For the fifth year in a row that drivers from the
Harness Track at Saratoga Casino and Raceway
chose Franklin Community Center and its Project
Lift as the target of a charitable donation.
On Aug. 27, drivers at the track donated their
drivers’ fees for an entire day to the center.
Project Lift received $6,000. That donation
consists of the $3,000 in driver’s fees which are voluntarily
given up by the drivers and then matched
by the casino.
“The work that the Franklin Community Center
staff does with Project Lift is really appreciated by
everyone in the community. Saratoga Casino and
Raceway is proud to match the generous donation
of our driving colony,” said Skip Carlson, vice
president of external affairs.
Barry Segel, president of the Saratoga Harness Horsepersons Association, said “the horsemen value all of the services the Franklin Community Center provide, but Project Lift is special to us in that it helps provide role models and education to children that hold the key to the future of our community.”
Project Lift is an after-school prevention program for at-risk youth in grades 1 through 5. Serving 75 children and their families in the Saratoga Springs City School District each year, it’s one of the center’s most important programs, officials said.
Funding cuts and a struggling economy continue to affect Franklin Community Center and Project Lift, leaving staff to find supplemental income.
Services to Project Lift families stretch farther than a basic after school program, center officials said. Offering a safe, caring and structured environment, Project Lift’s approach heightens children’s social and emotional competence, improves decision-making skills, offers lessons on the prevention of tobacco, drugs, alcohol and bullying, boosts self-esteem and helps strengthen the bond between child, family, school and community.
All of the families enrolled in the program utilize the agency’s ancillary services, including food, clothing, school supplies for the entire family, holiday assistance and summer camp scholarships. Franklin Community Center feels the program is too important to too many families to see it dwindle, and the donation from the drivers is always an asset.
“We consider ourselves so fortunate to have such a strong relationship with Saratoga Casino and Raceway, the drivers and staff. They not only understand the need in our community, they strive to help meet those needs throughout the year” said Executive Director Kari Cushing.
Jaime Williams, associate director of the center, said Project Lift “has seen multiple funding cuts over the past few years leaving staff searching for ways to ensure the program remains a consistent and positive opportunity for the children, families and schools we serve. We are extremely grateful to the drivers and Saratoga Casino and Raceway for their continued support.”
Photo Courtesy of Saratoga Casino & Raceway