Staff and Interns


Growth and Development Services (GDS) is very proud of their incredible staff and volunteers.  The GDS team is comprised of highly qualified and committed professionals who are dedicated to our cause and the community. They have dedicated their careers to empowering teens, families and communities to Reach Their Potential.

 Thank you to all GDS Volunteers and Team Members 

18 Years of Transforming lives and helping our Community!



Some of our Amazing GDS Interns with Theonyl Cuevas, LCSW

The GDS Team 

Gary Altheim, Psy.D.
Founder/Director of Therapeutic Services

Theonyl Cuevas, LCSW
Director of Programs

Felica Kobylanksi
Development Consultant

Brian Lilly
Program Associate

Patricia Salgado
Development Associate

Kristina Olsson
Mental Health Counseling Intern

Ruth Keila Silverio
 Counseling Intern

Crista Ciano
 Counseling Intern

Luis Rosario
IT Coordinator

Stanley Jones
IT Technician

Ohave and Nehri


GDS Certified Therapy Dogs

Therapy Dog International


Pet-assisted Therapy Dogs

The GDS Team

GDS Volunteers


Dr. Gary 2

Gary R. Altheim, Founder

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Gary Altheim is a Clinical Psychologist and the Founder of Growth and Development Services, Inc. (GDS), a non-profit organization that provides therapeutic, recreational and training services.  GDS has two sites: GDS in Westchester focuses on the Training Services and GDS in Washington Heights serve clients through.Youth and Family Services and Training programs.

Prior to creating GDS in 1996, Dr. Altheim directed camps, created special needs programs, and practiced as a Child Clinical Psychologist in a variety of settings. He has worked in hospitals, sleep-away camps, foster care, community-based agencies and mental health clinics. In 1995, Dr. Altheim founded the first summer camp and program in Westchester County for children and families infected and/or affected by HIV/AIDS, Camp Viva.  It continues to thrive and a few years ago Altheim received an award for this accomplishment from Family Services of Westchester.

Dr. Altheim has extensive experience as a Trainer, Public Speaker and Clinical Psychologist. He specializes in recreational therapy and developmental clinical psychology. As director of GDS’s Training Institute, he conducts workshops on topics such as self-esteem, empowerment, peer pressure and bullying.  He is known best probably for his creation of The Reach Your Potential Model; a proven successful effective approach to working with youth and families. He trains mental health professionals, youth workers, camp counselors, and parents. Some of his clients are the American Red Cross, Fresh Air Fund, Inwood Leadership Academy, and the City University of New York.

Dr. Altheim has over 20 years of clinical experience providing individual, group and family psychotherapy for children, youth and families. He conducts pet-assisted therapy utilizing his 2 therapy dogs Ohave and Nehri. He is also a first responder, photographer, poet and published author.

He is currently working on his photo therapy book on how to reach your potential in all areas of life. How to Reach Your Potential as a Youth Worker, How to Reach Your Potential through Community Advocacy, and many other books on maximizing our potential through lifes joys and challenges.

Dr. Altheim earned his BA in Sociology from the University of Maryland and holds a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Yeshiva University. He currently resides in South Salem, New York with his partner.



Theonyl Cuevas, LCSW

Director of Programs

Theonyl A. Cuevas is a licensed New York clinical social worker and has more than 15 years of experience in the field. She joined Growth and Development Services in 2010 as the Director of Programs. In this capacity, Ms. Cuevas coordinates all administrative, human resources and financial aspects of the agency. Additionally, she provides direct counseling services to GDS’s young and adult clients, inclusive of individual group and pet-assisted therapy. She also supervises mental health counseling and social work students interning for the organization. Under GDS Training Institute, she provides workshops in an array of topics.

Prior to working for GDS, Ms. Cuevas had focused strongly in the HIV/AIDS and substance abuse fields, both as a therapist and as an administrator. She has been committed to improving standards of care for pediatrics and adults patients by implementing program policies and enhancing quality assurance practices.  As an advocate, Ms. Cuevas also joined the efforts of the New Jersey, Hudson County Planning Council in securing funding and in enhancing overall services in the HIV/AIDS and substance abuse fields. She holds a BA in Psychology and Spanish from Rutgers University, NJ.  and a MA in Social Work from Rutgers Graduate School of Social Work, NJ.


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