Penikese is a Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH)-licensed residential program for adolescent boys struggling with substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders. Situated on a scenic, undeveloped 76-acre island in Buzzard’s Bay, Penikese has provided a completely unique treatment setting and therapeutic program for boys since 1973.
Highly-trained staff (including licensed counselors, educational instructors and medical professionals) reside with the boys during their stay on the island. Staff and boys share an enhanced version of the simple 19th century lifestyle, with wood burning stoves, gas lamps (complemented by modern LEDs for safety) and cooking done on a huge, ancient wood-fired stove. Removed from contemporary conveniences and distractions, and supported by a high staff ratio, boys on Penikese are able to focus on recovery, healing, and developing trusting relationships. Daily therapy, school time and skills training go hand-in-hand with cooperative community living to instill important cause-and-effect lessons. The magic of our maritime setting is yet another ingredient promoting transformation; the island milieu provides a free, yet secure, and controlled environment with endless opportunity for discovery.
The Penikese Board of Directors is delighted with the success of our first phase in the launching of the new program redesigned to address substance abuse. Recent months have seen approval of our new DPH license, the arrival of recovering teenage boys on the island, and grateful families transformed by the Penikese experience. The island facilities are bright and freshly renovated. We have come to know a remarkable cadre of professional staff who themselves have become enamored of Penikese.
Entering 2015, we are focusing on the next phase of program development: bringing Penikese to a wider audience of youth and families in need of healing. As we move forward and begin to work with a new management partner to expand outreach and enrollment, we will make news available to referral sources and our loyal Penikese friends on this website.
Penikese is not currently accepting referrals for the winter season. We anticipate availability for the next island placements in Spring of 2015.
Until you are able to journey to Penikese in-person, please take a virtual visit via our website.
A non-profit, short term residential treatment program for boys, ages 14 to 17, with substance use issues coupled with “internalizing” mental health challenges – anxiety, mood, attachment and trauma.