From A Proud GDS Parent
A Proud Parent and Youth, with GDS Founder Dr. Gary Altheim
As a father born and raised in the tough Washington Heights community, I understand the peer pressure and struggles that come along the way for an adolescent. Our family is genuinely grateful for Dr. Gary and the service that the GDS program provides. The GDS program helped my 9 year old son Jedi mature socially, emotionally and academically. They have provided a comfort zone for our son where he can vent and express what he’s been feeling wether it be good or bad. I believe this is an important factor in a growing child’s life that is commonly neglected. The program also emphasizes in teaching children how to always “Reach Your Potential” which has helped my son stay focused. I grew up on programs like this one and it’s really sad to see that most of them have been shut down due to budget cuts. The GDS program is excellent for the community and we would love to see it reach its potential.
Proud Parent of a GDS Member
A thank you letter from a GDS teen from 2006-2011. “Everyone needs a place like this to help them out. It’s essential for life. I don’t know what or where I’d be without this place.”
Other GDS Excel Program Testimonials:“If it wasn’t for this program I wouldn’t be on the honor roll, have all these friends, and not even think about going away to college. You guys have saved my life!!!” –Ronnie, 5 years in the Excel Program “GDS is always there when I need it the most. There is always someone to talk to and help me.” –Miquelina, GDS Caretaker “Camp Excel, with its incredible group of campers, staff, and volunteers, opened its arms to me, treating me with warmth, kindness and acceptance. I can’t wait to have another opportunity to share in the amazing positive energy that is Camp Excel. It was a deeply moving experience and I thank everyone involved for allowing me to share in it.” –Blair, Camp Excel Lifeguard 2009 “I am Priscilla, I am 18 years old and I can proudly say that I am reaching my potential as much as I can. I mean, I’m in college. I never would have imagined being here right now. It wouldn’t have been my future without Camp Excel. I would have been no one without Camp.” –Priscilla, Alumni, 6 years in the Excel Program “Whenever I feel disconnected from my teens GDS allows and fosters open communication between us. GDS helps me be a better parent. I feel very respected as a parent, too.” –Maria, GDS Caretaker “While at Camp I have learned a lot of things that would come up in the ‘real world’. I learned what the consequences were of my actions and how to deal with my anger in a good way…right now I am having the happiest time of my life!” –GDS Teen “Dr. Gary I need to thank you, without GDS and Camp Excel, my daughter would most likely be failing out of school, pregnant, in a gang, and on the wrong road. Because of you creating GDS you gave her a second home, a place she can increase her self esteem and where she can learn in a safe, comfortable place…words could never express my gratitude to you” –GDS Parent “Last summer changed my life. I was amazed at the impact the Excel energy carries. I want to be part of this program again and again and to offer any help I can.” –GDS Volunteer “Maybe you should have named your organization Camp Miracle, because nothing short of a miracle can explain the change in the teen we sent to you last August.” –Mental Health Professional