2019 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 2019 is $30,640 to 19 organizations.

The organizations include Ballston Area Community Center, Ballston Spa Partnership for Innovation in Education, Bridging People and Places, Camp Abilities, CAPTAIN Community Human Services, Children's Museum at Saratoga, C.R.E.A.T.E. Community Studios, Fast Break Fund, Franklin Community Center, Mother Susan Anderson Shelter, Prevention Council of Saratoga County, Rebuilding Together Saratoga County, Salvation Army at Saratoga, Saratoga Center for the Family, Saratoga Foundation for innovative Learning, Saratoga Regional YMCA, Saratoga Senior Center, Shelters of Saratoga, and To Life!, Inc. 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 2019 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 ($1,000)

To assist single mothers with tuition for this summer's "BACC on the Go!", a travel program for youths 10-16 years old that runs for eight weeks. The program gives these young people the opportunity to travel all around New York and into Vermont and Massachusetts where they experience places such as museums, Adirondack beaches, outdoor adventure sports, theme parks, and the New York State Fair. During these trips BACC promotes positive peer relations. The group learns healthy ways to resolve conflicts and express feelings, and how to be effective team members.

Ballston Spa Partnership for Innovation in Education ($1,000)

To assist with program and ongoing expenses for STEM Summit for 100 7th grade girls from Ballston Spa Central School District. In order to empower young girls and address the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), the Ballston Spa Central School District will collaborate with Girls Incorporated of the Greater Capital Region on the 2019 Girls' STEM Summit at the Hudson Valley Community College TEC-SMART facility in Malta. The goal for the Summit is to help girls develop a commitment to their future and explore involvement in the STEM professions. Successful female leaders in STEM fields will facilitate. They will help the girls envision themselves as STEM professionals, enhance perception of STEM careers, and boost confidence in studying STEM subjects. Ballston Spa teachers make a strong effort to select girls who normally do not have the opportunity to participate in enrichment activities and connect with mentors.

Bridging People and Places ($500)

To offset the cost of the purchase of the teddy bears Bridging People and Places donate to abused and neglected children through DVRC centers and shelters in the Saratoga County area. Hollie Vanderzee started this not-for-profit organization 20 years ago with a mission to "make a difference in the lives of others" through the distribution of "Bear Hugs." She recruited volunteer knitters from all over the area to knit and crochet sweaters and hats to dress the bears. She was interested in pulling people together to work for a common cause and got the idea of distributing "cute" teddy bears to people in need. Today hundreds of volunteers, including local school children, girl scouts doing service projects, residents in assisted-living facilities, and many others give their time for this project. Specially designed teddy bears are made by a company in Vermont especially for Bridging People and Places. According to the organization's application, "The bears are dressed, hugged, squeezed and filled with love."

Camp Abilities ($3,500)

To provide support for one female camper between the ages of 10-18 to attend Camp Abilities. This program is a one-week, residential sports camp for young people between the ages of 10 and 18 who are visually impaired, blind or deaf/blind. The camp is held at Skidmore College, where participants stay in dormitory housing for the week. The camp seeks to change what it means to be blind and/or deaf. Young campers get a week-long break from a world designed for people with no disabilities. Campers are involved in sports development activities such as Paddle Ball, Tandem Biking, Beep Baseball, Judo, even Golf and Equestrian activities and more. The teachers and staff are all professionals, including Adaptive Physical Education Specialists, nurses, and interpreters, as well as fully trained volunteers. The camp experience is a great foundation for those with disabilities to develop the self-confidence, self-esteem and physical well-being necessary to take control of their own quality of life.

CAPTAIN Community Human Services ($1,000)

To fund the cost for several members of the CAPTAIN staff to attend Closing the Gap training. Closing the Gap is a specialized training program designed to increase participants’ knowledge about human trafficking and develop skills to provide parents and caregivers opportunities to understand stress, enhance communication and safety planning. CAPTAIN is a non-profit, grassroots, community action agency that serves as an advocate for disadvantaged children and families in Saratoga County. One of Captain's most significant programs is the Captain Runaway and Homeless Emergency Youth Shelter located in Malta. The Youth Shelter works with children ages 13 to 17 who need a safe, stable and consistent environment of care until their living situation can be stabilized. Young women represent about 46% of the total youth served by CAPTAIN. Last year, the average age of the women served was 14. Three were confirmed victims of human trafficking and six were considered at "high risk for trafficking." CAPTAIN would like to expand their prevention/education program on the topic of human trafficking for young women and their caregivers. This would include providing valuable intervention and screening along with counseling, information, resources, and group work. Closing the Gap certification for staff members is an important step in this process.

Children's Museum at Saratoga ($1,000)

To offset admission costs for children visiting the museum on school field trips through the "Give Play" program, which includes school field trips to the museum as well as outreach programs. The Children's Museum at Saratoga (CMAS) is dedicated to creating an interactive community that inspires curiosity, sparks imagination and nurtures discovery. In order to ensure that its programs and services are accessible to all children, CMAS has started the "Give Play" program. This program provides access for children of families that have demonstrated financial need or other barriers to entry.

C.R.E.A.T.E. Community Studios ($1,000)

To assist with the cost of art supplies for their partnership with Franklin Community Center's Project Lift. C.R.E.A.T.E. Community Studios is a community art studio begun by local art therapists and educators. Their mission is to provide access to the healing qualities of art-making for all members of the community. They specialize in working with those who are in recovery, have special needs, are low-income or at-risk, and those with mental health issues. C.R.E.A.T.E. will partner with Franklin Community Center's Project Lift program to develop and implement two art sessions in each of Project Lift's six local elementary schools for the 2019 school year. The sessions will focus on collaboration, community building, self-awareness and self-esteem. They will be designed to reinforce positive youth development and the prevention skills students are learning in Project Lift. Expressive art strategies and practices can help reduce stress, increase motivation and engage in self-expression. Students will work together to complete a collaborative work of art to be displayed at this Spring's Art Show. The art show is an opportunity for family and community togetherness, as we" as for Saratoga Springs City School District Administrators and Board members to interact with Project Lift family members in the school setting.

Fast Break Fund ($1,000)

To provide funds so that two or three girls from Saratoga County can attend Girls Take Charge Leadership Camp at Siena College during summer 2019. The Fast Break Fund was established in 1999 to provide summer camp to local underprivileged youth. Their recreational programs also support children with special needs. This fund serves children in Saratoga, Schenectady, Albany, Rensselaer and surrounding counties. Scholarships are given to young women and men ages 5 -17.

Franklin Community Center ($2,000)

To provide necessities and supplies to families of children in Project Lift. Although the center takes clothing donations, there is always a need for new items such as socks, underwear, clothing, warm items for winter, and summer supplies (bathing suits, towels, sunscreen). Franklin Community Center also offers scholarships for summer camp. Project Lift is a well-established prevention program providing direct and intensive services for youth who are identified as "at risk" in the Saratoga Springs City School District. Project Lift is an afterschool program in a" six elementary schools in the District. Students are educated through Project Lift's "Children's Program Component," which offers research-based activities promoting positive youth development. Families are served via the "Family Service Component," offering support and advocacy.

Mother Susan Anderson Shelter ($2,240)

This grant was written with the intention of purchasing a computer software program that will assist the shelter's staff members with New York State reporting. There have been many changes and updates in State regulations that affect the shelter. Enhanced software will help improve organization of records and ensure they stay in compliance with NYS rules. The Mother Anderson Emergency Shelter has been supporting homeless women and children for 30 years. The shelter works with the NYS Department of Social Services as a tier I facility. They are governed by the NYS Fair Housing Act as well as Equal Housing Opportunity policies and procedures. SISC is granting the shelter $2,240 in unrestricted funds so that the money can be used for whatever is needed most.

Prevention Council of Saratoga County ($1,200)

To underwrite a one-day retreat for 20 to 25 women, which will be held in late spring of 2019 at Healing Springs Recovery Center. One of the goals of the Prevention Council is to strengthen and support people to lead sober lives. Healing Springs Recovery Center provides on-going programs and services for people in recovery and their families. The purpose of this retreat is to help inspire and recharge women in recovery. The program will be facilitated by Abigail Bernard, author of "12 Steps to Sober Leisure." She is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. Participants will take part in workshops on meditation, restorative yoga, nutrition, and art therapy in addition to exploring the workbook on "12 Steps to Sober Leisure." The event will be held on a Sunday. Lunch and childcare will be provided.

Rebuilding Together Saratoga County ($1,500)

RTSC is a volunteer driven/non-profit that brings communities and volunteers together to provide critical home repairs at no cost to the home owner. They focus on low income homeowners, especially veterans, the elderly, and disabled. RTSC also rehabs qualifying non-profit centers. In 2018, RTSC helped 145 households (42 of which are female-headed households), affecting 300 residents. Assistance was provided by 637 volunteers who donated nearly 17,500 hours of time. There are currently 230 homeowners on the waiting list, up almost 50% from last year at this time. The funds from this grant will be used to cover costs to recruit/manage volunteers, plan/oversee the project, and purchase materials/supplies for homes with female heads-of-household.

Salvation Army at Saratoga ($1,500)

The Salvation Army is working to stop bullying in schools. Much of the bullying we see in our local area is related to socio-economic demographics. In the months approaching back-to-school time, the media is flooded with advertising aimed at school-aged children. These ads promote stylish clothing and school accessories. Most girls who come to The Salvation Army come from single female parent homes. It is often difficult for these mothers to provide new clothing and shoes for the first day of school. For the last four years, Saratoga's Salvation Army has held a "Back to School Bash" prior to the start of the school year. The children and their parents participate in a cookout and games. They are provided with an opportunity to sign up for local social service benefits. In addition, those in need go home with a new outfit and shoes for their first day of school. The number of children who attend this event has grown over the four years since it started. This grant will provide 30 girls with new clothes at $50 per outfit.

Saratoga Center for the Family ($1,200)

This grant will be used toward the cost of the Center's "Heel to Heal" program in the fall of 2019. "Heel to Heel" is an 8-10 Week Group Counseling and walk/run therapy program. The total budget for this program is $9,194 per year. Saratoga Center for the Family works to strengthen children, families, and the community by reducing the effects of abuse, trauma, and family dysfunction through advocacy, education and mental health therapy. Their "Heel to Heal" program was originally designed for at-risk teenaged girls. They have now opened the program to women with stressful issues. Facilitators of the program include a licensed therapist, nutrition &fitness coach, and community volunteers who help motivate the participants. The program works to increase self-esteem and decrease depression, utilizing an evidence-based curriculum combined with running therapy. Running and strengthening overall functioning are a part of this process.

Saratoga Foundation for Innovative Learning ($1,000)

SFIL was established in 2013 as a volunteer-driven organization to promote and enhance innovation within the Saratoga Springs City School District. Teachers submit ideas that they feel will ignite the love of learning through creativity. This grant will help fund a flexible learning space within a special education classroom at Lake Avenue School. Equipment to be purchased includes rolling student desks and chairs, standing desks, lap desks, balance ball chairs, rockers, and magnetic mobile white boards. The total planned investment is $6,627.86. Teachers will track effectiveness through observation checklists, student behavior charts, and progress toward student goals. If effective, additional "flexible classrooms" will be incorporated throughout the school and the district.

Saratoga Regional YMCA ($2,500)

Camp TOGA, the YMCA's summer day camp, has been serving children entering 1st -10th grades for over 25 years. The camp runs for nine weeks, Monday thru Friday. Signups are by the week and weekly fees run from $187 to $270 per child. This grant will be used to provide scholarships for girls in low-income families or families who have extreme hardships. The focus of the Y's work is in three key areas: Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility. The YMCA nurtures the potential of every child and teen by supporting their unique youth development journey through holistic programming. Camp TOGA provides necessary programming for working parents, but the camp also is a place for children to learn values, skill building and self-confidence. The camp also puts a focus on social and emotional skills. Activities include sports, projects, team building, field trips and more.

Saratoga Senior Center ($3,500)

The Saratoga Senior Center provides a safe environment for seniors where they receive essential support services and participate in diverse programs specifically geared to their age group. The Center reaches out to isolated seniors who need social interaction, which helps to ward off cognitive decline, dementia and depression. 72% of the center's members are women. On average, 400 different women are served each month and 75 women participate daily in programs or services offered at the Center. There is a membership fee and there are sometimes additional fees for exercise classes and some of the other programs provided. This grant will provide critical scholarships to women who can't afford membership in the Saratoga Senior Center. Funds from the grant will also be used to help underwrite programming costs and reduce additional fees associated with those programs.

Shelters of Saratoga ($3,000)

SISC grant funding will be used to address immediate needs by providing select homeless women a fully funded week of shelter and services. SOS programs strive to meet needs of people who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness. About 20% of people served are women. In addition to providing food and shelter, there is a case manager at the shelter who works with these women to build a foundation of health and financial wellness so that long-term housing goals can be met.

To Life! ($1,000)

To be used toward expenses for "Beat the Odds," an educational forum organized by To Life! To Life! provides comprehensive and personalized breast cancer support services as well as a robust education program regarding women's health issues. Their focus is specifically on educating our community about breast cancer detection, treatments, and related health matters. Each year "Beat the Odds" addresses the latest information in breast cancer research, diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship. The event features three expert speakers from the medical and wellness fields. Women who attend receive valuable and relevant information at no cost. This event brings in an average of 150-200 participants.