Thursday night brought the return of the Faces of Gateway Gala in Winkler, a fundraiser for the organization which provides programs and services for adults living with an intellectual disability. The theme was celebrating growth and gratitude, and was reflected in the presentations throughout the evening.

"Gratitude, there's no other word to say," said C.E.O. Kim Nelson at the end of the night as she reflected on the first Gala since 2019. "I am truly amazed at the support we get from all of the community."

The evening's presentations included two from Gateway participants, one of them being Colleen Mourant. She has been part of the Supported Independent Living (SIL) program for about seven years, which provides a variety of supports from budgeting to meal making to job searching.

"It means so much to me to have that extra support, especially when it comes to my budget, and any other type of stuff I need help with," said Mourant. "So much freedom, and being able to live on your own, as well, kind of gives you that freedom."

Long-time participant Patsy Warf also spoke to the crowd, sharing her thoughts on the Senior Services program and what it's meant to her.

The evening was highlighted by the announcement of two major projects moving forward. The first being two new accessible homes being built in Winkler's North Point development for those transitioning from the Manitoba Developmental Centre (MDC) in Portage la Prairie. The MDC is currently in the midst of a three year plan where all remaining residents are being moved to community living, with the facility closing after that's completed. The second is a new combined Senior Activity program and Supported Independent Living building at the corner of Main Street and Peters in  Winkler which will provide more space for the seniors program, and also include a number of one bedroom, self-contained, suites on the second floor for SIL participants.

crowd seated in a banquet hallThe crowd at Thursday's Faces of Gateway Gala

The excitement surrounding those two projects was truly reflective of the growth and gratitude theme.

"There is not a simple sentence to say to express my gratitude," said Nelson. "The gratitude for the services we are able to offer, for the support we get, for the amazing staff that Gateway has and for the participants we support. I say it all the time, but they truly make my job a joy, and they truly teach me something new every single day."