share our vision? Please donate today at https://www.crowdrise.com/wellspring-purplepurse2017



Thursday, October 5, 2017

Meteorologists, Puppy Pics, Pocketbooks and My Son's First Joke

Odd blog post title? How are these 4 things related?
 
I was talking to Jason Gough yesterday and thanking him for using his celebrity not just keep us informed about the weather, but as a voice for victims. During his weather report on Friday Jason did a fun shout out in advance of our Pooch Parade - watch it here.  Thinking of rain and pooches reminded me of my son Dan's first joke when he was about three. I don't know where he heard it, but he'd tell this joke all the time and decades later I can still picture his whole body bouncing with laughter as he told it:
"It's raining cats and dogs.
Be careful not to step in a poodle"
Well we didn't step in any poodles, but I vowed  to coordinate with Jason next year to ask for better weather. But people and dogs had a great time, while raising money to support Wellspring's work and our Safe Pet Partnership. Did you miss the Pooch Parade? Here are some great pictures by photographer Cathy Duffy of our pooches for peace. Andy, and I would like to offer a big woof and a tail wag to Dr. Maribeth Wallingford and her team at Adirondack Veterinary Clinic for coordinating the Pooch Parade for us.
 
Andy,Andy was wearing his purple pocketbook all throughout the parade to invite folks to help Wellspring as we participate in Allstate's Purple Purse Challenge. It started on October 2nd we've got until the end of the month to raise funds; we're striving for first place in the country which would earn us $100,000 in bonus funds from Allstate for programs and services here in Saratoga County. #1 in the US is a big goal, but with your help we can do it (we're in second place right now with some very stiff competition). Click here to support Andy's fundraising efforts and watch a video with Andy and his feline family member, Bob, about how Wellspring helps the forgotten victims of domestic violence, our furry, feathered and finned family members.
 
Thanks for your support. Together we can end relationship and abuse!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, October 2, 2017

5,4,3,2,1... Let's Do This!

We've been talking about it all month... and the moment is here. Please join the excitement as Wellspring (and all of our community in Saratoga County) competes in Allstate's Purple Purse Challenge.  We're trying to place #1 in the nation in demonstrating our whole community's commitment to ending relationship and sexual abuse.

Here's what you can do:
  • Sign up to be one of our Changemakers. You can host your own supporter page on Wellspring's fundraising page. Tell your friends the issue of domestic violence is  important to you and ask them to contribute-- every dollar counts! Click here for info on how to set up your page (just click on the purple "fundraise for this community partner" box.
  • Coordinate an event at your office to raise awareness and funds (dress down Friday?  Celebrate National Taco Day with a potluck lunch-- hint it's tomorrow).
  • Attend one -- or all- of the great fundraising events our community partners are hosting to support Wellspring's Purple Purse Challenge. Click here for more info about our events.
  • Donate. Here's the link! You can put your name on the leaderboard...or a message about why you care or words of support for survivors or for those who are currently being abused.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Taking it Off The Mat

Ahhh....
I'm feeling totally relaxed, balanced and centered right now. With The Allstate Purple Purse Challenge starting tomorrow, I'm surprised to be saying that, but I just came from yoga class at Yoga Mandali and it was the perfect reset I needed to prep for the start of the month-long challenge.

I'm a regular at Yoga Mandali (don't ask my favorite instructor because they're all terrific. Each one brings a different message to my yoga practice...and my life.) I started yoga for the same reason so many do- the physical practice. After all this body isn't getting any younger and when the day comes that grandkids arrive, I still want to be able to give them horsey rides, teach them how to do cartwheels and take them on hikes up mountains. And yoga does make a big difference physically, but the real differences happen in the head and heart. Yogis always talk about taking their practice and the peace it brings off the mat into the world. I see them doing just that every day. 

When I mentioned the Purple Purse Challenge, several of the yogis at Yoga Mandali asked how they could help, I suggested they share their thoughts on Wellspring's vision of ending relationship and sexual abuse... and they certainly did. Click here to hear and see the strength of these humble warriors.

But that's not all they did. Karen Score, owner of Yoga Mandali, committed to offering a donation yoga class each Sunday at 11:30 am during the Purple Purse Challenge. So please join us... whether you're brand new to yoga or balance in tree pose while you're doing the dishes you'll have a great time in this gorgeous studio.

Mahatma Gandhi said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world."
Our yogi friends aren't the only ones living that ethic. During October, we've got we got plenty of opportunities for you to workout and make this world a better place:
  • Saturday, October 7th at 10 am Reform Pilates is offering a 50 minute Pilates Mat class (all levels and experience welcome) The class is free but all donations support the Purple Purse Challenge. My back is going to thank me for some attention to the core muscles!
  • Zumba anyone? Go For Fitness is hosting their popular, annual Zumbathon on Saturday. October 14th at 10am. More details to come! Getting in shape, while dancing, & laughing with great music.. sure beats the treadmill!
  • Wednesday, October 18th at 5 pm, Saratoga Cycling Studio has a karma cycle class (it's free, but again donations accepted to support the Purple Purse Challenge.) I've never done a spin class, but I can't wait. Seeing Gerard's enthusiasm when I visited the studio, it's gotta be fun!






 



Friday, September 29, 2017

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Purses for Seeing What's Possible

Yesterday I  spoke with Miriam Dushane of Linium Recruiting. We talked about women's issues, employment, purple purses... and how trapped domestic violence victims can feel because they don't realize there are resources out there that can help them leave the abuse. Miriam has seen the effects of domestic violence in the workplace and also among women she knows. She offers words of encouragement, "There's no reason for you to stay in a relationship that's unhealthy." Click here for more about why Miriam is wearing a purple purse in October.

Miriam is right. Often people don't come to an agency like Wellspring because they think they need to be in crisis to access our services. They also may not come because they see too many obstacles to leaving and don't feel they have the resources: 'How would I afford rent?'... 'I don't have money for a lawyer so how would I get an order of protection,  custody or child support?'... I can't afford childcare if I go back to work... and what would I do in the summer when school is out. I'd have to leave my job' So they remain in the abuse, because the obstacles to leaving seem insurmountable... and they feel trapped. Wellspring has resources to help with all these obstacles...and you don't need to be in crisis to use our free, confidential services.

Kudos to Miriam and Linium for being so knowledgeable about domestic violence.  It's important for employers to have an understanding about domestic violence and the resources in our community to support an employee in need. When a victim leaves the abuse, the workplace may be the most predictable place to find him/her, so abusers will often stalk, harass or otherwise interfere with their partner's job. Did you know:
  • One in 5 people in the workplace experience relationship abuse in their lifetimes... and of that number 96% says their work suffers as a result.?
  • 40% of victims report being harassed at work by their abuser?
  • 74% of perpetrators had easy access to their partner's workplace? and
  • 21% of offenders contacted their victims at the workplace in violation of an order of protection?
Wellspring provides safety planning for survivors--at home, at school and at work. Wellspring also has a toolkit to help managers and supervisors recognize and respond when an employee job performance and safety are being a impacted by domestic violence. Wellspring also provides assistance to employers in developing workplace policies to address domestic violence and in helping employers respond when an employee is being abused. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Put Your Purse in your Mouth and "Heel"

 
Andy is ready to join his friends from Adirondack Veterinary Clinic and Bensons (where he gets yummy dog biscuits) at this year's Pooch Parade. There will be a blessing of the pets by the Reverend Peter Klotz, doggy CPR instruction, an obstacle course, pawdicures (nail trims) for just $5, and a dog walk. We'll give a special woof to the working dogs in our community, including the K9 dogs from the Sheriff's Dept  and the loving pups from Therapy Dogs International who will be at the parade.

It's a fun day for an important cause. Click here as Lisa Crawford tells why Maribeth Wallingford DVM and all the staff of Adirondack Veterinary Clinic support the Pooch Parade.



So join us for this fun, family event:
Saturday, September 30, 2017
 Congress Park in Saratoga Springs
10 am registration and activities
11 am the walk begins
$5/dog (humans free)

Monday, September 25, 2017

His Purse Demonstrates Powerful Role Modeling

We might think that the best place for kids to learn is in a classroom. But for youth, and for all of us, sometimes our best lessons come when we least expect it. Anders Mattson, the Director of Instruction at Saratoga National Golf Academy, certainly teaches youth about how to swing a golf club... but also teaches about social responsibility. Click here for more from Anders.


At Wellspring, we understand the powerful influence a coach has on a young athlete. That's why we're bring Coaching Boys into Men®  (CBIM) to schools in Saratoga and Washington Counties, at no cost to the school. CBIM is an evidence based curriculum that's been used across the country and globally that helps coaches incorporate a leadership component into their work with youth so their athletes build respectful and non-violent relationships.  Men-- fathers, uncles, teachers, and coaches -- have an important and necessary role to play in ending violence against women and children. Coaching Boys into Men® has a growing global community of coaches and athletes helping to prevent domestic violence and relationship abuse. 

If you are interested in learning more about Coaching Boys into Men® or bringing it to your school, or other athletics program, contact Wellspring. We're committed to providing our community partners the tools so that together we can create the social change needed to end relationship and sexual abuse.
 

 


Sunday, September 24, 2017

His purse represents a commitment to love, compassion and justice


Recently I was speaking with the Reverend Joe Cleveland of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Saratoga Springs about domestic violence. His church has long supported the work of Wellspring, because our mission connects so well with the beliefs that underlie their faith. Reverend Cleveland explains that his congregation is, "committed to love, compassion and justice." Click here for more about why his church cares... and why he personally is passionately committed to ending domestic violence.

I love sitting in the sanctuary of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation and looking at the beautiful quilt behind the altar (a small section of it shown in the picture above). I often think if we all allowed our every action to be guided by love, truth, tolerance, service, and compassion, how much better this world would be.
 


Saturday, September 23, 2017

I'm Not the Only One Who Is Excited!

I  just had the pleasure of speaking with two dear friends, Jesse and 
Antoinette Jackson (Jesse on-air, but as always Antoinette and I continued the conversation long after the cameras stopped rolling.) Look TV has long been a champion and partner in our efforts to increase awareness about relationship and sexual abuse.

So Jesse and I were talking about the upcoming Allstate Purple Purse Challenge. At Wellspring we've set a really big goal ... leading Saratoga County to #1 in the nation during the month-long fundraising challenge, to show that our whole community is committed to the vision of ending relationship and sexual abuse.

I've gotta say, our friends at Look TV are just as excited as we are about the possibilities. Watch the interview here, to learn more about Allstate's Purple Purse Challenge... and what you can do to help.

Friday, September 22, 2017

They're for Safe Homes and Purple Purses

       HOME

Just thinking of the word do you exhale, smile a bit and feel calmer? I do. Home (no matter how bustling or busy) is a place you are loved, surrounded by family, and where you can be relaxed and comfortable. But in a home where there's domestic violence, sometimes the home is loving and then can, in an instant, change to a place with fear. So the people living there are never fully relaxed. At Wellspring, survivors often describe, "always feeling like I'm walking on eggshells." Charles Wait Jr. knows that, "when violence enters the home, people need safe spaces... and Wellspring offers a safe place to go." Click here for more about why he supports Wellspring's work and the Purple Purse Challenge.


Belmonte Builders knows a thing or two about building homes from the foundation to the roof shingles. Lindsey Belmonte supports Wellspring's work because like Belmonte Builders we help create, "safe homes in safe communities".  Click here for more from Lindsey.





As a realtor, Karen Charbonneau of Miranda Realty certainly knows the importance of a home. But her reason for supporting Wellspring and the Purple Purse Challenge is far deeper and more personal. As a teenager, she saw children growing up in homes with domestic violence and she remembers, "the fear in the faces of children in homes with domestic violence." As she talks about it, it's clear that these years later she still  remembers those faces, and cares about this issue because she too wants a community where no child experiences that fear...especially at home. Click here for more from Karen.

When an individual or a family needs to leave home because it's not safe, Wellspring can help. Last year alone we provided 2,865 bed nights of safe slumber for adults and children fleeing abuse. Shelter isn't our only housing option though. Our NewView Housing program provides rent subsidized apartments throughout Saratoga County for domestic violence survivors. Last year we provided apartments for 31 families (with 45 children) so they could be safe (that's 17,000 nights of safe sleep in a violence-free home). In addition to the rent subsidy we provide weekly in-home support services to help the family remain safe, heal, and achieve employment of financial goals so they can remain abuse-free and be self-sufficient.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Purses Looking Out From Inside

Because I spend so much time talking to the public about Wellspring, people often think of me when they think of the agency. But I'm only a very small part of Wellspring. The agency has 19 dedicated employees who daily carry out our mission to support survivors and engage the community to end relationship and sexual abuse. They quietly and humbly provide the caring and knowledgeable support that helps survivors achieve safety, heal from trauma and transcend the abuse. We also have a board of directors that focuses on long range goals so Wellspring will continue to meet the needs of our community. And we have dedicated volunteers and interns who help in many different ways: fostering pets, providing financial literacy training,  assisting with office work, and helping with fundraisers (and we've got a bunch of those coming up in October!)
 
Today two of our advocates are my guest bloggers,  sharing their thoughts on the work they do and how your support enables them to make a difference. They coordinate one of our October fundraisers each year as a way to connect with you. Enough from me,  their words are way more meaningful...


As Wellspring advocates, we work directly with people experiencing domestic or sexual abuse. We assist clients through a variety of challenges; advocates may find themselves linking clients to important resources that may pay for costly medications and services their insurance do not cover, or working with clients to process their experience and the reactions associated with the trauma they have undergone. We may accompany clients to police stations or to the hospital for an exam. If clients choose to report and their case goes to prosecution, we will accompany the victim through any stage of the process and offer emotional support. We also offer assistance and support to family members or friends of a victim to help them process their feelings and to help them best support their loved one. Every day we work hard to ensure that victims feel heard and supported, and that they are given all of the information they need in order to make informed decisions. Additionally, we work to engage the community to end relationship and sexual abuse. Throughout the year, we present information about the dynamics of dating violence, consent, and healthy relationships to over 5,000 high schools students throughout the county. Additionally, we work with Skidmore students on social change initiatives.

This October, Wellspring will again be participating in the Allstate Foundation Purple Purse Challenge. The Allstate Foundation created the Purple Purse Challenge to raise awareness about an often overlooked tactic of control: financial abuse. The Challenge calls on domestic violence agencies to raise funds throughout October that the Foundation will match or even multiply. The Allstate Foundation Purple Purse Challenge encourages advocates to go beyond their job title to spread awareness and engage our community in new and creative ways.

On October 12th, Wellspring is teaming up with local restaurant NaNola to host our second annual event for the Purple Purse Challenge: Wellspring at NaNola. There will be a 50/50, raffle give-a-ways, and a game of Family Feud for everyone to participate in. Wellspring at NaNola is a way for community members to show that they want to be a part of the solution to end domestic abuse. Last year, we were moved by the support Wellspring received and we are excited to see what this year brings. By supporting Wellspring at NaNola, you are helping Wellspring provide services to survivors that may not be available without your contribution.  If a client calls needing space for shelter, but our shelter is unsafe for them or full, your contribution allows us to buy them bus tickets to assist in their relocation to another county’s domestic violence shelter. A family may come in after a day’s worth of travel for us to find that they have not had access to food, your contribution allows us to buy them lunch while they complete a shelter intake. Clients who have been denied access to money may need professional clothes for a job interview, gas to get to their child’s school play, or money to fill a prescription; it is your contribution that allows us to give them a gift card to assist with those needs. Your contribution helps Wellspring to assist with everyday needs that other grant resources may not cover, allowing Wellspring to provide more comprehensive services keeping in mind the various challenges clients may face.

Wellspring wants to extend a huge thank you to our community!

-          Thank you to the local businesses throughout Saratoga County that have donated items for our raffle.

-          Thank you to NaNola for donating your space, a percentage of Thursday October 12th’s sales and your continued support of Wellspring!

-          And Thank YOU for supporting our event. We are proud to be a part of a community that so readily supports our goal of ending relationship and sexual abuse in our community.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Differently Abled Purses

By now you've probably realized that every day Wellspring collaborates with many of our local nonprofit agencies and community organizations to  provide the best services we can for our clients. We don't need to re-create the wheel if another agency has a program or service  that would benefit our clients, we refer them... and they do the same.  The mission of Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council (EOC) is to provide and promote opportunities for individuals and families to achieve self-sufficiency-- clearly a mission that's also important to Wellspring. Click here to hear Krystal Nowhitney Hernandez  talk about how EOC collaborates and supports Wellspring's mission... the second part of her video is a clue to just one of the unique challenges domestic violence survivors may face as they look to leave the abuse.
 
The Prevention Council strives to give youth the skills they need to choose healthy behaviors (thereby reducing the possibility that they will engage in drug or alcohol use or other risk behaviors). Their executive director, Janine Stuchin  says "everyone deserves to grow up in a home that is safe." and she also knows that addressing violence in the home can reduce the risk of drug and alcohol use among youth. Click here for more from Janine.
 
Sometimes the social issues that correlate with domestic violence aren't readily apparent. AIM Services is dedicated to partnering with people of diverse abilities to foster growth and independence. The people they assist may have developmental challenges or traumatic brain injury. How does this intersect with the work of Wellspring? Abusers may prey upon someone with challenges, exploiting their vulnerabilities. Alternately, just being a victim of abuse, particularly intense or repeated physical abuse, can result in traumatic brain injury. Often the symptoms and how they impact the person's life aren't identified or connected to their history of domestic violence... sometimes simply because no one has asked about a history of abuse. Both Wellspring and AIM Services work to provide what Walt Adams describes as "a better quality of life for people at a time in their life when they really need someone who can understand and support them." Click here for more from Walt
 
Every domestic violence survivor's obstacles to leaving and their support needs are different. Often they bring vulnerabilities that may have predated the  abuse... or may be as a result of trauma caused by the domestic violence... or by a lifetime of trauma. The barriers are diverse: limited proficiency in English, immigration concerns, learning or developmental disabilities. These can all complicate employment and self-sufficiency. Or there may be mental health concerns or alcohol or drug dependencies- sometimes these were coping strategies that helped the person get through the day... but in the end complicated their life. And sometimes what people think of as deficiencies or challenges, when looked at from a different angle show strength and resilience, that folks who haven't overcome such obstacles don't have. At Wellspring we understand the complexities of people's lives and have partnerships with other organizations to provide the support they need to overcome these barriers.  So whatever challenges you are struggling with, you are not alone. We can help.
 
 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Nicole Kidman Is Holding an Emmy Instead of a Purple Purse

... but she's holding it for the same reason.

Did you watch the Emmy Awards last night? Arguably the most powerful acceptance speech was delivered by Nicole Kidman as she accepted the award for outstanding actress in a limited series or movie. It's her first Emmy, but her words will linger in Emmy history, "... sometimes when you're acting, you get a chance to bring a bigger message... We shone a light on domestic abuse."

She accepted the award for her role in Big Little Lies, where she played a character who was in an abusive relationship. She acknowledged how difficult it was to play this role. I applaud Kidman for using her moment of recognition to open up a conversation about the "complicated, insidious disease" of domestic violence. The first step to ending relationship abuse is to talk about it so we're able to recognize it, understand it, and help victims toward the resources they need to become survivors.

And we've got an opportunity to start that conversation right here in Saratoga County. On Sunday, October 15th at 4 pm at Northshire Books in Saratoga Springs, we're having an open community discussion about Big Little Lies. It's like a one time book club. If you missed a previous blog post, where Robin Dalton talked about Big Little Lies  and the work Wellspring does, you can see it here. Thanks Nicole... and thanks Robin,  for inspiring us to start the conversation. We all know that when women start talking about what really matters, positive change happens. So whether you've read the book or watched the series, join us...  there will be women -and men- there who care about this issue too. Let's start to conversation, and then let's work together to end relationship and sexual abuse.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Senator Tedisco's Purse Protects Our Most Vulnerable Family Members

If you- or your dog- missed yesterday's blog post,  it was an invitation to join us for the 7th Annual Pooch Parade. It's a fun event that supports a very serious need, the often forgotten victims of domestic violence, our pets. Senator Jim Tedisco has long been a champion for those whose voices aren't heard, especially for children and for animals. For decades he has represented us advocating for fiscal accountability and state government reform...and his commitment to protecting vulnerable children and animals has always been central to his public services.  It's been a primary message in his campaign promises, 'Realizing that animal cruelty is a bridge crime and those who abuse animals often go on to hurt people, Tedisco was the driving force behind passage of the landmark Buster’s Law to protect our pets by making animal cruelty a felony. In 2011, Tedisco again made history by creating the first-ever NYS Animal Advocacy Day to give voice to all members of our families.'

Click here to hear why he supports the work of Wellspring and other agencies like ours that provide a vital link to the safety for survivors of abuse.


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Pooches with Purses

Calling all pups. Grab your purple purses (or just your leash and your human) and get ready for the Pooch Parade. It's a fun, family oriented event with adorable pooches, a blessing of the pets, raffles, and even free biscuits. And your pooch will leave the event in style with a new kerchief... and maybe even a pawdicure (only $5 for nail trimming). All the proceeds benefit Wellspring's survivor services and prevention efforts.


Wondering what's the connection between pups and a domestic violence agency? You know Wellspring helps individuals and families be safe from abuse. But sometimes we forget that in a home where there's abuse, every family member can be a victim... and that includes our furry, feathered and finned family members.  Wellspring has a Safe Pet Partnership that provides temporary foster homes for pets, while their families are in shelter. Then when they find a violence-free home, they can all be reunited.

Our friends at Adirondack Veterinary Services, and our event chair Maribeth Wallingford, invite you to join Andy, my dog with a purple purse, at the Pooch Parade. We'll also be recognizing the dogs that work hard helping others, our local K9 dogs and also our friends from Therapy Dogs International.