Lighthouse listens to ongoing needs of community

Lighthouse column
By: By Angela Ponivas, M.S.W. For The Lincoln News Messenger
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Lighthouse Counseling & Family Resource Center has consistently tried to be responsive to the needs of the community over the years.

When we learned that our English- speaking families were remaining isolated and were in need of more help, we became more aggressive in our outreach and we became an agency that was more reflective of our community at large, providing an array of services in English and in Spanish.

When we heard that residents were allowing their children to wear diapers for longer than is healthy, we addressed the issue by becoming a diaper bank.

We started a job-readiness program when the economic downturn occurred and we learned that residents needed help being more competitive in the job market.

In addition, we started offering budgeting workshops and we creatively pulled together resources for residents in need.

When we learned that financial pressures were causing greater discord in homes, we started group counseling for couples and increased our counseling capacity for families.

And when healthcare reform started to confuse and affect all of us, Lighthouse took a lead role in providing education, information and help with enrollments.

Although we have been responsive, resourceful and have taken many “leaps of faith” over the years, we found it painful and frustrating when limited funding restricted what we could do.

One example of this was when several youth committed suicide a few years ago in the community. We did our best to be at the center of this issue but we were financially unprepared to handle the effects of suicide on a community.

In recent months, Lighthouse acquired more square footage within our building to strategize an increase in service capacity.

Then, Mental Health Services Act monies became available for nonprofit organizations to apply to receive. Lighthouse was aggressive in our pursuit of Mental Health dollars. We are so happy to share that we are in the process of increasing our counseling capacity for youth and adults who are experiencing depression and anxiety.

We are adopting evidenced-based counseling methods that are short-term but have proven effectiveness. Further, we will provide counseling services to children and adults who have experienced or witnessed trauma and we will be able to provide all of these services in both English and Spanish.

Last but not least, Lighthouse will work closely with Placer County Office of Education providing “Signs of Suicide” to classrooms of children and we will continue providing “Teaching Pro Social Skills” at school sites.

Lighthouse strives to be on the cutting edge of meeting the needs of the community and we are proud to have the staff and the resources necessary to increase our counseling capacity. The demand for these services is great and our desire is to provide free, accessible, quality services, particularly to those who could not otherwise receive such services.

The programs Lighthouse provide have a great impact on the community at large, helping to create a healthier, more productive community for all of us to thrive.

There is no shame in needing help but there is shame when a community cannot offer the help that many need.

To obtain services from Lighthouse, simply call 645-3300 or go to our website at


Angela Ponivas, M.S.W., is the Lighthouse Counseling & Family Resource Center’s executive director. Her phone is 645-3300; address is 427 A St., Suite 400; and Web site is