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Displaying items by tag: Act With Respect Always

Thursday, 13 June 2019 14:04

Rich Johns: Coaching Students Through Life

SARATOGA SPRINGS —  In 2010 schoolteacher, tennis and basketball coach Rich Johns, retired from the traditional structures of education and coaching and began a nonprofit known as Act With Respect Always (AWRA). The organization has flourished and has taken Coach Johns to schools as far as Duke University and as local as Saratoga Springs High. This month would be the sixth month that AWRA has trademarked it’s new Visibility Project. 
AWRA is an organization, and a mission in itself; to treat yourself and others with kindness and respect. Through speaking engagements, Johns uses his platform to promote others to create opportunities to make positive impacts in another person’s life. 
The new factor of AWRA - the Visibility Project, takes interacting with someone one step further – to be seen. 
“When you become visible, you’re strong, and you believe in yourself, I hope,” said Johns. 
This project promotes reaching out to others and letting them know their presence and visibility in this society is of importance. 
“Part of my mission before I leave a school is to stress to those adults in that environment, connect with them, and tell them I’m one of your solid five, and you can get in touch with me,” said Johns. “To me, making young kids know that they have this solid group with them, and they love you, they care for you, and they’ll do anything for you makes you visible."

At each speaking engagement, Johns attends, he makes a point to bring a book and postcards. This is not only to leave students, athlete and the teachers with something to incorporate but to provide an opportunity to encourage connection through the written word. 
The new AWRA T-Shirt that states “The Visibility Project” is marked with a large, vibrant yellow circle on the back. Literally visible at afar, but meaningfully visible to the wearer, who are all connected through the message of the Visibility Project. 
AWRA IS A 501 © 3 charitable organization. To get involved or to support the organization be visible, and connect with Coach Rich Johns through Facebook or Instagram or actwithrespectalways.com. 
Published in Sports

WILTON – Closing out its most recent “Share the Love” charity campaign, New Country Subaru on Route 50 presented a check for $7,388 to local anti-bullying organization, “Act with Respect Always” (AWRA).  Headed by former Saratoga Spring tennis coach Rich Johns, AWRA visits schools and encourages students to understand what their peers may be going through and to treat them with respect.  This is New Country’s ninth year participating in Subaru’s nationwide Share the Love campaign.  In 2013, local dealerships were allowed to choose charities within their own communities to raise money for, alongside other nationally recognized organizations.  This year, the other charities included the ASPCA, Meals on Wheels, the Make-a-Wish foundation, and the National Park Foundation.

This marks the first year that New Country Subaru chose to raise money for AWRA.  Annie Robillard-Esposito, regional representative for Subaru, said that it is up to the specific retailer whether or not they work with a charity again for future Share the Love campaigns.

“It’s not just to sell cars, and do it for business,” Robillard-Esposito said.  “It’s actually to do the right thing for the community.”

The Share the Love event raises money by allowing every customer to choose a charity they wish to donate to, and for each car sold, Subaru of America donates $250.  Customers are able to choose multiple charities, so the amount often ends up split however many ways for each charity chosen.  This most recent campaign lasted from Nov. 17 to Jan. 3. 

As part of his work with AWRA, Johns tells people to accept the “1-percent” of others, meaning their outward differences such as appearance and class, and to get to know their “99-percent,” meaning the inner workings of a person that define them far deeper than tangible traits. 

“I’m working hard to take away those labels on the 1-percent,” Johns said.  “That we should all be accepted for who we are, what we look like, where we live… you are driving a different automobile, but I want to know what’s inside you, and that’s the 99-percent.”

All photos by Thomas Kika.

Published in Education
Friday, 23 October 2015 17:32

John F. Safford, 2015 Mayoral Candidate

SARATOGA SPRINGS – John F. Safford, 70, (REP, CON, IND, RFM) Professional Managing Agent, CMCA, is a newcomer to politics, seeking the office of Mayor of Saratoga Springs as his first run. For his interview, we met at the beautiful grounds of the Pine Grove Family Camp, one of his favorite places in Saratoga, where he is a trustee and treasurer. 

“I love this place,” he said. “We fight to keep this camp viable, as pristine as possible. I am a peaceful person, and although I work on real issues, I am still peaceful inside and this place reminds me of that. I love that in Saratoga we have open space and beautiful trees like this, but we need a balance between our ecological goals and property rights. We need to continue our growth as a year-round destination and place to live.”

Safford’s military service included a stint in Japan in the Army Security Agency, where he worked on security and information. “Yes, I was a spy,” he said. After his honorable discharge in 1973, that experience informed his business career, where he developed further expertise in computers and information technology, applying it to emergency services for municipalities, among other things. 

“I have been in every emergency service bunker in the state,” Safford said. This peaceful person has decades of experience in helping cities and towns of all sizes plan for the worst. Given that, a logical question was why run for mayor rather than public safety commissioner? 

“My strongest gift is being able to pull different departments and agencies together,” he said, “which is vital to emergency planning, but especially needed as a mayor. My work has involved finance and budgeting, public works, and public safety, and I can bring people together to get things done. I think the mayor’s role is where I can do the most good for Saratoga Springs.”

Safford also feels his business experience will help Saratoga’s economic vitality. If elected, he intends to plan for responsible growth, providing quicker turnaround for permitting and doing more for entrepreneurs and business owners. “The Mayor’s department has a fund that most people are not aware of,” he said. “The capital improvement loan capability of the office of economic development is not used properly. It’s very difficult for business owners to spend time searching for capital, and those with capital think businesses will come to them. I can put those two together.”

Safford’s goals also include improving parking and infrastructure, improving communication between departments, and enhancing downtown safety and quality of life. He supports parking over mixed-use for the High Rock lot because the demand for parking for existing businesses in the area in addition to the City Center’s needs is higher than the need for senior or other housing and businesses in that particular location. He also supports a golf resort at Saratoga National. 


For Safford’s biographical information and endorsements, please visit LWVSaratoga.org

Published in News


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