Gala Brings Attention to Foster Care Awareness Month

Tricia Hall
Sojourner’s Truth Reporter

The Gateway Youth Development Program held its second annual Gateway Gala on Saturday, May 1 at Ice Restaurant in downtown Toledo. The intimate celebration was attended by agency supporters who dined on various cuisine menu options provided by Ice Restaurant, received door prizes, participated in a raffle and enjoyed live jazz music performed by Arthur Bishop.

Executive Director KaTrice Perry opened the event with remarks and shared how a conversation held within a library was an inspiration to her work. “These gateway kids are my kids, there are so many statistics about foster care kids including homelessness or other negative stereotypes. However, it doesn’t address the causes and I wanted to create an alternative to foster care.”

The agency’s board vice chairman, who works in the nursing field, was initially invited to join the board via a LinkedIn conversation and now passionately supports the work of the agency and the executive director. “It’s an honor to serve in this role. KaTrice has been through so much but is a woman driven to help others. She’s also an inspiration for my daughter. I’m proud of our work,” said David Kissinger.

The gala also acknowledged a community partner who advocates for local youth leadership development. The 2021 honoree was the Mental Health & Recovery Services Board of Lucas County, and Delores Williams, the director of Health Equity, accepted the award on the agency’s behalf. “I recall our meeting with Gateway to discuss applying for mini-grants, they came with plenty of questions. Gateway has done exactly what they set out to do and that’s to engage our youth to reach better mental health outcomes. I hope to see Gateway reapplying in the coming years.”

The gala was organized to celebrate Foster Care Awareness Month. Gateway Youth Development was founded by KaTrice Perry on July 2, 2018. The agency is a supervised, transitional independent living program for youth ages 14-22 that are or were in foster care, juvenile justice custody, or those that are otherwise unprepared for adult life.

Gateway offers a safe, stable and supportive home environment that provides a variety of services to meet the mental, physical, social and educational needs of its residents. Gateway Youth Development Program offers a unique approach to target specific issues, such as substance abuse and youth homelessness, through programs that can prevent a variety of risk behaviors among young people while improving social and emotional outcomes.

At Gateway, the main objective is to reduce youth homelessness by providing long-term residential services to teach youth and young adults the skills necessary to live on their own independently as they transition from foster care, juvenile justice custody, or other residential settings, such as mentoring, academic support, employment programs and vocational training, career preparation, budget and financial management, health education, risk prevention, housing education, home management and a host of other life skills.

“I hope you all had a wonderful night. Thank you all for attending and I hope to see you at our grand opening of our new office located at 320 Madison Ave,” said Perry during closing remarks.