Franklin Community Center opens new building – Saratogian

Saratoga Springs, NY – The Franklin Community Center (FCC) has opened a new building for its services, the Michael and Stacey Arby Family Community Center. The building on Washington Street, dedicated Friday night with a private party and reception.

A public house will open on November 23.

“This space allows us to expand our programs, food pantry, and space for employees to work and interact with our families,” said Colin O’Connor Potter, director of FCC’s Project Lift.

“I love the extra space,” added Cary Cushing, executive director of the Federal Communications Commission. “We were on top of each other at the other location, so this new space is a godsend.”

The Michael and Stacey Arby Family Community Center is now the fourth building used by the FCC to operate its services. It is centrally located to the other three, making it an ideal location to use. In what Cushing describes as a “short story” set of circumstances, the building was made available to the FCC through the generosity of others.

“We are able to do everything we do by keeping our programs very close,” Cushing explained. “This building was the only one that was going to work for our programs.”

When the building was initially offered for sale by owners Elliot and Cathy Massey, the asking price was too high for the FCC. After Cushing spoke with the Masis, 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 well above the FCC’s budget. Then FCC board member Stacie Arpey and her husband Michael stepped in, and they donated enough money to make the building’s purchase possible. As a gesture of appreciation, the building was named Arpeys.

With additional donations from many other local individuals and businesses, the Michael and Stacey Arby Family Community Center was ready to open this weekend.

“This building didn’t happen by accident,” Cushing said at the gifting ceremony. “It happened because many generous people with big hearts got together. You are the ones who make our work possible.”

“It’s so inspiring to see the community come together,” Chairman Zachary Manns commented.

With more room to work, store supplies, and provide patient privacy, the FCC staff will be able to expand and enhance the services they already provide.

Available services include:

• Free Shop: A volunteer-run donation center that serves 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 baby items such as toys and games are being accepted. Community members in need can “shop” at The Free Store Wednesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon.

Student Services: A program that provides supplies and assistance to children, including leave assistance similar to child adoption programs, a Halloween costume campaign, a drive for school supplies, and assistance with the cost of summer camp for students at Project Lift.

• Project Lift: A referral-based program that helps students make social connections and make friends in a safe place through games and team building.

“There are some organizations that are the beating heart of society,” said association member Carrie Warner. “The Franklin Community Center is the heart of Saratoga. This is where we need it. Carrie and her staff are doing an amazing job here, in a very quiet yet moving way.”

She told Michael Arby, “You’re making a huge impact on society.”

As it bears the building’s name, the Arpeys themselves were in the spotlight at the dedication ceremony. The donation was something they did to make sure the community would be taken care of and not to get noticed.

“When I see this sign, the most important word in it is ‘community,’” Michael Arby said. “We make a difference, but you can too. One person’s power can change things for the better in this world. Creates a double effect of kindness and compassion. To the kids who think they may not be able to make a 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.”

“The special thing about Saratoga Springs is the increased coordination and support among all the services available,” Stacie Arpey commented during the reception. “This is the time to improve life. I strongly believe that if you can get children on the right track and provide them with the services they need, their chances of success will increase tenfold. The staff here are doing a great job, and every month the board comes ready to go.”

“It’s a wonderful organization.”

To learn more about the Franklin Community Center, including donation and volunteer opportunities, or to find services, visit https://www.franklincommunitycenter.org/ or call (518) 587-9826.

Stacy and Michael Arby (Melissa Schumann – Media News Group)
Michael Arby speaks at the dedication ceremony of the building. (Melissa Schumann – MediaNews Group)
Guests fill the room at the dedication ceremony for the Michael and Stacey Arby Family Community Center. (Melissa Schumann – MediaNews Group)
Carrie Cushing, executive director of the Franklin Community Center, speaks at the building’s dedication ceremony. (Melissa Schumann – MediaNews Group)
Michael Arby talks about “the power of a person.” (Melissa Schumann – MediaNews Group)

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