Mission and Program Overview


   Empowering youth and families to Reach their Potential!

Growth and Development Services Inc. (GDS) was founded on November 8, 1996 to empower inner-city New York youth to make unprecedented life transformations by providing them with the inspiration and means to discover and sustain purpose, pride, and hope—in themselves, their families and in the community.

GDS provides essential support services to children and families in Upper Manhattan through its two current core programs:

  • Youth and Family Services, an after-school and personalized counseling program for children and youth facing emotional, behavioral, health, and social issues
  • Training Institute which equips youth workers and community members with the tools they need to work with at-risk youth and advocate in our community

Statistics prove that participants have improved mental health, social behavior, and academic standing after completion of GDS counseling services.  Over the course of its 18 years, GDS programs have helped transform the lives of more that 1,000 at-risk youth and families from some of the most under-served and vulnerable areas of the Bronx, Upper Manhattan, and Westchester. GDS has also trained over 500 youth workers since its inception.

GDS created a therapeutic and recreational model called  the Reach Your Potential (RYP) Model . The RYP Model is integral to the success of GDS programs. This comprehensive, multifaceted, therapeutic approach provides individuals and communities with tools to cope with life’s challenges and helps individuals transform their lives. The RYP model is used throughout GDS’ year-long services and taught through the Training Institute. The vision of GDS is to utilize the RYP Model to help individuals maximize their potential which in turn will make local communities a healthier and place to live.


Armory Build out

In 2002, GDS was constructed from a raw space in the NYC Fort Washington Armory located at 168th Street

group r

A YFP after-school group enjoys GDS’ beautiful Community Space, 2014


GDS Reach Your Potential Group, June 11, 2014

Our Future:

Because of GDS’ long history of providing youth mental health services, the David Lynch Foundation (DLF) recently selected GDS as a program partner to pioneer one of the first therapeutic after-school programs in New York City with Quiet Time. Combining Quiet Time with GDS’ proven approaches to mental health counseling will vastly improve the physical and mental health of participants and bring much-needed stress relief to schools and communities.

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