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 2019-10-02
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos 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

Public poster series promotes healthy futures for LGBTQ and gender diverse youth 2019-10-11 - San Francisco, CA, October 11, 2019 — High levels of risk for LGBTQ adolescents for suicide, substance abuse, depression and victimization call for ...

Gay News

Boystown's Halloweek of Tricks leads up to Oct. 31 parade, spooky fun 2019-10-09 - Boystown brings you a full, seven-day Halloweek of tricks and treats. Culminating with the legendary Haunted Halsted Halloween Parade on Oct. 31, Northalsted ...

Gay News

Legacy Project's '[un]Gala' Oct. 10 2019-10-08 - "LANDMARK: The Legacy Project [un]Gala" will take place Thursday, Oct. 10, 5:30-8:30 p.m., at the Chez event space, 247 E. Ontario St. Celebrating ...

Gay News

MillerCoors presents checks to various LGBTQ organizations 2019-10-08 - On Sept. 30, MillerCoors presented checks to its LGBTQ nonprofit partners during a closing party at Lake View spot Sidetrack for the company's ...

Gay News

Study says revealing sexual orientation at work improves well-being 2019-10-07 - HOUSTON — ( Oct. 7, 2019 ) — Being open about your sexual orientation in the workplace is beneficial to your overall well-being, ...

Gay News

Thousands attend AIDS Run & Walk 2019-10-07 - For the second consecutive year, "Live True. Be You." was the theme of AIDS Foundation of Chicago's ( AFC ) AIDS Run & ...

Gay News

Lambda Legal names Kevin Jennings CEO 2019-10-07 - Lambda Legal's board of directors announced it has named Kevin Jennings, the founder of Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), as the ...

Gay News

Center on Halsted seeks to replace Walsh Security after community pressure 2019-10-05 - At an Oct. 5 press conference, Lighthouse Foundation ( LF ) Board President Rev. Jamie Frazier and colleagues—who had just left a meeting ...

Gay News

'Activists and Icons' to end Oct. 27 2019-10-05 - "Activists and Icons: The Photographs of Steve Schapiro," an exhibit at Skokie's Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, will close Sunday, Oct. 27. ...

Gay News

Political activist fair Oct.19 2019-10-02 - The group People Power Political Activists ( PPPA ) will hold its 3rd Annual Chicago Organizer Fair on Saturday, Oct. 19, 12-3 p.m., ...


Copyright © 2019 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 Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos 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.