Howard K. Hitzel, Psy.D., President of Lake Shore Behavioral Health was joined by City of Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown, Erie County Commissioner of Mental Health, Michael R. Ranney, and New York State Senator, Timothy M. Kennedy to officially open a new playground at The Lighthouse.
This new playground gives the children at The Lighthouse a safe play environment they are able to access all the time. It is designed to accommodate all ages including infants. Having a dedicated playground within the facility will allow the children residing and visiting with their mothers to have an area to engage in beneficial exercise and outdoor play on a daily basis. It was made possible with a $10,000 donation from the James H. Cummings Foundation, a $5,000 donation from the M & T Charitable Foundation and the donation of $500 as well as the delivery and installation of the playground by American Eagle Fireplace & Playsets.
“Lake Shore would like to express our appreciation to the James H. Cummings Foundation, M&T Charitable Foundation and American Eagle Fireplace & Playsets for providing the funding to build the playground.” remarked Dr. Hitzel. “Their support has enabled the playground to become a reality for the children staying at The Lighthouse who will enjoy it for years to come.”
The Lighthouse is a residential substance abuse treatment facility for pregnant and parenting women. The program was implemented to fill a gap in treatment for women with chemical dependency issues who required residential treatment, but had previously been unable to be with their children during treatment. In addition to intensive substance abuse treatment and rehabilitation, the program provides parenting, recreational, and vocational services. At The Lighthouse, women receive treatment in a structured and nurturing environment. A comprehensive range of supportive services and activities for the children is also available.
Since opening in 2000, The Lighthouse has served more than 600 women. The program can accept 22 women and up to 30 children ages 11 and under. It is the only facility in New York State to allow children over the age of 5 to reside with their mothers during their treatment. The length of stay is six to nine months depending on a woman’s clinical status and prior treatment. The Lighthouse program has allowed women to achieve recovery while residing with their children. Families have been reunited as women have been able to regain or retain custody while in treatment.