A Child’s Shelter from the Storm

The Saratoga Center for the Family is located at 359 Ballston Ave. in Saratoga Springs, however it provides its services to the entire county, including Mechanicville. See the photo gallery below.

A child that is the victim of neglect or abuse experiences more vulnerability than many of us could even imagine. Oftentimes, these experiences are derived from a dysfunctional family life at home; the very people that are the pillars of our well-being when we’re young. Children who endure these tragic incidents are in need of compassion and care unlike anyone else.

Enter the Saratoga Center for the Family: a multifaceted children and victims advocacy, mental health counseling, and abuse prevention facility in Saratoga Springs that serves the entirety of Saratoga County (including Mechanicville). “The Center” serves as a “one-stop” location for these services with the goal of preventing abuse in families before it starts.

The Center offers the compassion that children, especially as the victims of abuse, need. These child victims are referred to the Child Advocacy Center, a program of the Saratoga Center for the Family, through Child Protective Services after the abuse has been reported. From there, the facility provides a central location for coordinated efforts among law enforcement, Child Protective Services, medical services (both physical and mental), and other organizations involved in building stronger families.

Leah Ferrone of Mechanicville creates and fosters relationships among the Center’s many partnering organizations.

Local offices for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children are located on site. Mental health counseling also inhabits the Center, assisting patients with issues relating to trauma recovery, depression, anger management, grief and loss, and custody stress prevention among others. With all of these forces for good being housed in the same place, it is the aim of the Center to both strengthen and empower families in order to prevent abuse and to help victims cope and recover.

From a local perspective, Mechanicville families have lent two of their own as employees at the Saratoga Center for the Family. Denise D’Amico and Leah Ferrone both work at the Center.

Ferrone, wife of Joe Ferrone and granddaughter of Joseph and Mary B. Pierpaoli Ruggiero, feels fortunate to be in a position to help others at the Center.

“I’m truly humbled by the people who come in,” she said. “Whatever problems I have in my own life on any particular day, the children who come in really put things in perspective.”

“You can’t walk in here and not feel just a little happier,” Ferrone said of the Center’s cheerful interior setting.

She began her career in marketing, but while she enjoyed it, she wanted to help the community in some way. She made the move to the Center in 2012.

“It was a big change from the corporate world,” Ferrone said. “Here it’s always all hands on deck and the egos are checked at the door.”

Ferrone is responsible for community outreach and creating further cooperative relationships throughout Saratoga County.

Despite growing up elsewhere, Ferrone now makes her home in Mechanicville where her mother, Cathy, grew up.

“I remember coming to Mechanicville as a kid to see my grandparents at the lumber yard (Modern Lumber),” she said. “I knew then that it was a special community and it is nice be in a place that has this sense of community now.”

Ferrone recalls visiting her grandparents’ lumber yard in Mechanicville, pictured here in its infancy with owner/proprietor Joe Ruggiero.

Ferrone and her co-workers at the Center were busy over the last few months preparing for their inaugural “Cork, Forks, and Brews” fundraising event which was held at Saratoga National Golf Club earlier this month. Alongside title sponsor DeCrescente Distributing Company, the Center honored developer Sonny Bonacio for his support of the Center while entertaining 350 wine, food, and beer samplers.

Ferrone hopes that events like this continue to shed light on the services provided at the Saratoga Center for the Family, in addition to emphasizing that the Center provides these services to the entire county.

350 people attended the inaugural Corks, Forks, and Brews fundraiser at Saratoga National Golf Club.

“We want the community to think of us as a resource,” she said. “We also want to break the misconception that we only serve Saratoga Springs simply because that’s where we’re located.”

Learn more about the Saratoga Center for the Family on the link below, including ways to access their services, to volunteer, or to donate.


Updated events are listed on the organization’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SaratogaCenter




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