For the past 18 years, Aurora House, located in Lockport and operated by Community Missions, has worked to transform the lives of youth diagnosed as severely emotionally disturbed. Recently, the program was the recipient of a $12,000 grant from the Grigg-Lewis Foundation to update the facility's original kitchen.
Built in 1995, Aurora House serves as the only children's community residence in Niagara County licensed by the New York State Office of Mental Health. The eight-bed facility serves the eight counties of Western New York and provides youth with growth opportunities, with a goal of returning them to their home or move on to the next stage of their lives.
"The Grigg-Lewis Foundation has been a wonderful partner of Community Missions for a number of years and, once again, they have graced us with their generosity," said Robyn L. Krueger, executive director of Community Missions. "Aurora House has transformed the lives of youth for 18 years, and it is rewarding to see an organization like the Grigg-Lewis Foundation recognize its importance. We are so appreciative of their support!"
The project will involve the installation of new countertops and cabinets within the facility's large kitchen. While serving as a hub for the youth and staff, the kitchen also fosters the teaching of many daily living skills. These include meal planning and preparation, along with proper dining etiquette, each of which are vital to the youth as they mature.
"We are so excited for this gracious gift from the Grigg-Lewis Foundation," said Marilee Clark, Community Missions' director of youth services. "Aurora House has served a challenging population for nearly two decades, and its kitchen has been showing its age. This support will allow the Aurora House staff to continue teaching the many daily living skills learned in the kitchen, while preparing meals and snacks in an improved environment for many years to come."
Aurora House's comprehensive approach focuses on the many skills youth need to be successful in their lives. These include coping skills, self-esteem and behavior management, while also providing trauma-sensitive and culturally competent service planning. Family services are offered, along with linkages to appropriate medical, mental health and educational services.
The Grigg-Lewis Foundation, founded in 1968 through a gift by Henrietta Grigg Lewis, maintains an extremely low-profile while having an impact of extraordinary magnitude throughout eastern Niagara County and beyond. With charitable contributions of now approximately $2 million annually, the foundation has affected thousands of people's lives.
In 2012, CMI provided more than 70,000 meals and 9,000 nights of care within its crisis services programs. Additional agency programs serve adults and youth with psychiatric disabilities, parolees, at-risk youth and other underserved populations in both residential and recovery-orientated settings.
For more information on the services and programs provided by Community Missions, visit www.communitymissions.org or connect via Facebook or Twitter.