2018 SISC Local Grant Awards

In Our Community

Grants are awarded to Saratoga County-based organizations working in a variety of ways to improve the quality of life for women and children in the region. The total amount of grants in 2018 is $27,003 to 19 organizations.

The organizations include Ballston Area Community Center, Bridging People and Places, Camp Abilities, CAPTAIN Community Human Services, Dance Alliance (MOVE), Fast Break Fund, Franklin Community Center, Hudson Crossing Park, Loose Change, Mother Susan Anderson Shelter, Pitney Meadows Community Gardens, Rebuilding Together Saratoga County, Saratoga Center for the Family, Saratoga Foundation for innovative Learning, Saratoga Regional YMCA, Saratoga Senior Center, Shelters of Saratoga, To Life! Inc., and Wilton Wildlife Preserve. More details about these organizations and how they will use their grants are provided below.

In addition, we also support Wellspring with Project Hope and Power program, a financial literacy program which has been shown to be successful in empowering women and increasing their ability to reach their goals. Our $5,000 grant provided to Wellspring in 2018 will enable them to continue to their important work resulting in the improvement of the lives of so many women and girls from our community. 

Ballston Area Community Center

The BACC’s On The Go! travel program is an eight-week summer program for youths aged ten to 16 years old.  The program gives children the opportunity to travel all around New York, Vermont and Massachusetts to experience some great activities such as museums, beaches, outdoor adventure sports, theme parks, the New York State Fair, etc. Because BACC promotes positive peer relations, the youth learn healthy ways to resolve conflicts, express feelings, and how to be an effective team member.  The youths are given a chance to explore new interests and challenges offered by the program and staff, who are highly trained in not only how to properly supervise the children, but also how to be positive role models and mentors. Our grant of $915 will help cover the costs for one child or several children to attend this program from households headed by single mothers.

Bridging People and Places

Our grant of $500 will go towards the purchase of teddy bears for this organization’s Bear Hugs program. Volunteer knitters from the area and beyond, knit or crochet and donate sweaters and hats that are used to dress the bears before they end up in the arms of children at a critical time in their lives. The bears are dressed, hugged and filled with love by local children, Girl Scouts doing service projects, seniors, and residents at nursing homes. Bridging People and Places is an all-volunteer organization. The bears will be made available to a variety of organizations that serve women and children. Over 2,400 “Bear Hugs” were distributed to organizations, such as Double H Ranch, Project Lift, The franklin Community center, Domestic Violence Centers, Shelters for the Homeless, and Hospice who serve women and children throughout the area. A teddy bear for some women or child going through a crisis is their lives is a welcome diversion in their life.  

Camp Abilities, Saratoga A Service Project of Lions Club

Camp Abilities is a one week residential sports camp for youngsters between the ages of ten and 18 years old who are visually impaired, blind, or deaf. Each camper participates in different sports activities with the aim of introducing them to something they may have never engaged in before. The mission of this camp is to empower the campers to develop their self-esteem, coordination, agility and their appreciation of different sports. The camp seeks to change what it means to be blind and is driven by a part of its motto: A loss of sight, never a loss of vision. Camp Abilities is held at Skidmore College and provides the campers a weeklong break from a world designed for sighted people. They become familiar with many sports and development activities, such as paddle boarding, track & field, judo, and self-defense. Our grant of $4,000 will help provide support for two female campers and two female counselors who will be assigned to assist the special needs campers.

CAPTAIN Community Human Services

This $1,750 grant will be used for prevention education for vulnerable youth. CAPTAIN is a grass root, community action agency that serves as an advocate for the unmet needs of disadvantaged children and families in Saratoga County. One of their most significant programs is the CAPTAIN runaway and homeless Emergency Youth Shelter located in Malta. It is a safe haven for girls from 13 to 17 who are in need of a safe, stable environment. Several of these young girls were victims of human trafficking and many others are considered “high risk for trafficking.” Funds will be used by CAPTAIN to collaborate with Not a #Number to present a multi-week program designed to help educate youth about trafficking, build resiliency, increase self-esteem, and provide ways for youth to resist traffickers.

Dance Alliance, Inc.

MOVE is an Outreach Dance Program for at-risk and Special Needs teenagers who attend high schools and BOCES programs in the Saratoga Springs School District. Of the current group of 35-40 teens, 85% of the teens are students with Downs Syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, brain injury, or who are wheel chair bound. The dance teachers, choreographers and Skidmore dance students who work with these students are dedicated to providing a safe, interactive, creative dance experience. The improvement physical coordination, collaboration with others, positive self-esteem, and spatial awareness that occurs through original choreography is evident in this dance experience. Our grant of $538 will be for the Power of Words movement and social media workshop for ninth grade special needs students to study Romeo and Juliet through dance and words. Attending a performance of Romeo and Juliet at SPAC with the NYC ballet will follow the class. Our grant will help pay for SPAC tickets for the MOVE teenagers and cover fees and rental space for choreographers, teachers, and the Master Class Teacher.

The Fast Break Fund

There is a huge need in the greater Saratoga area to provide summer opportunities for underprivileged youth and children with special needs who cannot afford to go to camp. With exposure and participation in sports, children gain valuable lifelong skills. The Fast Break Fund basketball camp provides an atmosphere that teaches and enforces development in areas of responsibility, dedication, time management, teamwork, physical fitness and discipline. These are all important qualities that help build self-esteem and leadership in today’s youth. The average cost to send a camper for a week is $300. Our grant of $1,000 will help send three to five young women to summer basketball camp for one week.   

Franklin Community Center (FCC)

The FCC’s Project Lift Program provides a safe and secure environment for at-risk students to learn and have fun after school. Project Lift is in all six elementary schools in Saratoga Springs School District. There are currently 57 young girls attending. The program is based on evidence-based programs & strategies and positive outcomes include: productive, independent and confident girls, improved school performance and self-esteem, decreased reports of violent and problem behavior at school and at home. Our grant of $1,000 will be used toward purchasing socks, underwear, clothing and warm items for winter, hygiene items, healthy snacks, and canned goods. These items will not only benefit the girls who attend Project Lift, but also their female siblings, their mothers or female caregivers (over 40 single moms).

Hudson Crossing Park

HCP is a bi-county educational park, centered on the Champlain Canal Lock just outside of the village of Schuylerville. HCP has long been an advocate for women in the fields of leadership and Science. The $500 grant will help cover materials, supplies and outreach to facilitate involvement of women as program leaders to reach girls as a targeted audience. HCP want to improve the “State of Women and Girls in STEM”. They want to foster a creative and welcoming environment that brings girls out of the classroom and into the outdoors. They serve over 600 children from local schools through nature studies, collection of scientific data for the Hudson River, and partner with the Girl Scouts to assist with badge pursuits. They are part of a statewide program where students all along the Hudson River collect scientific data about the health of the river.

Loose Change

Loose Change, a Dance Collective, is a sponsored artist with the Performance Zone Inc. Loose Change was founded in 2013 as a multi-generational dance company, redefining what dance looks like through strong works. The funding of $600 will support a dance event focusing on women to take place at Proctors Theater in the spring. The request would help support the women artists who will be putting their time, stories, and talents together to help create this event. A survey was sent out asking women to share their answers to 10 specific questions relating to their lives, work, family, dreams, and their place in today’s world. Their responses were poignant, smart, funny, heartbreaking and heartfelt. Based on the women’s responses, Dance Collective is now working to incorporate spoken text with dance and a multi-media production. They are working with local musicians, a female film artist and their dancers. They are also inviting local women of different ages to rehearse and perform on stage.

Mother Susan Anderson Women's Emergency Shelter

The Mother Susan Anderson Emergency Shelter is run and owned by Soul Saving Station. For over 30 years, the agency has supported homeless women and children. They work with the NYS Department of Social Services as a Tier 1 facility. The $1800 grant will support the completion of a new kitchen ceiling, bed and household supplies for daily living and the laptops to allow the Case Manager to work with residents and the church shelter committee more efficiently.

Pitney Meadows

Pitney Meadows Community Gardens is comprised of 166 acres on West Avenue. The agency was formed in 2016 to provided education on farming practices, sustainability principles, and food knowledge to the community/general public. The site offers community garden plots and offers programs in gardening/composting/cooking/baking/food preservation/sustainability practices. The $200 grant will help fund Grandmother’s Garden, a place at the site that will foster the sharing of memories/wisdom from one generation to another. It will be located in four large planting beds surrounding the shade of a pergola. It will be planted with old-fashioned flowers, such as roses/hollyhock/lamb’s ears/ mints, and grasses to evoke memories.

Rebuilding Together Saratoga County

Rebuilding Together Saratoga County recruits and manages volunteers, plans and oversees the project, and purchases materials and supplies. There is never a cost to the homeowners they assist, due to the hard work of the unskilled and skilled volunteers in the community. In order to be eligible for services homeowners must have a household income at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (considered low-income).

There are currently 100 homeowners on waiting list. In 2016 Rebuilding Saratoga served 120 households. Our grant of $1,500 will help cover the costs associated with a “light” project of home repairs and/or accessibility modifications for a low-income female head of household.  Actual project costs for a “light” project will fluctuate based on the degree of repairs necessary. Our Soroptimist grant will go towards materials and contracted labor, transportation costs, and general operating costs.

Saratoga Center for the Family

Our grant of $2,000 to this organization will be used to support their ‘Heel to Heal’ program. This successful program was originally designed for teen-aged girls to increase self-esteem, confidence, coping skills and physical activity. The Center counseling staff determined that the same program, with a few small changes, would be beneficial for women experiencing depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and trauma. The goal of the program is to serve 12-15 women per session, offering 2 sessions per year.

The first hour for group is a psychotherapy session.  The second hour of the group will be a one-hour structured endurance workout that includes: a Safe injury reduction, efficiency warm-up, review of Good Form Running, a light, slow workout building in quarter mile increments each week. The goal is to train for a 5K Goal Race at the end of the 10 weeks. The use of “run therapy” is documented as offering physical and psychological benefits for women with depression, anxiety, etc. Objectives of “Heel to Heal” include helping women to manage emotional and physical boundaries, express feelings and improve communication skills, deal with stress, learn new coping skills, and strengthen overall functioning.

Saratoga Foundation for Innovative Learning (SFIL)

The purpose of the 2018 project is to support the Morning Math Program at the Caroline Street Elementary School. The $500 grant will be used towards the purchase of a classroom bundle of 12 VEX Robotics Kits to expose students to robotics while typing in key math/technology concepts. The morning math program is composed primarily of students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, or those who receive academic intervention services and/or special education services. These students are bused to school early three times per week to spend an extra 40 minutes on math fluency. VEX Robotics kits allow for the design/creation of drivable robots. The end goal is to spark interest in STEM –related activities/careers for some of the school’s neediest students.

Saratoga Regional YMCA

YMCA of Saratoga is dedicated to strengthening community and focuses its work in three key areas: Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility. The YMCA nurtures the potential of every child and teen by supporting his or her unique youth development journey through holistic programming. Camp Together Outdoors, Great Adventures (TOGA) runs for nine one-week sessions in the summer for 1st grade through 10th grade children. Campers can participate in a variety of activities including sports, team building, nature activities, trips, swimming, a high ropes course, a new archery range, along with more gaga pits and a new bouldering wall. While Camp TOGA does provide necessary programming that helps working parents, it is much more than a summer activity for kids. It is a place for values, learning, skill building, self-confidence and fulfilling dreams. It is a place where campers practice social and emotional skills. There is an elementary program and middle/high school program. According to the YMCA they are one of the only day camps in Saratoga County that provide scholarships for low-income families or families who have extreme hardships. Our grant of $2,000 will be used to help provide camp scholarships to girls in our community who come from low-income or hardship families.

Saratoga Senior Center

The Saratoga Senior Center provides a safe environment for seniors to receive essential support services and participate in diverse programs specifically geared to seniors. They bring in isolated seniors who need interaction. Participation in classes and the social interaction wards off cognitive decline, dementia, and depression. 76% of the members are women. There are fees attached to some classes and not all can afford and or/drive to the center. The Center’s special programming does include free activities and subsidized classes. Membership is $25 per year. This Grant of $3000 will provide critical scholarships to women who can’t afford membership or special classes such as exercise, educational or entertaining experiences. These funds can be made available to be matched.

Shelters of Saratoga (SOS)

The Code Blue Saratoga program is a winter weather dependent emergency shelter that serves anyone in need of safe shelter. The needs of the women served by Code Blue are more basic in nature. Items commonly purchased for this program include: feminine hygiene products, underwear, bras, boots, warm clothing and backpacks. The SOS year-round, two day per week drop-in program provides a safe, warm and dry environment for chronically homeless individuals to do laundry, take a shower, get a meal and connect with critical resources. The needs of women staying in the case-managed shelter and affordable housing units are typically more specific to their given situation and are generally goal oriented.

Our grant of $3,000 will be used to help support the Women’s Emergency Fund Project. Some examples of expenses that have been offset include medical co-pays, transportation fees, personal identification, and specific clothing items. When funding has been a concern, the emergency fund has effectively made up for these gaps. Grant dollars will be allocated equally between Code Blue and the Women’s Emergency Fund Project.

To Life! Inc.

As a provider of support services for families affected by breast cancer, To Life! is acutely aware of the importance of education and its effect on quality of life. The mission of To Life! Is to educate the community about breast cancer detection, treatments and related health matters. Our grant of $1,000 will help To Life! provide outreach in Saratoga County. Statistics indicate that Saratoga County is a High Priority area, the second highest number of breast cancer patients in our region. Their outreach will include their largest breast cancer educational forum, the 20th Annual Beat the Odds, taking place in Saratoga Springs in August 2018. The program will address the latest information in breast cancer research, diagnosis, treatments, and survivorship issues. It will feature three expert speakers representing the medical and wellness communities. The event will be filmed for viewing through public access television.

Wilton Wildlife Preserve & Park (WWP)

WWP is concerned about statistics that prove “social and environmental factors” contribute to the under-representation of women in science and engineering. A recent study of 4th graders showed that 66% of girls and 68% of boys reported liking science. But that ratio goes down when girls get older and are influenced by the stereotypes of only men working in laboratories and only men developing scientific experiments. Educational programs at the WWP are rooted in the sciences and are designed to foster an atmosphere of discovery, encourage on-going exploration, and to instill a sense of wonder in the diversity of the world in which we live.

The WWP Executive Director, the Environmental Education Interns, and most of the educators are women and they serve as role models to children interested in the sciences. They bring their programs to local elementary schools and to Project Lift. Their weekend school vacation programs and nature walks are all free and open to any participant. Our grant of $1,200 will be used to help cover the cost associated with the WWP’s Environmental Education and Conservation Internship Program, which they hope to continue offering for free to all participants. Soroptimist funds are eligible for matching funds.