A street in Broken Arrow is being renamed to honor a local pioneer.
One mile of College St. in front of the Gatesway Foundation is now called Helen Gates Way.
In 1963, She started Gatesway for adults with developmental disabilities. It gives them opportunity to become successful by teaching them work, life and social skills. In the 1960's, adults with developmental disabilities were commonly institutionalized, so her contribution was monumental. "Fifty years ago, we were viewed by many as a brash newcomer pioneering a set of revolutionary concepts and approaches," Gatesway's CEO Judy Myers said. "Because of the success we have enjoyed, it's amazing how many of those concepts and approaches are now accepted as industry standards.
"It tears everybody up," Myers says. "People that really know her and knew how hard she worked - there's a lot of us folks still around - and I think it makes them sad she's not here, but happy for what we've done in 50 years."
"'We do things the Gates way,' quickly became a rally cry that reflected the level of innovation that has enabled the agency and its employees to touch the lives of more than 1,000 individuals and their families and, in the process, help write hundreds of success stories," Myers says.
Today, Gatesway offers group homes, care facilities and vocational training programs. They also sponsor the balloon festival.
The ceremony is part of Gatesway's 50th anniversary this year.
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