The agency dates back to the late 1800's when they first opened a group home for children in need. What started as one small house nestled in the woods in Randolph, NY has grown into an additional five homes that all have a slightly different focus to treating at-risk children.
Take for instance The Randolph House. It focuses on getting its residents outside and participating in a variety of recreational activities including hiking, kayaking, skiing, and horseback riding.
The Zafron Home houses teen parents, provides a safe and encouraging haven for new moms to continue their education and receive the support they need.
An additional four houses throughout Western New York in Lockport, Falconer and Westons Mills all take a slightly different approach to treatment and house a variety of at-risk children. Two of the homes also house state-approved schools for students with special needs.
In addition to the residential locations, New Directions also offers foster care and adoption services throughout Western New York. Couples interested are screened, go through a training program and receive ongoing training on how to best serve the children they foster, and in some cases, adopt.
Preventative services are the "newest" addition to the 23 different services they provide for Western New York. Family support, crisis intervention, Intensive Case Management and more all take a very family centered approach.
"The old model of treatment was that if a child wasn't making it at home, they went to an institution. The relationship with the family was never the same. Nowadays, we put a large value on the influence of family. Families are forever, and the more you can do to make the family stronger, and include the family in aspects of treatment, the stronger the family will be in the end." Brad Sande, Development Director for the organization told me.
When speaking with Brad, he truly emphasized their family approach and how they are all about strengthening the family, because it will be in turn strengthen the child. I couldn't agree more. Many times, families can feel helpless, or don't have the resources to make things better on their own. That is exactly what New Directions is here for.
Staff are experts in their field and programs are accredited by The Council on Accreditation for Children and Family Services and additional agencies. The organization partners with over a dozen additional groups and is a member of many top agencies. They are the leader in services for at-risk children in Western New York.
Services reach over 1,000 families every year with close to 250 families placed in their residential homes. Preventive services reach the most families, providing an incredible resource for families in need.
While most of the funding for programming comes from county contracts and funding, the reimbursement rate doesn't support the many special services (including recreational activities) that they believe are very important to the well being of the children they serve.
In order to raise the funds to support recreation programs, the organization is hosting its 4th Annual "Wines of Distinction" event tomorrow (Friday, May 3rd) at the Lockport Town & County Club located at 717 East Avenue in Lockport, NY. The event starts at 7:00pm and will feature wine samples from around the world, including The Niagara Wine Trail. Tickets to the event are $35 each, or $60 for two and can be purchased at the door tomorrow night. In addition to wine samples, appetizers, cheeses, desserts and coffee/teas will be served. For beer lovers, micro brew beer samples will also be available.
Prize raffles and basket raffles will be available to event goers, with the chance to win an IPad, flat screen television, luxury box at a Buffalo Bisons game, sports memorabilia, golf outings and more!
It is a fun opportunity to learn more about New Directions and enjoy a night out! I'll be attending with my Mom, and hope you will join us and the rest of the guests in attendance to help raise money for this important organization in Western New York.