“The sadness of Renee’s tragic death at the hands of those she was dedicated to helping continues to be felt throughout the New Directions community. Earlier this year, bracelets inscribed with - “In honor of Renee” - brought us together to reflect on Renee and her life, the meaning of her sacrifice and the nature of our continuing work. Our staff also plans to privately gather and honor her memory by placing a tree and memorial brick inscribed with her name in the Memory Garden located on our Lockport campus.

“The loss of a beloved child, a brother, sister, mother, father or friend, is never to be forgotten, but rather remembered in a way that allows us to grow and honor those that we loved. For us, honoring Renee means remembering her commitment to those at risk and working with a sense of joy and optimism to help them heal and succeed, just as she dedicated herself as a person dedicated to making life better for whomever she could and, in the process, left the world a better place. “

James Coder, CEO, New Directions Youth & Family Services

Welcome to New Directions

New Directions Youth and Family Services is a non-profit agency that helps children with emotional and behavioral problems, along with their families.

We offer more than 25 programs and services aiding residents throughout the State of New York.

New Directions' Highlights

Teen from Wyndham Lawn benefits from baseball 

Josh, 15, turns what he learns on the baseball field into success at Wyndham Lawn Home for Children.   

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From left, Cassidy, a teen; Nikki Meacham, youth counselor, and Sondra, Caroline, and Theresa, teens, learn to work as a group through fun activities such as kayaking during a recent trip to the Adirondack Mountains, part of Randolph Children’s Home Adventure Recreation Program.

Excursion to Adirondacks brings teens encouragement

“You can’t do everything alone,” said Sondra, teen at Chautauqua Group Home. “Sometimes asking is better.”

This is one illustration of what teens learned from a recent expedition to the Adirondack Mountains. The excursion was part of Randolph Children’s Home Adventure Recreation Program.

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Michele Beaudoin, teacher at Henrietta G. Lewis Campus School, left, and Dan, right, celebrate the publication of his orginal work.

Lewis School students’ writings are published

Students at Henrietta G. Lewis Campus School wrote and illustrated books that were then published in hard cover.

“Kids learned the power of the word and that they can make words into stories,” said Judy VanNostrand, literacy specialist at Lewis School.  “They get to take ownership.”

After the books were published, the students, K-12, were treated to a book party in their honor with pastries and juice.  During the party, some students choose to read their books aloud.

“Kids love when we do this,” said VanNostrand.

Students are given this opportunity twice a year. 

Laying the foundation for trauma treatment

toolMore clinicians at New Directions have yet another tool for treating trauma after undergoing training in EMDR. Extensively researched and shown to be effective for the treatment of trauma, EMDR helps youth reprocess their trauma that they have placed behind a wall because it is too overwhelming to deal with. The treatment helps to give control back to the youth. The training is part of New Directions’ emphasis on trauma-informed treatment.

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Laurie, left,  rides “Zip” and Jessica rides “Superman” while competing in the Walk, Trot, Canter Equitation Class where they demonstrate the rider’s performance and control of the horse.

16th annual horse show held at Randolph Children's Home

Youth demonstrated to family and friends what they have learned in the equestrian program during the 16th Annual horse show that was held at Randolph Children’s Home June 13.  This event gives the youth an opportunity to show friends and family what they have learned from working with the horses, and allows others the chance to see the accomplishments of the children. 

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New Directions' Highlights


Families celebrate youths' achivements

Steven, center, is congratulated on his progress by his parents, Violet and Scott, at the 38th annual Recognition Day held for youth in the residential program at Wyndham Lawn Home for Children. The event featured the presentation of awards, speeches by students and performances by the chimes choir and girls choir. A highlight was the presentation of the United States President’s Award for Academics to Jennifer R.


Graffiti board encourages writing

Keon, 16, left, and Rozzell, 17 jot ideas on the graffiti board at the Henrietta G. Lewis Campus School.

The board is used to encourage students to express their feelings, beliefs and thoughts in writing. There’s a different theme or question each week. Some of the themes and comments include:

What makes you You?
“Live, Laugh, Love” by Jaileen
“The thing that makes me is my attitude and my determination. Never let anyone get me down.  Oh and my Hawaiian looks.”  by Shavan

What or who inspires you?
My nephew, because he looks up to me.”  by Dave

graduating seniors Lewis Campus School 2009

Recognition Day honors day students
at Henrietta G. Lewis Campus School

Graduating seniors were among those honored at the Recognition Day celebration for day school students at the Henrietta G. Lewis School in Lockport held June 15. In the photo above, they are from left, front row, Dustin, who will study auto body repair at Erie Community College, and Holly, who will study environmental studies at Niagara County Community College, and back row, Matt, who is undecided, and Dave, who is working and will study auto mechanics. In addition to the presentation of achievement awards to middle and high school day students, the afternoon included a slide show of photos taken throughout the year and the distribution of yearbooks.

Laura Kelemen honored by
Mental Health Association

Laura Kelemen, program director, Children’s Mental Health Programs at New Directions Youth and Family Services, was recently awarded the 2009 Donald Walck Professionalism in Mental Health Award by the Mental Health Association in Niagara County, Inc.

The award is given to a mental health professional that is dedicated, acts in a compassionate manner and respects the dignity of individuals living with mental illness.

The association recognized Ms. Kelemen as a leader in the community and thanked her for all she does for the residents of Niagara County.

You don't have to be rich to become a foster parent

Randolph Children's Home changes life

The (Jamestown) Post-Journal recently carried an article on Lee Atwater, 27, who credits Randolph Children’s Home with changing his life.

''Literally, I would be in jail or probably dead,'' if not for the Children's Home, Atwater said. ''One or the other.''

Thanks to the Randolph Children’s Home, he graduated from high school and holds down a full-time as a store manager. He prides himself on selling quality products to his customers, and aims to please in every aspect of his work.

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New Directions' Mission