This information is a summary of an article which appeared in the April 2003 issue of PRISM’s Newsletter, Shaping the Journey Together, in recognition of the 20th anniversary of PRISM’s incorporation as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. We are sorry to note that Marty Gates has since passed away.
Special Feature: 20th Anniversary of PRISM’s Incorporation
In a word, Marty Gates is “inspiring.” In the hour or so we sat in my office for this interview, I felt so empowered to make a real difference I could hardly sit still. I didn’t want her to leave.
Gates believes that the best way to express the Gospel is to put it in action–to reach out to others in need and truly live your faith. In her position as SMC, Gates helped start a food shelf in St. Joseph’s garage, but from the very beginning, filling stomachs was never the ultimate goal.
She says, when someone comes to you needing food, you can either give them the food and they can walk out the door, or you can sit down and listen to them talk about their life. The Social Action Center, as it was then called, chose to sit and talk. The volunteers at the SAC were assigned as mentors to families, working with them on an ongoing basis until they were back on their feet. Even before PRISM was PRISM, the organization walked alongside families, offering support-based programs that encouraged self-sufficiency, PRISM’s mission to this day.
By 1972, the SAC had “gelled” into a solid organization that began to extend beyond the boundaries of St. Joseph’s Parish Community. There was “marvelous participation,” Gates says, from area churches, the Jewish Community Center and beyond. The SAC welcomed everyone, and everyone came forward. Thirty-one years later, PRISM continues to stick its neck out for people in need.
PRISM is indebted to the work of Marty Gates and to all of our donors and volunteers for joining us on the journey toward building stable families and a strong, caring community.