"My daughter, Danielle, is a high-functioning special needs child. She has a smile that can light up New York City. She is often called "The Mayor of Bay Ridge." Danielle has found a place in GEC that accepts her on all her strengths and not her weaknesses.

Anyone who has a special child knows the incredible calling it is as a parent to care for these children. From birth to adulthood, we are their voice, when the world has no place for them.

Imagine a place where your child walks in the front door, and from the Executive Director to the porter, they all greet your child by name. Every morning they look into Danielle's eyes and say, "Good morning, Danielle!" My daughter beams with joy, knowing that she belongs, and that she has another extended family."

-- Arlene Rutuelo

"Twenty-seven years ago we were blessed with our daughter Elizabeth, who has Down Syndrome. She is the youngest of our four children. Her brothers and sisters thought she was the most wonderful and beautiful baby they had ever seen. My husband and I agreed, but we also knew that the years ahead would not always be easy.

In September 2006, Elizabeth entered the Without Walls program at GEC. Each day would be spent at a different job site, where she would learn new skills and meet many wonderful people. She continues to come home every day with a sense of great accomplishment and tells us how hard she works and how much the people at each job site need her.

About a year and a half ago she started traveling independently to and from GEC on a city bus. This has been her greatest accomplishment of all, except for stopping at the deli each morning for her bagel and coffee.

My entire family will always be indebted to GEC. The staff and administration are dedicated to all the participants. They have patience and kindness beyond what we could have ever imagined or hoped for. Thank you to GEC for giving our daughter a future filled with endless possibilities."

-- Celeste and Frank Sena