Readers this is such an exciting time for us here at Mamatoga because we have SO MUCH new and super exciting stuff going on, between the photo contest and our new partnership with Franklin Community Center and our top secret event coming up very soon we are very busy here at Mamatoga. Today I want to share with you the news about our partnership with Franklin Community Center. For those of you that might not be familiar with the center, they are a non-profit human services agency that has been providing basic necessities and services to less fortunate community members in and around Saratoga County for more than 25 years. Despite the glamorous and affluent reputation surrounding our beautiful city, there are people right here who struggle every day to make ends meet. Franklin Community Center strives to foster a sense of community, which is a goal of Mamatoga as well. They work to provide for those local families in need without prying questions or extensive paperwork. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Bo Goliber, the Coordinator of Development and Volunteers, and also a local mom herself. We talked about the different ways that we, as a Mamatoga community, can help to give back to the community at large. One of their programs is called Project Lift, a free after-school prevention program that has been operating in the Saratoga Springs School District for nearly 30 years. The program serves kids in grades 1-5 and their families and puts an emphasis on positive youth development, raising self-esteem, and the development of refusal, decision-making, problem solving and communication skills. One of the focuses of the program is to help provide the kids in Project Lift with the school supplies that their families cannot afford. What really struck me about this was the fact that growing up one of my favorite things about back to school was getting all my new school gear. I loved having a fresh new notebook, all those shiny new unsharpened pencils, there seemed to be so much promise and excitement in it, and I can't wait till I can buy all that stuff for my kids when they head off to school. Finn starts kindergarten this year and we already went out and got him a new backpack, he was so excited picking it out and he wore it in the car on the way home, he is so proud of it and can't wait till his first day so he can wear it and show it to his new friends. So it was all those thoughts that were running through my mind when I heard about the need for school supplies for kids right here in Saratoga Springs. I imagined a young boy or girl just like my own, sitting in their new classroom, maybe feeling ashamed or embarassed because their family can't afford a new backpack, or a new notebook, or any of the things that the kids around him have and need for school. And I thought, they were having a sale on those backpacks when I bought Finn's, I could buy just one more, for the cost of two Venti Starbucks lattes, and that boy or girl would also have a nice new backpack that they couldn't wait to show their friends. And it wouldn't have to be as big as a backpack, I know how much providing for kids costs, but if you threw just one more pack of pencils into your cart when you school shop you could donate that and make a small improvement for a child that could be the child sitting next to your own in class this September. As Moms, I feel like we have this innate nature to help each other out, and to help each other's kids out. We share hand me down clothes, we give out spare diapers, we babysit and carpool and happily help out other moms. Plus, we help out other moms we don't even know. I was at the playground the other day with Finn and Lev and Lev had gotten her little skinny leg stuck between some bars near the top. I ran over to help her get her leg free and while my back was turned Finn was about to fall off the monkey bars. Another mom, whom I didn't know, ran over and helped him down without even thinking about it. I thanked her, deeply grateful that we all have each other's backs like that, knowing I would of course do the same if I saw a little one about to get hurt. And this is no different. This is a way that we can all help each other out. This is also an opportunity to introduce your own kids to giving to others in need. Tell them about picking out another school supply for some kids who don't have as much as they do, it's an invaluable lesson that can be developed as they grow. These kids need our help, just a little bit each, and it will make such a huge impact, an impact that will be felt in the schools that our kids also go to, on the streets that we also live on, in the city that we are all lucky to live in. So when you are out doing your back to school shopping, remember the new Mamatoga slogan "At the Store, Buy One More". You'll be making a small donation and a lasting impact in your very own community. Details: What Project Lift needs most are 3 ring binders, dry erase markers, scientific calculators, and glue sticks as well as your usual pens and pencils and notebooks. Items can be dropped off at the center at 10 Franklin Street on Mon.-Fri. from 9am-4pm. Also, keep tuned to the website for more details of Mamatoga drop-boxes for these items and different events where we will collect items.