For The Family supporters care in a big way and you can help, too. The power of hope matters. Saratoga Center
Showing how much they care by giving, that is what "Celebrating the Power of Hope" fundraiser was all about, Wednesday night April 25, at Longfellows, Hotel, Restaurant and Conference Center, 500 Union Avenue. The Saratoga Center for the Family benefited from the Saratoga County community by being recognized for the tireless efforts and the generous donations of financial support through paying to attend, through a live and a silent auction.
Corinne Vahanian, the event chairwoman predicted early during the evening they would raise between thirty-five to forty thousand dollars. This annual fundraiser, held every year during the month of April, as an observance of the National Child Abuse Prevention month.
The center handles 4,300 cases a year at the
Prevention programs included parenting, strengthening families, child custody stress prevention and anger management. Its mental health services focus on trauma caused by abuse, violence and victimization. Counseling also addresses family dysfunction and managing symptoms of depression, anxiety and attention deficit disorders.
The crowd who help support the center participated in the fundraiser because they believe in what The Saratoga Center for the Family does for those traumatized. The advocacy center is a place where mental health professionals, law enforcement and specialized medical teams can hear the story one time by the victim and has been designed after a national model in which a non-threatening environment allows the abuse cases can be heard all at the same time. The victim does not need to repeat the story numerous times.
Through the dedication of legal, psychological and trauma specialists, the center is able to help thousands countywide. The fundraiser helps the professionals to do their difficult but necessary work.
The one hundred fifty plus crowd at Longfellows enjoyed a vibrant evening with a vibrant group of supporters. Yvonne and Steve "Sully" Sullivan showed how much they cared for The Saratoga Center for the Family by donating their facility to the fundraiser. Also, in attendance were Saratoga Springs Mayor Scott Johnson and his wife Julie who enjoyed, along with the delighted crowd, unique performances by the Schuylerville High School Chamber singers. The student ensemble performed solos and several popular songs throughout the evening entertaining all the attendees as they mingled and checked out numerous auction items.
Benita Zahn, WNYT Channel 13 news anchor served
as the celebrity host while Dr. Manny Cirenza, Community Care Pediatrics
physician based out of
Dr. Cirenza then jumped into the auctioneering role along with the help of Ms. Zahn urging the crowd to bid higher for each item. They made a strong team.
Dr. Timothy Brooks stood at the rear of the hall talking with his wife, Ellen, and friends about the evening. Dr. Brooks has been an emergency medicine specialist for 28 years and works at Saratoga Hospital Emergency Department.
He spoke proudly about the work being done at The Saratoga Center for the Family, saying that "these children are innocent and they need someone to advocate for them and take care of them and protect them and help them heal, and that is why we do what we do." Dr. Brooks says this type of advocacy, teaching the traumatized how to deal with their physical and emotional pain, takes time, but these methods do work.
Dr. Brooks works closely with the center and says there are
two types of cases he sees most often, chronic cases of abuse in which an
individual has been traumatized over many years and acute cases in which a
victim has been recently abused. The acute victim goes directly to
At the center there are three nurse practitioners, all highly trained women, who handle cases of pediatric sexual assaults. According to Dr. Brooks, serious concern develops if a case is not handled properly at this crucial stage. The cycle of abuse has an extremely high potential of continuing, not only by the perpetrator, but by the victim. The victims can become abusers if not guided professionally.
One area Dr. Brooks says the adolescent offender who bullies children needs tremendous attention. "These offenders are too young to be punished as adults, they often times slip through the cracks and continue to abuse others later in life, "said Dr. Brooks.
Dr. Candice Dunn, the clinical director of psychology at the center, specializes in effecting change by working closely with a group of highly trained therapists who deal directly with victims. The traumatic event can be devastating. Dr. Dunn and her team focus on the abuse and making a difference in the victims future.
"A lot of people think they are going crazy after they have been abused and that abuse could have happened years ago. Many become depressed as adults and do not understand why," says Dr. Dunn. "Our therapists help victims discover the source of their pain, panic attacks and inability to function in their daily lives."
Dr. Dunn has been in the
For those people who have been severely traumatized, feel hopeless and are concerned they have no one to speak, the center personnel urges anyone to call the center at 518-587-8008.
All information is kept confidential and free of charge.
The power of
hope exists in