Brighter outcomes: Children do lighthouse grounds cleanup

Brighter outcomes:  Children do lighthouse grounds cleanup

A spring cleanup effort at the Dunkirk Lighthouse grounds happened recently.

The COPE Foundation 19 led a spring cleanup at the Dunkirk Lighthouse.

The foundation assists children who lost parents due to death, imprisonment or abandonment. “We got together a bunch of children and some of the parents to do a cleanup,” said Bill Matteson, COPE’s founder.

“We pay for their counseling and therapy — but we also want them to know hard work is part of what will make a better life,” he said of COPE’s kids.

“Mainly we got the sticks and debris off the whole property,” Matteson said. He spoke highly of the Lighthouse.

“I never went there until I met (manager) Dave (Briska),” he said. “When I went in there — holy crap. There is so much history in there. The education is amazing — and to know this is here in our own county.”

Briska mentioned that a few local Scouts came out to help, as well.

Matteson provided some background information about COPE.

“Our program provides professional trauma counseling to each child, we then provide them with the opportunity to participate in an activity of their choice to help them feel more confident and find new friends and be around more positive atmospheres,” he stated. “We host several annual events with the children, and their families participate. After one year of enrollment, we assess the development and achievements of each child.”

Matteson has a very personal reason for founding and running COPE Foundation 19.

“I lost my son, Justin Matteson, (in) January 2019,” he said. “I saw his children alone without a dad, which is what brought me to this mission. My son did not die in vain. His death has made me a stronger man.”

He concluded, “If you or anyone you know could use our services, please go to our website at”

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