Saratoga Bridges elects new foundation board member

Saratoga Bridges, NYSARC Inc., Saratoga County ChapterAt its May 14 meeting, Saratoga Bridges Foundation elected Ana Maria Young of Stillwater as a new board member. Young joins a board that ensures its agency can raise necessary operating funds for programs, capital and special projects insufficiently supported by state or federal dollars. The foundation also establishes an endowment to ensure the availability of future services as well as exercising fiduciary responsibility of foundation assets.

Saratoga Bridges has been providing the highest level of programs to people with developmental disabilities and their families for more than 55 years, by promoting their abilities and achievements in every aspect of community life. As one of the largest private nonprofit organizations in Saratoga County, Bridges has been committed to ensuring that the more than 800 individuals they serve can realize their goals, hopes and dreams as they work, volunteer, shop and play while leading full, productive and contributing lives. This voluntary service provider believes the care it gives increases immeasurably the quality of life for every citizen. Saratoga Bridges’ philosophy is that every day is full of possibilities.

Young’s former volunteer endeavors include serving on the Board of Directors of Hope for the Warriors as well as working with Camp Jeanne d’Arc, Ruth Israel McIntyre Foundation and the Stillwater PTA.  She attended a Stakeholders Seminar on Board Governance and also participated in seminars given by the Parent Network of the Capital Region.

The new board member became involved with Bridges in 2013, when she and her family attended the Autism Awareness Fair at Skidmore College. She was impressed with the number of organizations that serve individuals on the spectrum.  As her oldest child has an autism spectrum disorder, her family was looking for extracurricular activities and camps. They found a hippotherapy program and a day camp that proved successful for her son.

After attending the fair, Young decided to see if Saratoga Bridges offered volunteer opportunities. She discovered its website was overflowing with opportunities to get involved. Young was asked to volunteer for Creative Endeavors and has been helping out weekly in art classes since last summer.

She said, “I am tremendously inspired by the individuals participating in the program, and struck by their creativity and the joy they bring to the table.  I always leave with a huge smile on my face.”

Young has also been an active White Party Gala committee member. She worked at the registration table in 2013, and has secured sponsorships and auction items for this July’s event.

Young said, “I was interested in joining the Saratoga Bridges Foundation Board because when our son was diagnosed, I became increasingly aware of an entire community of individuals who are different, not lesser. These amazing people deserve to have their needs advocated for as well as have the chance to achieve their full potential.  I have experience in volunteering and fundraising, and I want to develop and support more opportunities.”

She added, “The Saratoga Bridges Foundation is a wonderful and important fixture in the community.  I would love to connect more public schools and their special-program staffs with the amazing programs offered by Saratoga Bridges.  I want to promote awareness in not only the special-need community, but also in those who spend a great deal of time with children and who may one day require Bridges’ services.”

See www.saratogabridges.org.



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