What’s in a name? In our case, quite a lot! Read on to find out why.
The original impetus for the name was the biblical account in Acts 3 where the disciples stopped what they were doing and showed mercy, compassion and kindness to a disabled person outside the “Beautiful Gate” of the temple. While Beautiful Gate Center™ is not a 501(c)(3) religious organization, BGC founders Dave and Angela Muirhead, who are members of East Cooper Baptist Church, started from the position that all people – including all people with disabilities – are made in the image of God and are therefore worthy of respect, dignity, compassion and our investment in their lives. We believe that people with disabilities are indispensable members of our families, churches, businesses and community and should be afforded as many opportunities to flourish as any other person.
A second motivation for our name comes from the famous wrought iron gates that are found in the Charleston area. If you’ve never spent a day wandering the streets of the peninsula taking in the amazing iron work, gardens and homes of the historic district, you are truly missing out! Photographers from across the world come to photograph these amazing gates, including a few that reportedly date from before the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Many of the newer gates were built by one incredible blacksmith named Philip Simmons who is referred to as “the poet of ironwork” (see Philip Simmons Foundation).
Third, in history, gates have often been used as symbols. For us, the Beautiful Gate symbolize two things – protection and transition. We desire for BGC to be a place where children and youth who are vulnerable in many ways are protected and given an opportunity to learn and flourish. For some children, BGC may be a transition from a learning environment that did not produce developmentally meaningful progress, let alone happiness and flourishing. And we hope that, for some children, BGC will build the skills that eventually allow for a productive and successful transition to less restrictive, traditional learning environments.
Finally, if you look closely at our logo, you’ll notice that the fun and colorful confetti blowing through the gates is made up of an array of logos, symbols and artwork currently used within the disability and educational communities, as well as references to the beautiful weather, foliage and environment in the South Carolina region.