359 Ballston Avenue, Saratoga Springs, NY   
Phone: 518-587-8008 - Fax: 518-587-8241

Saratoga Center for the Family News and Updates

New York Child Victims Act Law Long Overdue

Posted in Child Advocacy Center, General, Mental Health by SaratogaCFF on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 at 12:19 pm

John Kelly

“It has been long overdue; today we celebrate with victims,” says John Kelly, Law Enforcement Coordinator at Saratoga Center for the Family regarding the passing of New York’s Child Victims Act.

Kelly explained that for victims of child sexual abuse, the passing of the Child Victims Act will help adult victims of abuse heal. “This is finally a message from our leaders that we believe you and feel this issue is important,” says Kelly. “For years, victims of abuse who bravely approached law enforcement to report the abuse were devastated to learn that no criminal action could be taken in some cases due to the statute of limitations.”

Kelly personally and professionally knows of several adult victims of child sexual abuse who may decide to pursue their options now that the Child Victims Act has been passed, and in doing so will give them hope to keep moving forward. He says, “Some victims may not be looking at just monetary compensation, but rather looking to be heard and acknowledged. Hearing the words, ‘we believe you’ and ‘what happened was wrong and not your fault’ help remove the weight off the shoulders of victims and the road to healing can begin or continue.”

Jennifer Wormley

Jennifer Wormley, Director of the Child Advocacy Center at Saratoga Center for the Family, agrees. “There may be victims who were either afraid to come forward or who just weren’t ready and when they did feel comfortable enough to tell their story, because of the statute of limitations, they may have felt it was pointless,” she says. “Now, all victims can come forward and shine a light on someone that needs to be investigated. Being able to share their story will not only bring them much needd closure, but will possibly help protect others.”

Rebecca Baldwin

“We are all pleased with the outcome of the vote,” says Rebecca Baldwin, Executive Director of Saratoga Center for the Family. “No one should feel rushed to tell their story of abuse; only the individual knows when the time is right for them; and now, the time will always be right.”

For anyone who needs support, Baldwin says Saratoga Center for the Family has certified, professional therapists who are trained in trauma, along with a Child Advocacy Center (CAC) where families and children go to feel safe and supported. The CAC’s multidisciplinary team specializes in working with families and children who are victims of abuse, explains Baldwin.

Saratoga Center for the Family serves Saratoga County and the surrounding communities. They have the Harriet M. West Child Advocacy Center and therapists located at their main office at 359 Ballston Avenue, Saratoga Springs. Saratoga Center for the Family also locates therapists in Scotia-Glenville, Shenendehowa, and South Glens Falls School Districts; and community locations in Mechanicville and Corinth. For more information on Saratoga Center for the Family, visit their website at saratogacff.org or contact the main office at (518) 587-8008.


What you need to know about PTSD

Posted in Mental Health by SaratogaCFF on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 1:43 pm

What you need to know about PTSD

BY: Kelly Daugherty, LCSW-R, GC-C

Last week I went to the movies with my husband to see American Sniper.  I left the movie like everyone else – completely silent.  It was a difficult movie to watch with all of the violence and knowing that these were true stories of the violence that our soldiers have witnessed and experienced.  It led to a discussion with my husband (who is an Army Veteran and spent 10 months in Bosnia) about how it feels to come home after being on a tour of duty and how he coped with what he experienced.  Many soldiers turn to drugs, alcohol and other high risk behaviors to deal with after effects of being involved in combat and returning home after several months.  The movie only gave a brief glimpse of how difficult it is for soldiers when they come home and the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that they may be experiencing.

One of my main concerns after seeing the movie was thinking about how many veterans are going to go see the movie and become triggered by the images. Trauma triggers are unique for each person.  Individuals can be triggered by seeing something, hearing something or smelling something.  These triggers can cause someone to have a flashback of the actual trauma they have experienced.

There are a lot of newer services out in the community to help veterans, but I wonder how many veterans especially under the age of 25 are actually accessing these services. It is estimated on average that 22 Veterans kill themselves every day.  In 2010 more veterans committed suicide than the total estimated # of US military deaths in both Iraq and Afghanistan since those conflicts started. The number of suicide attempts is even higher.

So is enough being done for these men and women?  I don’t believe there is.   I think about what I can do to help and I think educating people about what PTSD is, what it looks like and what services there are in the community is where to start. Therefore I decided to write this blog and hopefully it will help at least one person.

PTSD doesn’t just impact soldiers; it impacts children and adults who have experienced some sort of trauma (physical or sexual abuse, domestic violence, natural disaster, accident, etc.) I always explain that PTSD is a normal reaction to an abnormal event.  That means that someone went through a scary experience that put them or someone else in danger and the feelings they are experiencing are normal.  I have recently read that a lot of Veterans are not using the “D” in PTSD because they don’t view it as a disorder and I have to agree- it is normal to experience some symptoms following something traumatic.  It is also something that is treatable and soldiers can heal from the trauma successfully with effective treatment.  Labeling it a disorder makes some individuals feel it is not treatable and they are going to be suffering with this forever which is not the case.

Common Symptoms of PTSD

·         Flashbacks

·         Trouble Sleeping

·         Hopelessness about the future

·         Avoidance of people, places and things that remind them of the trauma

·         Intrusive thoughts

·         Irritability

·         Angry outbursts

·         Self-destructive behaviors

·         Memory issues

·         Being easily started

If you think you may have PTSD you can take a quick assessment at

https://www.myhealth.va.gov/mhv-portal-web/anonymous.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=mentalHealth&contentPage=mh_screening_tools/PTSD_SCREENING.HTML   to complete and bring to your primary care doctor or mental health therapist.

How to Help Someone with PTSD

These are some tips from Help Guide.org

·         Be patient.

·         Educate yourself about PTSD.

·         Don’t pressure your loved one into talking. It can be very difficult for people with PTSD to talk about their traumatic experiences. For some, it can even make things worse. Instead of trying to force it, just let them know you’re willing to listen when they’re ready.

·         Take care of your emotional and physical health.

·         Accept (and expect) mixed feelings


Communication Pitfalls to Avoid

·         Giving easy answers or blithely telling the person everything is going to be okay

·         Stopping the person from talking about their feelings or fears

·         Offering unsolicited advice or telling the person what he or she “should” do

·         Blaming all of your relationship or family problems on the person’s PTSD

·         Invalidating, minimizing, or denying the person’s experience

·         Telling the person to “get over it” or “snap out of it”

·         Giving ultimatums or making threats or demands

·         Making the person feel weak because they aren’t coping as well as others

·         Telling the person they were lucky it wasn’t worse

·         Taking over with your own personal experiences or feelings


What to do when you know your spouse needs treatment for PTSD

If your spouse agrees to go to treatment you can:

  • Contact a therapist that specializes in PTSD and schedule an appointment and determine which kind of treatment would be the best fit for him/her.  There are several treatment options to review.
  • Schedule an appointment for your spouse with his primary care doctor so they can review his/her options.
  • If your spouse is resistant to seeking out treatment, seek out treatment and support for yourself. When one person changes in the family it impacts the entire family therefore if you seek out treatment then you can help everyone in your family including your spouse.

What to say to your spouse about therapy:

·         Discuss the benefits.  For example, therapy can help them become more independent and in control. Or it can help reduce the anxiety and avoidance that is keeping them from doing the things they want to do.

·         Focus on specific problems such as anger management or anxiety

·         Have someone that he/she turns to for support talk to them about therapy.

Resources for someone with PTSD

National Center for PTSD:  http://www.ptsd.va.gov/

Resources for individuals, family members and professionals

National Alliance on Mental Illness: http://www.nami.org/template.cfm?section=PTSD

Veterans Resource Center

Saratoga County RPC:  http://www.vethelpny.org/

Supportive Services for Veteran Families

Albany Stratton VA Medical Center: http://www.albany.va.gov/

National Child Traumatic Stress Network: http://www.nctsn.org/

Information for parents, military families and professionals

Myths About PTSD: http://realwarriors.net/node/1627

Our therapists at Saratoga Center for the Family specialize in working with children and adults who have experienced trauma.  We utilize evidence based treatment interventions (Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Processing Therapy) that work successfully to address trauma. If you work like to begin your process to healing, please call our intake coordinator at 587-8008 ext 304 to schedule an appointment. We accept most major health insurance plans including Tri-Care and do not turn anybody away due to their insurance or their inability to pay.

What Does it Mean to be Strength-Based

Posted in Mental Health by SaratogaCFF on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 1:23 pm

What Does it Mean to be Strength-Based?

by Tracy M. Gilbert, ATR, LMHC

I often tell people that I am a therapist that tries very hard to be strength-based but what does that really mean? Is it that I’m an eternal optimist? (Yes).  Is it that I want to see the world through rose-colored glasses? (No. Okay, maybe a little). Is it that I want to pretend that bad stuff didn’t happen to good people or that kids and adults don’t sometimes show negative behaviors? (Nope).

The truth is that being strength-based means that I try to see the good in an awful lot of yuck. I try to help folks see what their child or mom or neighbor or nephew or best friend is doing well instead of always focusing on the bad.

This is not an easy task.

Imagine that a mom comes in with her 7 year-old son Teddy. Teddy has been throwing things, having tantrums, and saying, “NO!” when his mom asks him to do something he doesn’t want to do. Mom is zapped – worn-out and ready to give up. “Consequences just don’t work,” she tells me.

“Okay,” I say, “What does Teddy do really well?”

“What?” she says with bugged-out eyes. “What does that have to do with anything?”

“Well,” I say, “It has everything to do with what’s going on. When’s the last time you praised him for all the great things he does – how he helps out with the dog, how he clears the table after dinner, how his math grades are awesome?”

“But –” she interrupts, “But, he kicks me and has tantrums.”

“Yes he does,” I agree, “but let’s try something. Let’s focus on some good stuff and see if it helps Teddy have some better behaviors.  Helping you and Teddy focus on the good stuff instead of focusing on all the bad stuff. For the next week I want you and Teddy to make a pride wall. Using this big piece of paper I want you to put a sticky note on this big piece of paper every time he does something well. On that sticky note I want you to write down the specific thing he did well like ‘Teddy helped me by feeding the dog’ or ‘Teddy was patient when we had to wait in the grocery store line’ or ‘Teddy didn’t whine when it was time to pick up.’ Be specific and do it as much as possible.”

“But what about the tantrums?” she said, still staring at me with bugged-out eyes. “He’s going to win if I do this?”

“Win?” I replied. “Let me ask you this: Is anyone winning right now?”


“Okay then. What do you have to lose? Worst case scenario, nothing changes. Best case scenario, the behaviors you don’t like start to be less and less or at least less serious and the behaviors that are great start to happen more and more.”

“Maybe…” she replied skeptically.

“Tell you what; I’ll make you a deal. Try it for a week. (I give her the stink eye.) For real, try it for a week. No half-try, okay? Try it for a week and see what Teddy does to make you proud. If you and Teddy can come in with your pride wall of at least one thing that Teddy did that was awesome every day of the week then we can come up with a prize for both of you. How does that sound?”

“I guess we could try it.”

“Okay great, let’s go get Teddy and talk to him about it and see what he thinks.”

(We explain this to Teddy who thinks it’s awesome. I give them paper and post-it notes. Teddy and his mom are instructed to each “catch” Teddy in positive moments. Either one of them can write down the good moments and bring it back next time. We came up with mom and Teddy each earning a free ice cream cone coupon if they did the assignment.)


This happens so often I think that I can wholeheartedly say that recite this script for half of my work week. Turns out if Teddy and his mom wholeheartedly (or at least halfheartedly) try this and have at least one positive for every day suddenly Teddy isn’t the terror that his mom thinks he is. She won’t be constantly waiting for him to tantrum. She’ll be a little more patient. And Teddy will start to be excited to add to the pride wall and brag about his accomplishments. Teddy will find that his mom is supporting him a little more. He’ll feel a little more comforted by her and not be expecting her to yell and be upset quite so much.

Will we need to address the tantrums? Yes. Are there other things that will need to be done? Sure. Is this a one-time assignment? No way. It will need to be done for a long time. But it’s a start. And if it helps mom and son to be a little more connected and to find a little bit of awesome in each other then it’s an awfully good start.

And that’s why I think strength-based work is so terrific.

Meditation: A New Year and A New You.

Posted in General, Mental Health by SaratogaCFF on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at 3:21 pm

il_340x270.568521584_3d9yBy Kelly Daugherty, LCSW-R, GC-C, Clinical Director

As we settle into the new year,  what could be a better time than to think about what gift can you give yourself.

2014 was a year of growth, change and pure happiness for me. Several things contributed to this, but one of them that the biggest impact was adding meditation to my schedule. So when you are thinking about this New Year, why not give yourself the gift of inner peace and balance in your life with a New You?

Meditation is a great tool for connecting with your inner balance and calm. A meditation practice can help with anxiety, stress, frustration, but when I encourage a client or a friend to try it,  I often hear the following things:

  • I have tried to meditate one time and I just can’t quiet my mind
  • I don’t have time to meditate
  • I am too lazy to do that
  • It just doesn’t work
  • It makes me more anxious because I think about all of the things that I should be doing instead of just sitting there
  • It is boring

Well until I started meditating on a daily basis and began to experience the benefits of it, I would have probably said the same thing! But, I would like to challenge all of these excuses. If you have time to watch tv or play on facebook then you have time to meditate. 

At first it is going to be difficult so start slowly with even a couple of minutes each day until you can increase your time. And it takes more than one time for it to be effective. If you are one of those people that thinks any of those statements above about meditation, I would like to give you a number of reasons to give it a try. The benefits of meditation include physical benefits as well as mental benefits.

The physical benefits include:

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Decreases any tension-related pain, such as, tension headaches, ulcers, insomnia, muscle and joint problems
  • Improves mood
  • Improves the immune system
  • Increases your energy levels
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Improves athletic performance by refining your ability to focus on a goal or situation

In a study of health insurance statistics, meditators had 87% fewer hospitalizations for heart disease, 55% fewer for benign and malignant tumors, and 30% fewer for infectious diseases*.

The meditators had more than 50% fewer doctor visits than did non-meditators.

The mental benefits include:

  • Anxiety decreases
  • Levels of depression decrease
  • Emotional stability improves
  • Creativity increases
  • Happiness increases
  • Intuition develops
  • Gain clarity and peace of mind
  • Problems become smaller
  • Meditation sharpens the mind by gaining focus and expands through relaxation
  • Improves critical thinking
  • It appears to slow aging

Maybe you see something on that list that you would like to achieve, but aren’t sure how to get there, try these simple steps to start meditating today. Commit to meditation every day for at least 21 days so it becomes a habit.

  • First, start with 5 minutes and then increase your time to 20 to 30 minutes per day. There are some great apps that you can download on your phone or computer for a timer. I meditate in the morning, but find a time that is convenient to you. Getting up 20 minutes earlier to meditate will make the difference in your day and won’t make you more tired.
  • Find a spot to meditate- you can do it on a chair, a cushion or on the floor or even outside. Try to find somewhere peaceful. You can also use ear phones and use a cd or YouTube video of music for meditation. This may help with becoming distracted with outside noises like barking pups, etc. But the space doesn’t have to be completely quiet and if you hear noises- notice them, but don’t let them dominate your thoughts. Find what works best for you.
  • Try and keep your eyes open. Lower your eyes and let your gaze be soft. If you close your eyes you will be more likely to drift away in your thoughts. Some people including myself find that closing my eyes is much more effective.
  • Select a meditation technique
  • Start with focusing your attention on your breathe. Just notice your breath. Notice how the body moves with each breath. Try not to control it. If you become distracted or your thoughts begin to wander, return to focusing on your breath. You can also count your breath- as you breathe in silently say one and as you breathe out you say two.
  • Choose a word to meditate on. Repeat it over and over with the rhythm of your breath. As you breathe in through your nose, you can silently say sun and as you breathe out of your mouth, you can say shine.
  • Visualize a place or an object that you find peaceful.
  • Repeat an affirmation such as I love myself or I accept myself.
  • Use a guided meditation. You can purchase a cd or you can listen to a guided meditation on YouTube.

I encourage you to think of 2015 as a year for the New You and incorporate new tools like meditation that will make a huge difference in your life. Happy New Year!

* Reference: Benefits of Meditation

Our Banner Year.

Posted in Child Advocacy Center, Fundraising Event, General, Mental Health, Prevention Programming by SaratogaCFF on Tuesday, December 30, 2014 at 2:16 pm


With just hours left in 2014, we reflect on what a successful year that we have had. Because of the support of a strong community, a dedicated staff and a whole lot of passion, we are celebrating countless healing stories from the past 12 months.

This year we have:

Together, as a community, we achieved this success.
Together, as an Agency, we THANK YOU.

We wish you a happy and healthy 2015!

Valuable Resources for Crime Victims

Posted in Child Advocacy Center, General, Mental Health, Prevention Programming by SaratogaCFF on Monday, December 29, 2014 at 12:20 pm

Saratoga Center for the Family is one of the recipients of the 2014-15 grant from the New York State Office of Victim Services (OVS). This grant enables The Center to provide victim advocacy services and trauma focused therapy to children who have been victims of abuse in Saratoga County.

At Saratoga Center for the Family, we often work with children who have experienced a traumatic event. Trauma can be any event that, when witnessed or experienced by a child is extremely distressing to them, and each child can react in different ways to a traumatic event.

Therapists at Saratoga Center for the Family are trained in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), a research based form of therapy, which helps children, teens, and their parents cope with trauma. This counseling is normally provided to children between the ages of 3 and 18. With TF-CBT, talking about the trauma is done in a gradual, supportive way and does not happen until the child has learned some skills to cope with the discomfort. TF-CBT helps families to manage feelings, talk about the trauma, and develop plans for feeling safe in the future.

These TF-CBT techniques are often used in our clinical practice:

  • Education about trauma and its effects
  • Help with parenting strategies for common behavior problems
  • Training in relaxation and stress management
  • Learning about feelings and ways to express them
  • Finding and changing the thoughts about the trauma and self that can prevent healing
  • Developing creative ways for children to gradually talk about what happened
  • Engaging in joint sessions to help the child and caregiver(s) talk together about the trauma
  • Learning and practicing safety skills

We see incredible healing progress with this format of counseling. Children showing improvement typically experience fewer intrusive thoughts about their trauma and are able to cope with reminders and associated emotions. They also show decreased depression, anxiety, behavioral problems and trauma-related shame.

Additionally, in large part due to our OVS grant award, we are able to offer Crime Victim Advocacy to not only all of our clients, but also the community. Our Crime Victim Advocate is available for the children that come through our Child Advocacy Center for investigations of abuse allegations, and also for our counseling clients who may disclose to their therapists that they have been a victim of a crime.

Pam Harrington, our Crime Victim Advocate, is a trained professional that is here to support any victim of a crime. She offers victim information, emotional support; help finding resources, and assistance filling out paperwork.

Additionally, Pam is able to:

  • Listen and provide emotional support
  • Provide Education
  • To be a support and link to resources available
  • Make referrals for counseling
  • Explain and assist with a crime victim compensation application
  • Accompany you and your child to court proceedings and depositions
  • Provide information on legal rights and protection
  • Intervention with landlords, creditors and employers on behalf of the victim

It’s important to note that you do not have to be a client at Saratoga Center for the Family to receive these services. Anyone in the community that has been victimized can utilize this valuable resource.

For more information about Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), as well as victim rights and advocacy, please call Saratoga Center for the Family at 518-587-8008.

A Gratitude Journal

Posted in General, Mental Health, Prevention Programming by SaratogaCFF on Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 3:12 pm

By Kelly Daugherty, LCSW-R, GC-C

As we approach Thanksgiving next week, many people will take the time to stop and reflect on the things in their life that they are grateful for. I believe this is something that we should do every day and not just wait until Thanksgiving time.

About eight months ago I began writing in a gratitude journal. Each day, I journal about at least 10 things that occurred the previous day for which I am grateful.

This practice has changed my life tremendously. I feel happier, and focus most on the positive things in my life rather, than focusing on the negative. And, I am more appreciative, and present for the small things that happen each day!Asides from my own experiences, there are many benefits to doing a gratitude journal every day.

The research behind a gratitude journal:IMG_100976173430564

  • Individuals reported having less physical pain
  • Spent more time exercising
  • Decrease in blood pressure
  • Improved sleep quality, less time to fall asleep and increased sleep duration
  • Increase in vitality and energy
  • Lowers depressive symptoms
  • Emotions of gratitude has been shown to induce the relaxation response
  • Fewer physical symptoms
  • More satisfaction with their lives and were more optimistic about the future

Not sure where to start? It’s easy! Here are some helpful tips for starting a gratitude journal:

  • Try it for at least 21 days- this is how long it takes for habits to form
  • Write at least 3 to 5 new things every day that you are grateful for that occurred. If you have more, write more.
  • Avoid repeating the same thing.
  • Be as specific as you can.
  • If you feel stuck and not able to think of anything to write, think about what is around you that you are grateful for. It can be as simple as being grateful for the clothes on your back!
  • Look for the little things that happen in a day that you are grateful for such as someone smiling at you, having a good conversation with someone, a hug from someone you love or the way your animals make you feel.
  • Focus on people rather than materials.

So, I challenge you to start a gratitude journal and do it for at least the next 21 days. Let us know how adding this simple tool to your life changes things. I wish each and every one of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Welcome Vinny!

Posted in General, Mental Health, Prevention Programming by SaratogaCFF on Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at 11:31 am
Vincent "Vinny" Kostolni LMHC, NCC, CASAC|

Vincent “Vinny” Kostolni LMHC, NCC, CASAC|

It’s a very exciting time here at Saratoga Center for the Family. Last month we welcomed a new member to our staff family. We are thrilled to introduce you to Vincent Kostolni LMHC, NCC, CASAC. He brings a diverse career background to the Center, and we are so grateful to have him here!

You can find Vinny’s professional bio here, but if you want to get to know him a little better, please read on!

Your career as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor is your second career! 
What was your first?

I’ve had many jobs, including a newspaper delivery boy, NYC Yellow Cab Driver and a movie theatre jack-of-all-trades employee (one of my favorites!). But my real true life-time profession, before becoming a Therapist, was a 21 year career as a NYC Police officer and Sergeant of Police. I worked in various neighborhoods of NYC and am proud to have served in the best police department in the world! During my last 10 years, I served in the rank of Sergeant and I ran two NYPD commands as the Operations Coordinator before my retirement in September 2002.

What made you choose a career in counseling?

I have wanted to be a therapist since I was 14 years old. An incident occurred that impressed upon me the need for people to have someone they can talk to, without judgment.  I enjoyed being that person.

I was a Leader at a Boy Scout Leadership Training Program in 1974. The scouts had to navigate a map and compass course to find their campsite and I was waiting for them as they arrived. I was to be their patrol’s instructor for the week long course.

The first boy who arrived came up to me and introduced himself as “John T. and I am adopted”. Now, even at 14 years old I knew that was a weird way for anyone to introduce themselves, and I asked him how long he had known he was adopted. He replied “About ten minutes ago when my Mom and Dad dropped me off in the parking lot”.

Somewhere inside me, I knew that this young 12 year old boy needed someone. I kind of took him under my wing for the week. I spent extra time with him, we went on special hikes early in the morning to watch the sunrise. I did anything I could think of to let him know that he was special and was going to be ‘Okay. I knew after that week I wanted to be a therapist.

But John T’s and my story was not over! Fast forward twenty years, when I was sitting in the office of one of the Assistant District Attorneys for Manhattan. The ADA slides a folded slip of paper across the desk to me.

I open it, and the note reads:

I don’t know if you remember me but I am “John T” from Troop Leadership Development 74-04…I wanted you to know that you saved my life that week. I also wanted you to know that I am an Eagle Scout and a NYC Police Officer, and I wanted to say “Thank You”.     – John T

I think that says it all, and answers “why” I have returned to my first choice for a career.

Do you think your first career as an NYPD helped prepare you to be a better LMHC?
If so, how?

Every cop I know became one because they wanted to help people. I was no different, and as a cop I took care of the people of NYC. As a Sergeant I took care of my Squad of 9 cops and as the Operations Coordinator,  I got the opportunity to take care of as much as 280 men and women who worked in my command. Yes, my NYPD career helped lead me to where I have ended up. Working with so many diverse individuals and caring for the citizens of NYC definitely added to my abilities as a therapist, and I hope to continue that life long tradition here at the Saratoga Center for the Family.

You grew up down state, but relocated to Warren County, what do you love the most about this area?

I love the Adirondack Mountains and Lake George, where I live, but it’s the people of the North Country that have always been so welcoming and friendly. That makes it so easy to live and work here!

Do you have a personal motto, or quote?

“Our deepest wounds yields our greatest strengths”

Are there any fun facts you would like to share?

Hmmm, let me see. I was struck by lightning before I was born…and I’m an April Fool’s Day baby! I’ve always loved acting. I was even an extra in a film with Kevin Costner…I secretly still hope to be discovered one day! The true love of my life, aside from my wife and 4 kids, is Kerrie, my puggle!

Heel to Heal Across the Finish Line!

Posted in General, Mental Health, Prevention Programming by SaratogaCFF on Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 11:36 am



Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 11.11.39 AM


By Kelly Barry, LCSW-R, GC-C, Clinical Director

This past Sunday, 10 amazing girls completed the Run for the Roc 5k, which benefited the Radiation Oncology Center at Saratoga Hospital.

These 10 girls were part of a 10 week program entitled “Heel to Heal”, which is a program here at the Center. Ranging from ages 12 to 17 years old, these incredible young ladies met each week for two hours. The girls first participated in a group session that focused on self-esteem and mindfulness. The second portion of the program was a running component, with a one hour structured endurance workout.

I had the privilege to lead the self-esteem/mindfulness group, and we worked with Lisa Millis, from Total Wellness, for the run/walk training. Each week I was more and more impressed with how the girls pushed themselves to share more in the group, as well as push themselves to go further and faster than they ever thought they could go.

On race day, running by their side, I watched them push through the sun and heat to cross the finish line! It was an amazing experience to watch these girls evolve and accomplish their goals. It was especially heartwarming to see their parents and loved ones waiting for them as they crossed the finish line, meeting them with a joyful embrace!

I have so many wonderful things to say about these girls, and this whole program experience. But, I will let them tell you in their own words

Pre and post-test evaluations were completed to evaluate the program. The results are amazing.

  • 100% of the girls report an increase in self-esteem from the start of the program to the end of the program
  • 100% of the girls either remained the same or showed a decrease in levels of depression

The girls also had this to say:

  • “What I liked best about the program was making friends and actually pushing myself to where I didn’t think I could go”
  • “I felt very safe to share things and it was helpful”
  • “What I liked best was trying new foods and learning to push my limits”
  • “I learned how to have more self-confidence and to be more mindful”

Additionally, the parents were thrilled with the program results. Some of their positive feedback includes:

  • “I think it helped her find a way to deal with her frustration and stress and exercise”
  • “She smiles more now and thinks better of herself”
  • “The program has helped reinforce her counseling work and her values. The weekly group keeps positive messages from people she respects in the forefront of her mind.”
  • “Got her doing something positive for her body versus something self-destructive”

Lastly, and equally as important, we’d like to thank all our sponsors and partners. We couldn’t have done this amazing program with you. Thank you; 2014 South Glens Falls Marathon Dance, Fleet Feet, Lisa Millis and Healthy Living. 

And a very special thank you to our volunteer mentors that ran with the girls each week, Darci Carril and Alison Robbens.

For more information about Heel to Heal please contact Saratoga Center for the Family at 518-587-8008.


Go On Girls!

Posted in General, Mental Health, Prevention Programming by SaratogaCFF on Friday, August 8, 2014 at 11:47 am
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Heel to Heal Participants and Mentors; Darci, Kelly, Allison and Lisa! *Not all participants pictured*


We recently found out what happens when you put 11 dynamic, talented and kind young ladies together. Amazing things, that’s what!

Our Heel to Heal group has already far exceeded our wildest expectations! We are three weeks into the program, and the girls are making incredible strides. They have formed a beautiful bond and friendship, always encouraging and cheering each other on.

Our first two weeks of group focused on being more Mindful, and the girls are seeing great value in being “in the moment”. Kelly Barry, our Clinical Director,  adds “I am inspired by the support these girls are giving each other, and the progress they are also making individually. They are each showing such confidence and growth. I’m so proud of them!”.

Each week, the girls fuel up for their run with nutritious snacks donated by Healthy Living Market & Cafe. We are looking forward to a visit from Shannon, representing Healthy Living, who will be discussing Healthy Food Choices with the girls.

Training for our goal 5k run (Run for the ROC) has also been a beautiful journey. After each girl was properly fitted for running shoes with one of our sponsors, Fleet Feet, they started their run/walk therapy. This past week the girls completed a 1.25 mile run! They are increasing distance each week as they work toward their goal of 3.1 miles! This is a significant accomplishment considering some of the girls have never run before! Our run coaches, Lisa, Allison and Darci are also pretty special in our book!

Stay tuned for more updates, there is even more greatness on the horizon!