SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – The Franklin Community Center (FCC) has opened a new building for its services, the Michael and Stacie Arpey Family Community Center. The building, located on Washington Street, opened Friday night with a private party and reception.
An open house will be held on November 23.
“This space allows us to expand our programs, our pantry and the space where staff can work and interact with our families,” said Colleen O’Connor-Potter, program director for the FCC Project Lift.
“I love the extra space,” added Kari Cushing, CEO of FCC. “We were on top of each other in the other place, so this new space is a godsend.”
The Michael and Stacie Arpey Family Community Center is now the fourth building that FCC uses to operate its services. It is located in the center of the other three, which makes it an ideal location for its use. In what Cushing describes as a “story book” set of circumstances, the building became available to the FCC through the generosity of other people.
“We are able to do whatever we do by keeping our programs so close,” Cushing explained. “This building was the only one that would have worked for our programs.”
When the building was initially put up for sale by owners Elliot and Cathy Masie, the asking price was too high for the FCC to consider. After Cushing spoke to the Masies, they not only lowered the asking price, but also donated all the furniture and equipment inside. Even with such a generous offer, the building was still above the FCC’s budget. Then FCC board member Stacie Arpey and her husband Michael stepped in, donating enough money to make the purchase of the building possible. As a thank you, the building was named in honor of the Arpey family.
With additional donations from many other local people and businesses, the Michael and Stacie Arpey Family Community Center was ready to open this weekend.
“This building didn’t happen by chance,” Cushing said at the dedication party. “It happened because so many generous, big-hearted people came together. You are the people who make our work possible.
“It’s so inspiring to see the community come together,” commented Board Chairman Zachary Manz.
With more space to work, store supplies and ensure patient privacy, FCC staff will be able to expand and strengthen the services they already offer.
The services available include:
• The Free Store: a volunteer-run donation center serving approximately 450 people per month. New and used items are accepted by appointment on Mondays and Tuesdays. Donations of winter clothing, household items, small appliances and children’s items such as games and toys are currently accepted. Community members in need can “shop” in the free store Wednesday through Friday from 9:00 am to noon.
• Student Services: A program that provides supplies and assistance to children, including vacation assistance similar to child adoption programs, a Halloween costume drive, a school supplies drive, and a help with summer camp costs for Project Lift students.
• Project Lift: A referral program that helps students socialize, make friends in a safe space through games and team building.
“There are certain organizations that make a community’s heart beat faster,” said MP Carrie Woerner. “The Franklin Community Center is that heartbeat for Saratoga. It is a place that we need. Kari and her team do an amazing job here, in a very calm but impactful way.
To Michael Arpey, she said, “You have a huge impact on the community. “
As the namesake of the building, the Arpey’s themselves were honored to be in the spotlight at the dedication party. The donation was something they did to make sure the community was taken care of, not to attract attention.
“When I see this sign, the most important word is ‘community’,” said Michael Arpey. “We are making a difference, but so are you. The power of one person can make a difference for the better in this world. It creates a ripple effect of kindness and compassion. To kids who think they might not be able to tell the difference someday, my advice is to invest in yourself, invest in your education, and make the most of yourself.
“If I come from humble beginnings and can make a difference now, so can you. “
“One special thing about Saratoga Springs is the increasing coordination and support between all available services,” commented Stacie Arpey at the reception. “Now is the time to improve life. I sincerely believe that if you can put children on the right track and provide them with the services they need, their chances of success will be increased tenfold. The staff here do an amazing job and the board arrive every month ready to work.
“It’s a great organization.
To learn more about the Franklin Community Center, including donation and volunteer opportunities or to search for services, visit https://www.franklincommunitycenter.org/ or call (518) 587-9826.