Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Soroptimist - The Gardens May be Secret, but the Club Is Getting Noticed

This seems to be a busy week for Soroptimist news. Yesterday I posted about their recent recognition at the Regional level for Project Hope and Power. And now  3 more exciting announcements!

Today I attended Saratoga Today's Women of Influence luncheon, where longtime Soroptimist Lyn Whaley  was honored for all she's done for our community:
  • her many leadership roles over the past 17 years in the Saratoga Springs School District
  • running a family business, Cudney's Cleaners that gives back so much to the community
  • her commitment to her faith community, and
  • of course her volunteerism and leadership in Soroptimist. On behalf of  all our Soroptimist club members, I can say we're  all proud of Lyn's accomplishments and delighted she's been recognized as a Woman of Influence.

Secret Gardens Trou 2017While most of us an only aspire to be as impactful as Lyn, here's a couple of easy ways we can all support women and girls. Soroptimist International of Saratoga County has been supporting Wellspring's mission since the founding of the agency. The Club's signature service project is a collaborative initiative with Wellspring, a financial literacy program, Project Hope and Power, that has benefited more than 600 women since 2005. Soroptimist provides financial support for Project Hope and Power, plus more than $45,000 to  other programs locally and globally  that benefit women and girls. They've got 2 great fundraisers coming up;  a  benefit book fair at Northshire Bookstore   and their Secret Garden Tour. So buy that book you've been thinking about and catch up on your summer reading or tour some wonderful local gardens... and help women and girls at the same time.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Giving Hope... Giving Power-- That's Soroptimist

I'm proud to have been a Soroptimist for the past 11 years. What's Soroptimist? It's an international service organization dedicated to  improving the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment. Need a simpler explanation-- Soroptimist  promotes what's Best for  Women.

The Club quietly does really impressive work in our local community but also globally. This year alone the Club has provided more than $45,000 in project support to 22 organizations benefiting women and girls. Local organizations supported included: the Adult and Senior Center of Saratoga, Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention Council, Ballston Area Community Center, Bridging People and Places, Camp Abilities, Dance Alliance (MOVE), Fast Break Fund, Franklin Community Center, Habitat for Humanity, Jr Achievement, Literacy NENY, Rebuilding Together Saratoga County, Saratoga Center for the Family, Saratoga County EOC, Saratoga Foundation for Innovative Learning, Saratoga Regional YMCA, Saratoga War Horse, Shelters of Saratoga, Soul Saving Station, To Life! Inc., Wellspring, and Wilton Wildlife Preserve.
Project Hope and Power tri-chairs Maggie, Laurie and Alice with Club president Charlotte
displaying our 2017 Celebrating Success Award from the North Atlantic region
Like many local organizations, Soroptimist International of Saratoga County works tirelessly, but very quietly, fulfilling their mission without much fanfare. Their efforts don't go unnoticed though. Recently our Club was presented the North Atlantic Region's Celebrating Success Award for its exemplary work helping women achieve financial empowerment, through their signature service project, Project Hope and Power.  Today, more than 600 women have achieved housing, employment and improved financial stability by participating in Project Hope and Power.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Tee off to Support TSA

One of my favorite things about working in this community is how intensively all our human service agencies collaborate. We address a range of social issues and human needs that at time can seem daunting... but by working together we maximize our resources to help the most people with limited funds. Because we work so closely, I'm blessed to experience firsthand every day the fine work of partner agencies.
With the warm weather finally here, I know many folks thoughts are returning to their golf game. So here's a chance to get back on the green... and support a nonprofit organization that offers assistance every day to some of our most vulnerable citizens.                           
For over 40 years, Transitional Services Association (TSA)  has provided a broad range of residential support and care management services to adults with psychiatric disabilities and/or substance use disorders, and abused & neglected children. Today, TSA is staffed by approximately 100 employees, and provides services to more than 400 clients in our community.  On September 11, 2017 TSA will hold its 7th Annual Golf Tournament, the proceeds of which will directly support and enhance our ability to provide recovery and support services to the people we serve.
I hear they've arranged for  excellent weather, so gather your foursome for a great day of golf while supporting TSA.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Tragedy in Hadley Starts the Conversation

As the news broke today that the husband of the woman found dead in Hadley last week has been arrested, I’ve had many people calling me with questions or just talking about how tragic and unbelievable this is. So here are some of the things we’ve been talking about today:


·        Domestic violence is far more prevalent than most of us think. In fact 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men ae a victimized during the course of their lives. In Saratoga County, it’s the #2 violent crime  (second only to drunk or drugged driving), the primary cause of family homelessness, and the primary cause of homicide. People are really surprised when I give these statistics, often stating that they’ve never known anyone who has experienced domestic violence. Chances are good you do… you just may know it. Often we’re looking for obvious physical indicators, like black eyes or bruises. Abuse tactics like emotional or psychological control, social isolation, financial control, and sexual abuse aren’t as easily identified.  In fact, victims themselves may minimize the abuse, “Well, I’ve never been hit so this isn’t domestic violence”, or “I read a news story about what one woman experienced. What I’m experiencing isn’t that bad.” Some highly abusive relationships never have any physical abuse; don’t let this be the standard that keeps you from seeking help.

·        “I’m not in a crisis and I’m not thinking of leaving the relationship, so there’s no need to seek support.” Wellspring’s advocates and our 24/7 hotline (518-584-8188) can help in a crisis, but we’re also there simply when you need to talk. Many clients choose to remain in the relationship; they just want to explore their options, and plan for how to be safe in their relationship.

·        “He’s such a good dad (or she’s such a good mom); the children are better off if we’re together.” Roughly 50% of abusers target their partner, but do not abuse the children directly. Frequently in these situations the parent who is being victimized reasons that the children aren’t affected by the abuse. Often that view changes when the children approach their teens and either they act abusively in their relationships…or are the targets of abuse by a dating partner. While they may not have been directly abused, the children’s understanding of a healthy relationship is shaped by what they see in the home.

·         “I can provide a better life for my kids if I stay.”  Sometimes that parent worries that (s)he couldn’t provide for the basic needs, rent, food, and healthcare.  Supporting a family on one income is a challenge. Wellspring’s advocates can help with petitions for temporary support… and our NewView Housing Program provides a rent subsidy and in-home support services for up to 24 months so that victims can leave abuse to safe homes.

·         “I’m still not sure if I should call.” Ask yourself the following questions.


Does Your Partner:

·        Make you feel afraid much of the time?

·        Act excessively jealous and possessive?

·        Control where you go or what you do?

·        Keep you from seeing your friends and/or family?

·        Threaten to commit suicide if you leave?

·        Threaten to take your children away?

·        Limit your access to money or things like the phone or car?


If this sounds like you or someone you know, call us. We can help.

Office: 518-583-0280

24 hour hotline  518-584-8188