Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-08-05
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Feigenholtz, Harris honored at Gateway Foundation event.
by Carrie Maxwell

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Illinois state Reps. Sara Feigenholtz and Greg Harris were honored at the Gateway Foundation's ( Gateway ) National Recovery Month fundraising event for addiction treatment, "Illuminating Recovery," Sept. 18 at Venue West.

The event also celebrated the LGBTQ-only Out in Recovery residential program opening Oct. 11. The program will be housed at Gateway Foundation Lake Villa.

Gateway has provided substance abuse treatment for adults, adolescents and people with co-occurring mental health issues for more than five decades. Since its founding, more than 1 million clients have graduated from its programs across the country.

WGN Radio's Extension 720 host Justin Kaufmann emceed. He spoke to the 250 attendees about the tremendous feedback he received when the WGN documentary Gateway and Their Stories was released a few months ago.

Gateway Development Committee Chair Liz Ogilvie-Simer said this was the first ever Illuminating Recovery event in honor of National Recovery Month and the second event of its kind.

"Our hope is this will become an annual gathering for advocates and champions to bring the reality of a life of recovery to all who need it," said Ogilvie-Simer.

Illinois Department of Human Services ( IDHS ) Secretary Grace Hou spoke about the partnerships IDHS has had with community providers like Gateway throughout the years, adding how happy she was to be at this event where Feigenholtz and Harris were being honored for their outspoken work to increase treatment access for the most vulnerable residents of the state.

While presenting Harris and Feigenholtz with their awards, Gateway's Strategic Partnerships and Engagement Vice President Dr. Teresa Tere Garate spoke about the breadth of their work on causes that have increased access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment for every Illinoisan.

"Through their personal stories and triumphs they have inspired and motivated all of us to become better," said Garate. "They have personally taught me how to fight for what is right, champion a cause and illuminate the way for change. I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to learn from them and work alongside them, sometimes in very difficult situations."

"Still today, people are struggling to get access to the care they need for mental health and substance abuse issues," said Harris. "As somebody who is duly diagnosed with both I have been very fortunate to be able to have access to care in a place that was convenient and culturally appropriate to me and where insurance actually paid the cost, but that is not the reality for a lot of folks. … We are very grateful [for the work Gateway does to increase access.]"

Harris spoke about a recent Chicago Sun-Times article in which he shared his mental health and substance use story and the amount of people who approached him and said they could not believe he would talk about it in public because it would threaten his job. He said it surprised him that in 2019 about half of the people expressed this opinion and added there is a lot of work to be done to reduce the stigma that comes from talking about one's recovery.

Feigenholtz mentioned how lucky she feels Illinois is to have a majority leader ( Harris ) who has had this recovery experience and is willing to be open about it—adding that there have been political leaders who did not want to address substance abuse issues or talk about mental illness, although that has changed in recent years, she stated. Feigenholtz called on everyone to continue to do this work to help as many people possible on the road to recovery.

Gateway President/CEO Dr. Tom Britton said the organization's mission is "to provide the most effective and compassionate care for those who suffer from addiction and mental illness. We make a commitment each day to save and transform lives."

Britton reminded attendees that, at last year's event, he urged people to get angry about the amount of people lost to addiction. He said that the same amount of people died in the last 12 months as the previous 12 months. Britton added that, since last year, Gateway has served 36,493 people across the country; and, due to the support they have received over the past two years, the number of people it serves each day has increased from 6,000 to 10,000—and will grow to 12,000 people next June.

In terms of Gateway's initiatives, Britton said it has made changes to improve outcomes, including the new LGBTQ program in Lake Villa, among others.

Britton also told his story about being a recovering addict and how fortunate he was to have the resources to battle this illness. He spoke about the day he surrendered to someone else to get the help he needed and how much Gateway assisted him in that recovery.

"The magic of recovery is one person helping another person," said Britton.

Desiree Gruber—whose self-taught musician and songwriter son, Benjamin Trey Gruber, died of an opioid overdose Sept. 12, 2017, at age 26—spoke about her son's struggle with addiction, migraines, panic attacks and depression as well as his musical talent, love of animals, skateboarding and go-carting.

"I have heard it said that the very best way to honor someone no longer with us is to become like their best parts," said Gruber. "Trey's best parts were his empathy, giving nature and his music."

Gruber said that the proceeds from her son's only album, Herculean House of Cards, will be donated to Gateway, where he stayed for treatment and led to his longest stint of sobriety; and called on attendees to match that donation of $1,800, which they exceeded that evening.

The evening also featured music by the Jam Alker Band;, a video highlighting the work the Gateway Foundation does and testimonials from their clients, some of whom identified as members of the LGBTQ community; and a live auction that Collaboraction Theatre Company Artistic Director Anthony Moseley hosted. The event raised more than $140,000 from both auctions and ticket sales combined.

See .

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Gerber/Hart fall benefit Sept. 12-13 2020-08-08 - The Gerber/Hart Library and Archives fall benefit—"Saving LGBTQ History: Archives in a Time of Activism"—will take place Sept. 12-13 at the venue, 6500 ...

Gay News

WERQ! LGBTQ Job Fair on Sept. 18 2020-08-07 - Center on Halsted and Brave Space Alliance will hold the annual WERQ! LGBTQ Job Fair on Friday, Sept. 18, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at ...

Gay News

HRC Foundation, HIT release study on voters of color, voting by mail 2020-08-06 - The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) Foundation and HIT Strategies released the first results of a national survey of voters of color, ...

Gay News

Holocaust Museum's virtual soiree Sept. 2 2020-08-06 - On Wed., Sept. 2, Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center's Women's Leadership Committee will host its annual soirée virtually. The event will stream ...

Gay News

Virtual OPALGA+ scholarship gala slated for Oct. 24 2020-08-06 - OPALGA+/Oak Park Area Lesbian & Gay Association will hold a virtual scholarship gala Saturday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m. The event will feature ...

Gay News

Restorative juvenile courts coming to Avondale, Englewood 2020-08-05 - The Circuit Court of Cook County is set to launch its latest effort to address nonviolent crime and prevent recidivism with the opening ...

Gay News

Fellowship for local Black theater artists announced 2020-08-05 - The League of Chicago Theatres announced The Samuel G. Roberson Jr. Resident Fellowship, a grant to fund a residency for early to mid-career ...

Gay News

People sought for LGBTQ South Side needs assessment survey 2020-08-04 - Pride Action Tank ( PAT ) is seeking input on people's needs, inspirations and preferences through an anonymous needs assessment survey. Completing ...

Gay News

Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame announces 2020 inductees, virtual ceremony 2020-08-03 - The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame was founded in 1991 to honor people and entities, nominated by the community, who have made significant ...

Gay News

MOVIES Reeling taking place virtually Sept. 24-Oct. 4 2020-07-31 - The 38th edition of Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival will be held as an online virtual event from Sept. 24-Oct. 4. ...


Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.