May 23 2010 12:00 AM

Silent auction features art created by young people in the program

Gateway Community Services will celebrate its 40th anniversary Monday with the same theme it expresses in its programs: a focus on the children.

The East Lansing-based non-profit organization will host a silent auction of artwork created by youth in its Violence Intervention & Prevention Project at Michigan Brewing Company at 5:30 p.m. Monday, May 24.

Gateway provides children and teens in the Lansing area with services like counseling, shelter and career help.

The main goal of the fundraiser, said board member Donald Rencher, is to generate awareness.

“We just want to bring light to our program and to Gateway Services,” Rencher said. “All the money is going to help us implement our programs for these kids; that’s all it’s for. We just don’t want these forgotten youth to remain forgotten. We want them to know that there’s someone out there to help them.

The children who participated in Gateway’s art project personalized masks and collages with pictures of faces to illustrate the negative and positive aspects of their lives. Each one comes with a bio written by the artist, describing himself or herself and explaining what went into the creation of the piece.

Creating these pieces is a catharsis for the children, said Rencher.

“A lot of these kids are frustrated right now and don’t believe anyone cares for them, and because of that, it’s hard for them to cope with the world. So if you give them a creative outlet and something to express themselves with, it can be a great help.”

Tickets can be ordered in advance or purchased at the door.