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Proven Success

The Need

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.

Proven Success

GDS has served inner city youth for over twenty years. Through various incarnations and programs, GDS has provided countless resources, services and support.



Program outcomes/surveys (2014-2016) indicate that the Excel Program equips participants with the tools they need to cope with school, work, and life.


Results indicated:


  • 100% of youth participants reported being self-aware and had improved communication skills
  • 100% had a better understanding of self-advocacy
  • 100% of participants want to return to the program
  • 100% had a better understanding of advocacy and community issues
  • 93% of GDS participants go on to college and/or become employed
  • 94% of parents report increased harmony and improved relations at home


With years of proven success, the newly enhanced Excel Program is well on course to continue to provide necessary resources, tools, and counseling to youth from Washington Heights and similar marginalized communities.

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