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Tuesday, 25 November 2014 10:00

100+ Unique Gift-Buying Opportunities!

39th Craft Marketplace Starts Holiday Shopping Season At City Center

By Arthur Gonick

Saratoga TODAY


SARATOGA SPRINGS – Downtown Saratoga Springs is always a great choice to do your holiday shopping. This Saturday, it’s an even better one, as The Saratoga Springs City Center will be wall-to-wall with unique gift ideas from a variety of craft specialists in every medium imaginable.


Saratoga Center for the Family will be the host and beneficiary of the 39th Craft Marketplace on Saturday, November 29, also known as Small Business Saturday. The Marketplace will be held at Saratoga Springs City Center from 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. 


This annual Craft Marketplace attracts over 100 hand-selected artisans who gather in the City Center to showcase and sell their handmade art. These crafts include jewelry, paintings, children’s toys, blown glass, pottery, holiday ornamentation, edibles, clothing and one-of-a-kind specialties. The Craft Marketplace has been a Thanksgiving weekend tradition for 39 years, and Event Chair Ann Wolpert balances variety, quality and craftsmanship to assure that there will be something special for everyone on your holiday gift list.


Marketplace admission is $5 and includes two raffle tickets along with exclusive offers to participating downtown Saratoga Springs restaurants, in an effort to further promote Small Business Saturday commerce. The Craft Marketplace also offers silent auction opportunities for a variety of desirable items such as tickets to local holiday events, autographed collectable memorabilia and much more.


Last year the Marketplace raised over $25,000 for Saratoga Center for the Family, with over 3,000 shoppers in attendance. Funds raised for Saratoga Center support their mission to build stronger families throughout Saratoga County through mental health counseling, educational programs and child advocacy center. 


Some of the many notable and talented artisans include:


- John and Linda Garrison  

Handmade Glass Hot Air Balloons 

When asked about his craft, artisan John Garrison notes, “The process is quite extensive. First, tubing glass is heated, manipulated and thickened. Then, using a set of four burners and a lathe, the glass is spun and blown into a ball. A glass rod at top of the balloon is twisted and the bottom is tapered. Then the balloon is placed in an annealing oven, where the temperature is slowly reduced to temper (or strengthen) the glass. 


“Once the balloon is cool, my wife Linda individually hand paints each balloon using special proprietary paints.” He said. “Then the balloons are placed in a kiln and heated to harden and bake the paint onto the glass. A handmade basket is attached to the bottom to complete the piece.”


- “The Gourmet Gal”

Balsamic and Honey Vinaigrette have now joined Deborah Mackey and Kaelyn Brennan’s original, Savory Sauce. This created the ultimate trio of multi purpose sauces. All of these sauces can be used on literally anything and the best part is you never need to refrigerate them and all three are gluten free.


- Erika M. Klein 

Film Strip Lampshades

Ms. Klein recalls, “It all started when I crafted a dress from film for a recycled fashion show. After creating a dress from movie trailer film I started playing with the leftover trailer reel filmstrips and light. What came from that are my lampshade line. What’s unique about these shades are when the lamp is off, the shade appears almost black. But when it’s lit you can actually see the film images. Each one I create is a one-of-a-kind.”


The Craft Marketplace provides a great way to embrace the philosophy of  “shopping small” on Small Business Saturday. Since 2010, when American Express developed it, Small Business Saturday is celebrated every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and is dedicated to supporting small businesses across the country. 


Wolpert noted “This as a beautiful opportunity to create a unique community experience kicking off the holiday shopping season, and of course, to promote downtown Saratoga Springs’ by encouraging Marketplace shoppers to also venture out onto Broadway to support our retail and restaurant community.”


For more information about Saturday’s Craft Marketplace, visit saratogacraft.org or the Saratoga Center for the Family Facebook page for ongoing posts promoting featured craft artisans: facebook.com/SaratogaCenter

Published in News

SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Saratoga Center for the Family is a major community asset, yet many county residents are not fully aware of the incredible array of services they provide. This is the second part of a series about the Center and its activities. The first part appeared in Saratoga TODAY’s April 4 issue and is available at saratogatodayonline.com/index.php/publications/saratoga-today


The Saratoga Center For The Family (SCFF) has grown and diversified its program offerings in its 37 years of existence since it’s origins as a task force on child abuse and neglect. Under its umbrella motto of “Help. Hope. Healing.” are a variety of programs that certainly work to strengthen children and families, but also society in general via a multi-disciplinary model that could touch any life in Saratoga County. 


Simply put, there is no one, with or without children, even a solitary individual with no family, who could not partake in and benefit from SCFF’s programs activities. 


And yet, because of the often necessary confidential nature of some of what this facility has to deal with, for instance child abuse or criminal behavior, there is a certain mystery about their facility, which in turn leads to misimpressions, or myths, about SCFF and the work they do. 


While we may not be able to clear up all these myths, we can certainly illuminate several with the help of the staff, which is led by Executive Director Deb Tomaso, along with Clinical Director Kelly Barry and Harriet M. West Child Advocacy Center (CAC) Coordinator Jennifer Wormley. 


The first one is how warm, inviting and bright the entire environment is, as these pictures show. Everything, including the examination room (which we saw but did not photograph) expressed the concept of “healing.” Regardless of age, class or status “It’s never too late for healing.” Jennifer Wormley notes. 


One other surprise is the way people come to SCFF. In the case of the CAC, the overwhelming majority comes as referrals from Child and Family Services or a law enforcement unit. Yet, according to Kelly Barry, about half of the people who come for counseling are self-referred. Which give rise to another myth, according to Deborah Tomaso.


“People tend to think that the Harriet M. West Child Advocacy Center (CAC) and Saratoga Center for the Family are two separate agencies under the same roof,” she said, “but in fact we are all one. The Harriet M. West CAC is one of the programs that Saratoga Center for the Family offers to further its mission to build stronger families throughout Saratoga County.”  


She described a three-program focus that operates in concert with each other:

1) Child Advocacy (via Harriet M. West Child Advocacy Center)

2) Mental Health Counseling

3) Prevention and Educational Programming


I asked Ms. Tomaso to detail some of the other myths or misconceptions she encounters when she interacts with the public. “Number one by far is: ‘All children who come to this facility for counseling have been abused.’”


“This is absolutely false.” She said “While we do help many children heal from trauma or abuse, children come here for other counseling needs such as; a family divorcing, coping through the loss of a loved one, anxiety, or behavior and attentional disorders. Our therapists are trained in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which is the most effective treatment for children healing from a trauma.”


A second major myth, Ms. Tomaso notes, is that ‘Saratoga Center for the Family only has services for children and families.’  


“Actually,” she said, “one-third of our counseling clients are adults who are looking for someone to talk to about a variety of needs such as: anxiety, trauma, life transitions and depression.” A glance at SCFF’s group and program calendar confirms this. See saratogacff.org for detailed information.


“People are also under the impression that we use a monolithic approach, in that all children who come through the CAC see a therapist for counseling.” Ms. Tomaso said, “But while this often happens, it’s not universal. If a child comes through CAC for an investigation of alleged abuse or neglect, we always offer counseling resources. But not all victimized children seek out our counseling or a healing group service.”


The biggest service that SCFF offers is hope and it is done through a multi-pronged approach that is tailored to the individual and their needs at any age or life stage. It bears repeating that ‘it’s never too late for healing.’



“Prevention and education are the major keys to stopping child abuse and family dysfunction.” Ms. Tomaso concludes. “When we are able to raise awareness, we really can make a difference.” 

Published in News

SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Saratoga Center for the Family is a major community asset, yet many county residents are not fully aware of the incredible array of services they provide. This is the first of a multi-part series about the Center and its activities.


Simply put, there is no better time to explore The Saratoga Center for the Family (SCFF) than the month of April.


“April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.” noted Jennifer Wormley, who is the coordinator for SCFF’s Harriet M. West Child Advocacy Center (CAC). Ms. Wormley oversees both the CAC and SCFF’s counseling divisions, bringing a multi-disciplinary team into one cohesive unit.   

“This month, SCFF encourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making Saratoga County a better place for children and families.” Ms. Wormley continued.


As such, they have developed and coordinated a series of activities throughout this month. The schedule appears at the end of this story. 


But the larger point is that SCCF makes Saratoga County a better place for children and families year-round. The actual statistics of people whose lives are stronger because of SCFF are nothing short of staggering.


Consider these numbers for 2013, provided by SCFF’s Community Outreach Administrator Leah Ferrone:


  • 522 intakes for individuals requesting mental health counseling services
  • 587 counseling clients served
  • 3,630 counseling appointments
  •         19 prevention or coping groups
  • 208 participants served in Prevention or Healing Programs
  • 126 children came through the Child Advocacy Center for investigations of abuse and neglect


“Also, SCFF went into seven Saratoga County classrooms last year and taught 136 children the Educating and Empowering curriculum.” Leah Ferrone noted. 


But the numbers tell only part of the story. In our next segment, we’ll take a look inside SCCF and their activities that for 37 years have been geared to one goal: building stronger families. 


April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The following activities and events have been created to promote Child Abuse prevention and awareness throughout Saratoga County communities:


Throughout the month of April 

- Prevent Child Abuse flags will line Broadway in downtown Saratoga Springs.

- Each day SCCF will post Family Strengthening and Abuse Prevention tips. See facebook.com/SaratogaCenter and twitter.com/SaratogaCenter.


Sunday April 6 – Uno’s Dough Rai$er­ The Saratoga Uno will donate up to 20 percent of your lunch or dinner check to Saratoga Center for the Family. Diners need to present a ‘dough ticket’, which can be downloaded at: http://bit.ly/1eZAZtN


Crime Victims Candle Light Vigil ­ The Crime Victims Vigil is an opportunity for crime victims, their families and friends to come together to share their stories and experiences with the community. The vigil starts at 4p.m. at the Presbyterian New England Congregational Church in Saratoga Springs. District Attorney James A. Murphy III’s Crime Victims Unit brings this to the community.


Monday, April 7 - Split: Divorce Through Kids’ Eyes ­ Told from the perspective of children ages 6-12, this 30 minute documentary explores the impact divorce has on a child's mind and heart as their families change. This film and discussion is for parents who are divorced along with their children. SCFF Clinical Director, Kelly Barry, will lead a discussion following the viewing. 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Saratoga Springs Public Library.


Thursday, April 10 - Parent University: Online Safety for Kids - The Internet has drastically changed the way that children interact with the world. The Internet also offers new risks. FBI Special Agent David Fallon and NCMEC Education Specialist, John Kelly will present topics about Internet safety. Brought to you by Parent University and Saratoga Center for the Family. 7-8:30 p.m. at Maple Avenue Middle School Auditorium. 


Saturday 4/12 - Bacon Hill Bonanza 5k/10k ­ The 2nd Annual Bacon Hill Bonanza Road Race, Walk and Fun Run will be donating a portion of proceeds to Saratoga Center for the Family. For more information, visit http://baconhillbonanza.com


- The Donny Elvis Show ­ Enjoy a night with ‘The King’ impersonator, Donny Elvis, at the Knights of Columbus Hall, in Saratoga Springs at 5 p.m. Tickets are $15 and proceeds benefit SCFF. Presented by Ct. McLaughlin #422, Catholic Daughters of the Americas.



Tuesday 4/22 - Alex and Ani: Charity By Design ­ Between 7-9 p.m., the Saratoga Alex and Ani store will donate 15 percent of all proceeds to Saratoga Center for the Family. 

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