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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Support Saratoga Center for the Family; fundraiser April 25 at Longfellows

“Breaking the Cycle of Child Abuse.” That’s the motto, if you will, for a terrific local nonprofit organization called Saratoga Center for the Family. Originally the Saratoga County Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect, the long-ago name change, as the group explains, “reflects the center’s commitment to serving not only those who have been abused but to build stronger families and empower individuals with a goal of preventing abuse.” It 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.” For the most part, the children and families who benefit from the services do not have the means to keep the organization running. The Saratoga Center for the Family relies heavily on community donations to support its services. One of its major fundraisers is this Wednesday, April 25, at Longfellows out Union Avenue. I hope to see you there! (And if you can’t make, I hope you’ll donate.) Wednesay's event, made possible in large part due to the generous donation of Longfellows owners Steve and Yvonne Sullivan, is 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday. Corinne Vahanian does a great job as event chairwoman. Attire is traditional business or casual cocktail. I usually go straight from work. Benita Zahn, news anchor for WNYT Channel 13, is the celebrity host for the event, which is held in April in observance of National Child Abuse Prevention month. The cocktail party will include hors d’oeuvre stations, entertainment by the Schuylerville High School Chamber Singers, a silent auction and a cash bar. Tickets are $85. The Saratoga Center for the Family offers child abuse prevention programs, counseling and victim advocacy, working with law enforcement, Child Protective Services and the district attorney to bring abuse cases to justice and help victims afterward. Last year the organization provided more than 3,500 mental health visits to more than 400 clients and offered prevention programs to more than 400 clients. Prevention programs include 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 attentional disorders. The center’s Harriet M. West Child Advocacy Center at 359 Ballston Ave. is designed to be a single location to interview, examine and counsel abused children while preparing for prosecution of child abuse cases. For more information about the Saratoga Center for the Family or Wednesday’s event at Longfellows, call 587-8008 or go to


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