Progression Through Gateway

Every boy enters Gateway with his own unique experiences, background and beliefs. Thus, his experience is marked by two guideposts:  the individual he is now; and the individual he is capable of becoming.


We begin by taking an in-depth assessment of the assets, talents and strengths a student has already. By tapping into his natural assets, and building upon them, Gateway assists each student to develop other essential competencies such as resilience, social facility, and belief in the future.

These are the developmental assets that help a boy sustain positive attitudes and protect him from making unhealthy choices or engaging in negative and risky behaviors. 

“Developmental strengths in the person, such as social competencies or positive identity, work together with developmental strengths outside the person in her or his various contexts to promote developmental well-being and thriving.”

– The Search Institute

Courtesy of Search Institute

For more about the research supporting these 40 developmental assets, we invite you to visit the  Search Institute, a leading innovator in discovering what children and adolescents need to succeed in their families, schools, and communities.

Community Connection

Gateway is purposely located in an urban community to ensure our students have access to opportunities to develop their external assets. Through participation in community-based activities and service our students learn how to connect, access resources, and contribute to the community they live in. As a result, each student develops skills they can take home to their own neighborhood to establish value and connection.  


Young men move through the Gateway program phases at their own pace. As boys progress through each phase they develop insight into self-defeating patterns, learn to overcome maladaptive thoughts and behaviors, and develop enhanced feelings of self worth, purpose and connection.

The Gateway Five Phase Approach is:
  • Orientation: Getting Orientated and Building Trust
  • Mapping: Awareness and Self Exploration
  • Cairns: Understanding Self-Defeating Patterns and Practicing
    Coping Skills
  • Path: Clarifying Core Beliefs and Preparing for the Future
  • Gateway: Entering Your Future Prepared to Succeed

Each phase includes concrete tasks, responsibilities, and challenges that a student must address in order to advance.  Thus, all students, their families, educational consultants, and treatment team members have a common language with which to communicate about treatment goals and progress.  

Some of these tasks are fundamental to every student, regardless of his level of functioning or diagnosis.  Others are more specific and individualized, taking into account each student's starting place upon admission as well as his fundamental capabilities.

"Phase advancement" is not the actual goal.  Rather, taking a phased approach serves to supply the student and his treatment team with a way to divide up treatment objectives into smaller, more manageable parts.  

Instead of feeling overwhelmed by several months of treatment in front of him, a student can focus on what he can do each day towards the achievement of his goal of phase advancement.  Each phase brings with it certain privileges that are meaningful to each student, helping to motivate him through challenging times.