Representatives from the State Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, the Oklahoma Alliance for Recovery Residences (OKARR), along with the founder and CEO of Get Help, toured Lifegate Freedom Recovery Ministries, Thursday, March 2nd.
The Oklahoma Alliance for Recovery Residences certifies recovery housing and the purpose of the visit was to see for themselves the work that Founder and Director of Life Gate, Kevin Day, his wife, Sue, and the staff are doing in the field of addiction recovery, in order to establish the gold standard for residential recovery programs in the State of Oklahoma and, perhaps, in the Nation.
Suzanne Williams, Director of Recovery Support, Employment, and Housing for the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services said:
“We have never been here, but Kevin is OKARR certified, and that is through a State affiliate of NARR (National Alliance of Recovery Residences), he does amazing work with men in recovery, so we are excited to see what he is doing. Also, to show our federal partners with Get Help, who are working with us on a bed registry.”
Ms. Williams explained that prior to 2019 there was no accreditation for residential recovery programs in the state of Oklahoma.
“In 2019, we did an environmental scan to see what recovery housing looked like in the state of Oklahoma, and then requested that the National Alliance of Recovery Residences bring in a state affiliate to certify recovery housing, to make it more professional, to make sure Oklahomans were taken care of in an appropriate place.”
Williams said that subsequently, OKARR was launched in January 2020 and began certifying recovery housing. “Anybody can go onto the website and find safe recovery housing that is appropriate and evidenced-based for their loved ones or themselves if they have a history of substance abuse.”
Ms. Williams was quick to point out that Lifegate was one of the first facilities to be certified and is currently a Level II facility and working on becoming a Level III facility. She explained that each level represents the amount of “wraparound” services provided, such as educational programs, employment, and mental health services.
Founder Kevin Day began the tour of the 50-acre campus by showing visitors the garage which serves as a food pantry, then led the group to the dorms. There are different types of dorms depending on what stage of the program the resident is in. The first dorms that were shown resemble a military barracks with laundry, storage, and bathroom facilities. The next type of dorm is somewhat more private with walls, similar to an office cubicle. The next category of dorm has individual rooms, and the “Graduate House”, which only holds three men, is where men who have graduated from the program but opt to live on campus. Day pointed out there were several residents living in other dorms who had graduated, but there was no room in graduate housing.
The next stop was the chapel where there was a rec room and classrooms where men learn spiritual development, and life skills such as personal finances.
When asked what services Get Help provides, founder, CEO and licensed Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Tony Greco replied, “We provide organizational software to homeless shelters and recovery residences to manage their clients, as well as gather client outcome data to seek state and federal funding. I use technology in order to facilitate relationships and facilitate gathering outcomes and access to services for people.”
The tour ended in the kitchen where lunch was then served after a brief prayer, to visitors and staff.
Lifegate houses 50 men at its campus on 153rd West Avenue, yet impressively, every dorm, bathroom, storage area, and laundry room was neat, well-organized and sparkling clean. This is a testament to the hard work of Day and his staff and the cooperation of residents. The state agency and the non-profit were equally impressed with the Lifegate program and the campus.
The Sapulpa Herald asked Amanda Coldiron, Director of OKARR, what she thought of Lifegate recovery. ”I think it is amazing, it is one of our diamonds in the State,” she said, “They do a fantastic job providing recovery support.”
It should be noted that Kevin and Sue Day were recipients of the 2022 Bridge Builder Award given by OKARR.
Lifegate Recovery is a six-stage, Christian-based 12-step program that is completed in seven months.
Lifegate’s mission statement as laid out by Kevin Day on their website is quite clear:
“LifeGate Freedom is a faith based sober living program whose purpose is to heal, restore, and support individuals and their families with life controlling addictions. We believe the solution to addiction is found in Jesus Christ. We teach, counsel, and mentor according to Christian principles.”
Lifegate operates without State funding and relies primarily on donations. The rent paid by residents, private and corporate donations, along with their fireworks stands.
Anybody wishing to contribute to this worthy endeavor may go to www.lifegatefreedom.com.