In 1970, Louis Hekius, a former Michigan State University Dean and professor, started Gateway Community Services. Originally known as the Drug Education Center, the organization was created with the intent of helping people with drug abuse, problem pregnancies, crisis therapy and family intervention. In 1974, Gateway changed its name and shifted its mission to focus on serving the unaccompanied runaway, homeless and at-risk youth. Executive Director Mark Morton said, “Obviously, youth who are at a ‘crossroads’ in their lives are an important potential community resource and youth who ultimately make the right choice can benefit the community and the country.” Gateway offers a variety of services for youth in the tri-county area. Every day they change the lives of adolescents and give them the motivation to move forward with their lives. Gateway’s 24-hour youth crisis hotline is an outlet for runaways and parents or friends who are concerned about an at-risk youth. The Gateway Transitional Living Program called “Crossroads,” caters to youth ages 16 to 21 and serves as a basic needs shelter for up to 21 months. Their program, designed for younger youth ages 12 to 17, strengthens the youth and their families with support and advocacy services. “Although our administrative offices are located in East Lansing, our shelter, the hub of the activities, is located elsewhere. We tend to think of ourselves as an organization that assists the tri-county area,” said Morton. In July of 2009, Gateway suffered the loss of long-time board member and dear friend, Kevin J. Moody. Moody donated countless hours to Gateway, serving on the board of directors and doing pro bono legal work for the organization. Morton explained, “As a tribute to Kevin, Gateway’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to rename the Crossroads shelter in his memory. The Kevin J. Moody Youth Home will now stand as a testament to Kevin’s life, and his spirit will continue to provide people with hope and encouragement.” Gateway is always in need of volunteers, interns, monetary and tangible goods donations and, of course, community support. Volunteers can participate in a variety of activities through Gateway including collecting supplies to give to youth on the streets and in the shelter, sponsoring youth during holidays, hosting a variety of food and clothing drives to contribute to the shelter and much more. Interested volunteers should contact the Gateway Community Services volunteer coordinator, Jennifer Cousineau, by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (517) 351-4000, extension 112. Visit their website at www.gatewayservices.org.
A senior at Michigan State University pursuing a career in communications and public relations, Danielle enjoys cooking, traveling and all Middle Eastern food.