Helen Gates, the founder of the Gatesway Foundation, was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1912. She had a large, loving family and said one of her best memories from childhood was the whole family gathered around the piano and singing.
When she was twenty, she married a man who worked on the island of Aruba and lived there for the first eight years of her marriage. This allowed her to travel a great deal and meet people from many different parts of the world. During this time, she gave birth to her first child, Ronald (Ronnie) Lee Gates, in 1933. It is often said that a mother's love knows no bounds. But Helen Gates exemplified this sentiment. While they knew Ronnie was different, it wasn't until years later that doctors in New York diagnosed him with Down Syndrome.
Gatesway: In the Beginning
Over time, Helen began to create a network of parents and families facing the same problems in an unfair world to those with disabilities. In 1963, she secured land and funding to open the doors of what would become Gatesway Foundation. At a time when individuals like Ronnie Gates were still disconnected from society, Gatesway Foundation increased opportunities for many families and their loved ones to have a better life. In 1966 the home was incorporated as a non-profit foundation with a board of directors. This paved the way for the foundation to receive help from volunteers, and people began to help through charitable donations.
Gatesway: Into the Future
Today, Gatesway is one of the largest providers of residential services supporting adults with intellectual disabilities in Oklahoma. Our mission is to encourage independence and provide opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities that will enable them to live and work in the community while also improving their quality of life. As the oldest and largest non-profit provider of these services in the Tulsa metropolitan area, we understand how critical our mission is.
Get involved! Could this be part of your destiny?
Gatesway is excited to welcome aboard those who are willing to accept the responsibility of sharing in the fulfilment of Mrs. Gates’ vision by creating a culture conducive to fostering top notch service towards mental, emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual wholeness through excellence to those in need.
…. with the adage in mind, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”