It had been a very bad week for women. The annual Girlfriends Helping Girlfriends evening out at Longfellows landed right after movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault scandal broke.
Were the ladies of Saratoga really up for a night of fashion, art, fun and pampering?
As it turns out, absolutely. Because the evening—and the cause it was benefiting, Wellspring—was created for the sole purpose of helping survivors of domestic violence and assault, which, suddenly, felt more timely and essential than ever.
The Oct. 11 party graced three floors, featuring a gorgeous array of the city’s chicest goods and services from Lifestyles and Violet’s, to Alexis Aida and Saratoga Day Spa, to Razimus and Cathy Duffy Photo (and yes, she was also there snapping pictures—a busy lady).
Maggie Fronk, the executive director at Wellspring, explained that it’s that can-do spirit that has made Wellspring in Saratoga such a phenomenal success.
“This evening was created for Wellspring by the women of Saratoga,” said Fronk, who introduced three key figures behind Girlfriends Helping Girlfriends: Pam Worth of Spoken, Heidi West of Lifestyles, and Laura Farrar-Pileckas of Violet’s. All three women spoke passionately about their dedication to the cause and tried to downplay their role in the evening’s success, an attempt that Fronk quickly overruled.
“They are absolutely essential to our work. It’s these women, and their friends and cohorts in Saratoga who enable Wellspring to serve the community,” Fronk said. “Both domestic violence and sexual assault are prevalent in our community, but often hidden from view. These kinds of events are important to increase awareness, so that individuals know there’s a place to get help and are better able to recognize subtle signs of abuse.”
The evening of early holiday shopping (for a cause!), flowing bars, a fashion show, fantastic music, great food from Longfellows and networking felt like a vacation from the bad news, with an extra dose of sweetness delivered via the knowledge that it was fighting bad news too.
Over 200 people were in attendance, and $20,000 was raised, according to Fronk. The funds will go toward crisis and support services, as well as prevention programs at Saratoga’s local schools.
Wellspring was founded nearly 40 years ago, initially as a provider of basic shelter and crisis services. In the four decades since its inception, Wellspring has become Saratoga’s go-to resource for women in distress. It currently offers a full range of emergency, shelter and community services for all, regardless of age, race, creed, color, national origin, marital status, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or disability. All services are free and confidential.
And there is clearly a need for the services the organization provides. Last year, Wellspring responded to 1,600 calls to its hotline, an 11 percent increase over the previous year; counseled 800 abuse survivors, a 19 percent increase; and provided 19,000 safe-bed nights to clients and their children, a 35 percent increase, according to Wellspring’s annual report.
“We want to reduce the stigma and the prevalence of abuse,” Fronk said. “Our goal is to end relationship and sexual abuse in Saratoga County.”
But Wellspring’s services couldn’t possibly be so wide-ranging and deep, and offered with such open and free hands, if it weren’t for the community of successful women entrepreneurs in Saratoga who have chosen to take the organization under their gilded wings. Not to mention the scores of women who show up with open purses to support their events.
Because hey … that’s what girlfriends are for, right?
For more information on Wellspring, visit wellspringcares.org