SARATOGA SPRINGS — On Oct. 11 Jeff and Heath Ames, owners, Cantina Restaurant were awarded with this year’s Outstanding Parents Award at the Dish It Out benefit for the Capital Region office of The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). The event took place at Prime at Saratoga National located at 458 Union Ave. in Saratoga Springs. The award recognizes parents who have exhibited a significant impact on the safety and well being of children in the Capital Region.
With Saratoga Hospital Foundation, the Ames founded the Cantina Kids Fun Run 11 years ago to promote healthy families and to raise funds for pediatric emergency services. Over the years, the Cantina Kids Fun Run has raised nearly $490,000, funds that have provided life-saving training and equipment specific to pediatric needs for Saratoga Hospital’s Emergency Department.
The presentation took place at the Dish It Out Celebrity Chef Challenge, the annual NCMEC fundraiser where guests voted for the best dishes from 10 participating restaurants. This year’s included, Chianti II Ristorante, Lake Ridge, Mama Mia’s, Max London’s, Osteria Danny, Prime at Saratoga National, Sperry’s, Sushi Thai Garden and Yono’s. Auction items this year included one week in Anna Maria Island, FL, a master spa hot tub from Concord Pools, four Yankee tickets, a Nintendo Switch and an Oculus Go virtual reality headset.
The Capital Region office of The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children was opened in the summer of 2011 following three years of local fundraising and volunteer efforts. The office serves the children, families and professionals of the 11 counties of the Capital Region: Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren and Washington counties. The NCMEC’s mission is to help prevent child abduction and sexual exploitation, including from online predators; help find missing children; and train law enforcement professionals who serve victims of abduction and sexual exploitation and their families.
For these counties, the office providesfreeabductionandsexual exploitation prevention education programs for parents, children, law enforcement and other professionals; Netsmartz Internet and Real World safety education programs for children (grades K - 12) and parents, (including state-of-the-art “train the trainer” program for educators); and expert training for law enforcement and professionals serving missing and sexually exploited children and their families.