Communities faced with poverty, poor education and unmet socio-emotional issues in the Upper Manhattan/Bronx areas, i.e. high rates of suicide, homelessness, violence and substance abuse, have a dire need for educational, therapeutic, arts and recreational services.
Program participants reside in some of the toughest neighborhoods in New York City:
- 55% graduation rate at the local high school in Washington Heights
- 14% of seniors at the local high school are college-ready
- 9% of low-income students graduate from college
- Mental health services are scarce
- Opportunities to learn are extremely limited
All of these factors put youth at risk for going down an unhealthy road in life and highlight the need for therapeutic and educational programs. GDS provides a safe, educational and fun environment, which fosters positive youth development and community engagement.