Rural Outreach Center receives grant to fund play therapy program

The Rural Outreach Center (ROC), an East Aurora-based nonprofit agency that directs participants on a path toward self-sufficiency through a number of specialized programs, has received a $20,000 grant from the Garman Family Foundation administered by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. The grant will fund Play Therapy & More, a program that supports children who have experienced trauma (domestic violence, physical or other abuse, exposure to substance abuse) through play therapy and more traditional therapies. Parents will also participate in complementary therapy to support their own mental health and their children. 

“The Rural Outreach Center provides numerous services to those living in rural poverty in southern Western New York,” said Executive Director Frank Cerny. “Many of our participants, both adults and children, have suffered trauma and abuse. Our team of social workers work with people of all ages to address these traumas and the impact they have on a person’s life.

“The 2018-19 Play Therapy & More program will serve at least 35 children under the age of 10, at least 25 teens, and the parents and guardians of these children,” Cerny added. 

While just launched in Summer 2017, the need for the ROC’s Play Therapy & More program continues to grow substantially. The program allows children a safe place to express their emotions through play, their natural form of expression. By offering this unique treatment modality to children, the ROC’s trained social workers can help them process their traumas and ultimately learn skills for handling future loss and challenges. This is one significant way to work towards breaking the cycle of poverty. 

The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, a 501(c)(3) organization, was established in 1919 to enhance and encourage long-term philanthropy in Western New York. The Community Foundation’s mission is: Connecting people, ideas and resources to improve lives in Western New York. For nearly 100 years, the Community Foundation has made the most of the generosity of individuals, families, foundations and organizations who entrust charitable assets to the Community Foundation’s care. For more information, please visit

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