Longfellow’s was hopping last Thursday night as Saratogians came out in spades to show their support for Project Lift University. This annual fundraiser presented by the Franklin Community Center supports their after-school prevention program which has been operating in the Saratoga Springs City School District for over 30 years. Attendance was strong and there was lots of energy in the room as guests mingled and noshed on food from Steve Sullivan’s talented crew (including a kale caesar salad & tiramisu we are still drooling over). John and Cindy Munter and Mike and Lisa Munter, Emily Mastrianni, Devin Sherin and newly engaged Lindsay Welsh were spotted perusing the impressive silent auction tables, with donations from a huge array of area businesses, reflective of the impact Project Lift has in our community.
Jeff and Bart Altamari,Skip and Colleen Carlson, Barry and Cindy Potoker, Stephanie and Dave Collins were also in attendance showing their support, enjoying the music from Kristen Renehan and Jim Mastrianni as well as tarot card readings and a fun photo booth.
Guests sipped beer and wine as well as local Pick Six Vodka, from Saratoga Courage Distillery as the program kicked off with comedian Greg Aidala who emceed the event. Lake Avenue Elementary School Principal Dr. Barbara Messier was the featured speaker and joked about how long it took for her to connect with Franklin Community Center to get Project Lift into Lake Avenue. She then went to articulate how offering a ‘warm welcome and sense of belonging’ was the goal for both her school and Project Lift and the success they have had collaborating together. The audience was then lead in a live auction that was mission based, offering those in attendance a chance to provide holiday assistance for a Project Lift Family. Spotted in the crowd were several local politicians including Michelle Madigan, Christian Mathiesen and his lovely wife Fran and Mayor Joanne Yepsen. Organizers reported that this year’s event raised $50,000, all of which will go towards their free after school program, which will continuing to shape positive youth development, build self-esteem and develop decision making and problem solving skills with at-risk youth in Saratoga.