Community Matters October 2011

CAPTAIN Youth and Family Services

CAPTAIN - Youth and Family ServicesSue Malinowski, Executive Director
In 1977, a group of concerned parents in Clifton Park, N.Y. came together to create a grassroots organization to help troubled teens. That movement soon became known as CAPTAIN (Community Action for Parents, Teens and Interested Neighbors). Since then, CAPTAIN has developed into one of the most recognized and highly respected volunteer-driven organizations, serving the principal social, educational and prevention needs of youth and families in Saratoga County and beyond.
CAPTAIN’s programs and services address the core issues facing society today: youth homelessness, poverty, youth violence, underage drinking and drug use, academic failure and family dysfunction.
These issues are addressed with program such as elementary and adolescent help phone lines (Teen Talk and Phone Friend), bike works, runaway and homeless emergency youth shelter, youth development programs (CAPteens), community outreach and drop-in center at Cheryl’s Lodge, family assistance, KARYL’s Kupboard (emergency food pantry), community education, after-school programming and homework help, job assistance, after-prom activities and CAPTAIN’s Treasures (a next-to-new clothing shop).
As a grassroots organization, CAPTAIN relies heavily on a dedicated volunteer workforce. Executive Director Sue Malinowski said, “CAPTAIN volunteers are without a doubt one of our greatest assets.”
With more than 300 active volunteers, CAPTAIN coordinates 15,000-plus hours of community service annually.  “Integral to this effort is the organization’s experienced staff, generous community of supporters and thousands of acts of loving-kindness,” Malinowski said.
Volunteers work in almost every capacity of operations. Volunteer positions include, but are not limited to, Teen Talk helpline supervisors and teen phone counselors, tutors and homework helpers, pantry van drivers for seniors, grounds keeping and meal preparations at CAPTAIN’s runaway and homeless youth shelter, youth and family mentors, office assistants, youth enrichment/peer educators, child care volunteers, floor workers and cashiers at CAPTAIN’s Treasures, fundraising and teen community service. With the diverse programs and services offered by CAPTAIN, it is easy to match individuals’ particular interests or skills with volunteer experiences that are especially enriching and fun.
To volunteer for a CAPTAIN Program, email CAPTAIN’s Volunteer Coordinator Robin Kennedy at

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