By Annette Pinder

Originally founded in 1888, Cradle Beach provides services to children with disabilities and from underserved communities in Buffalo. A year-round facility, children ages 8 to 17 can select two non-consecutive weekly camp sessions from the 8 sessions offered throughout the summer. Cradle Beach also offers respite weekends during the summer for individuals with disabilities whose family member is their primary caretaker.

One of Cradle Beach’s best kept secrets is Pathway for Caregivers (Pathways), offered every third Thursday monthly from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm. During this time, caretakers are able to drop off their loved ones for supervised one-on-one activities with trained volunteers, including listening to music, benefiting from pet therapy, and lunch and refreshments.

Pathways is specifically designed to give caretakers time to care for themselves and engage in a variety of activities that foster peace of mind and rejuvenation. After dropping off their loved ones, caretakers can enjoy a support group; nature walks and beach views; fun projects like candy-making; sit by the pool; participate in a seminar about estate planning or mindfulness. For many, it is a time to make new friends and gain resources in a relaxing environment that allows them to focus on their own well-being. Sometimes, caregivers delight in the opportunity to simply take a nap. They, too, enjoy lunch and refreshments.

Caretakers who attend the Pathways program say they enjoy the sense of community. Some are sandwich caregivers, who have young children but are caring for older loved ones. Pathways is 100% volunteer based and caregiver focused, and is made possible through generous funders. Best of all, the program is completely free. Learn more about participating in Pathways or volunteering by calling Kat Gorecki at 716-549-6307, ext. 218 or email