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Our Story

Our mission is to empower youth and young adults with the inspiration and the means to discover and sustain purpose, pride, and hope in themselves, their families and in the community.  

Clinical psychologist Dr. Gary Altheim founded Growth and Development Services, Inc. on November 8, 1996 to serve youth who faced burdens regarding mental health, family instability, and violence in their communities.

From its original site in Westchester County, NY and later in the South Bronx, GDS youth participants received vital therapeutic and recreational services. The year-long program continued into the summertime with Camp Excel.  The annual camp was an opportunity for urban youth to experience the calm and fresh air of upstate New York.

Today GDS serves a cohort of youth and their families who benefit from its essential supportive services and resources. The year-long after-school program continues with a summer session that includes individual, recreation and family counseling.

Over the last 18 years, GDS has equipped youth and families with the tools they need to excel and the opportunity to Reach Their Potential.  From its early days of empowering communities in Westchester County and the South Bronx; since 2002, GDS has found a home in the historic NYC Fort Washington Armory.

GDS participants are equipped with the inspiration and means to discover and sustain purpose, pride, and hope in themselves, their families and in the community.

Over the last 20 years, GDS has equipped youth and families with the tools they need to excel and the opportunity to Reach Their Potential.  From its early days of empowering communities in Westchester County and the South Bronx; since 2002, GDS has found a home in the historic NYC Fort Washington Armory.

Founded in 1996, Growth and Development Services (GDS) empowers youth challenged by social, educational, emotional and behavioral issues to Reach their Potential.

In 2002, GDS built out raw space in NYC’s Fort Washington Armory and developed a license agreement with the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to help bring most needed counseling, educational, arts, and advocacy programs to the Washington Heights/Inwood communities. Our program outcomes show that GDS’ multifaceted programs equip participants with the tools they need to be excellent leaders, succeed in college, and cope with life adversities.

Learn more on our programs page.

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