YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Despite the pandemic, Gateway Industries opened up a new day program building in 2020, The Village by Gateways.
The agency, which serves adults with developmental disabilities in the Mahoning Valley, has been working on the nearly $2 million project, located in a former restaurant building it purchased on Tiffany South in Boardman, since before the pandemic started. The Village opened in September.
“We recognized a need in our community for an innovative day program option for individuals in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties,” says Kristie Rossi, day program director. The new facility features an indoor garden, theater, sensory room and technology room.
Gateways also operates The Galleria, in Niles. “This location was originally based on an open floor plan that encouraged free movement throughout,” Rossi says. “But with the new restrictions in place, this approach had to be altered.”
Gateways had to close its facilities, which also includes the main campus in Youngstown, for three months because of the pandemic, The staff and clients had to readjust when the buildings reopened in June.
“In an atmosphere where we once encouraged working together and socialization, we now had to teach social distance and staying divided into smaller groups,” Rossi says. “But our individuals are resilient. Just being back at the day program, you could see their smiles were even bigger now, although underneath their masks.