Gateway Center To Host Open House Friday

On Friday, discover all the services and activities available at The Gateway Center.

An open house will be happening at The Gateway Center, 31 Water St., from 3-6 p.m. There will be guided tours every 30 minutes; free food and drink; activities for children like a bounce house and balloon animals; BMX bike and skateboard demonstrations in the indoor park; carriage rides around the building along the river; and opportunity to talk with the executive directors and board members of The Gateway Center organizations.

The Gateway Center is the home to the St. Susan Center; Community Helping Hands; Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES adult education programs; Love INC; Food Bank of Western New York; Family Ties/Mental Health Association; United Christian Advocacy Network; Housing Options Made Easy; His Way Archers; and Gateway Youth & Family Center.

Sue Colwell, St. Susan Center executive director, said this will be the first open house hosted by the agencies at the center. The Gateway Center, formerly an abandoned factory building, was restored several years ago to serve as a center that houses several ministries and organizations that provide help to those in need. The agencies housed in the Gateway Center make a difference in the lives of hundreds of people on a daily basis. Often these agencies work together to help individuals and families during a time of crisis.

“There are so many different places reaching out and a lot of people that don’t know about what each one does. That is the main purpose of the open house,” Colwell said.

Colwell said there will be plenty of information available on what each organization can do to help the community. The goal of the open house is to better inform the public.

“The big thing is sometimes people call the St. Susan Center thinking we are the whole building or we run the whole building, but there are so many different agencies down here,” she said. “People don’t know enough about each one. There is a lot to offer people who have need, and there are a lot of volunteer opportunities within The Gateway Center.”

The Rev. Amy Rohler, Community Helping Hands executive director, said she feels people will be surprised by all the activities at the center.

“There is a BMX and skate park. There will be carriage rides around the building along the river. There will be activities for kids like balloon animals and a bouncy house,” she said. “People can do some informal networking with the directors and board members. They can do some connecting and collaborating.”

Rohler said she believes the open house at The Gateway Center is finally happening because of a tour given to County Executive Vince Horrigan after he took office at the beginning of the year. Rohler said Horrigan seemed impressed with all of the organizations and what they provide.

“I don’t think he had any idea about all that was down here,” Rohler said. “I think the conversation he had with Sue (Colwell) was how to find an opportunity so others have the same experience (that Horrigan did).”

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