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Season’s Greetings!

On behalf of the entire Guild for Exceptional Children (GEC) community, the children and adults in our care, we wish you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season, and all the best in the New Year!

This year the GEC proudly celebrated 60 years of service, providing a better quality of life for children and adults living with developmental disabilities. The GEC was started as a grassroots organization in 1958 by courageous and determined parents who chose not to institutionalize their children, as was often advised at the time. Instead these parents took the road less traveled and wanted their children to be an active part of their families, and ultimately the community at large.

Now, 60 years later, we continue to keep their legacy alive, providing services to new generations of families in need. We could not do this without the generosity and support of our donors!



Artwork designed by Venus Gonzalez, GEC program participant - WOW (Without Walls)


Message from Frank Sena, Ph.D., President GEC Board of Directors

Please be part of the GEC 60th anniversary celebration. Sixty years ago the founders and patrons of the GEC labored tirelessly to leave us a priceless human legacy, an agency that derives no profit, but exists solely to lovingly care for those among us who cannot fully care for themselves.

Now it is time for us to leave our legacy for the following generations. Please join in that effort, add your names to the countless founders and supporters of the GEC who will be remembered sixty years hence, as those good people who kept the ideals of the GEC alive and well. To borrow from Winston Churchill’s eloquence, let us say that if the GEC and its programs last for another 60 years, let it be said that this was their finest hour!

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I thank you for all your generous support of our Year End Appeal and all you do to promote the efforts and ideals of the GEC.


Message from Paul Cassone, Executive Director/CEO

Your assistance makes a meaningful difference in the lives of the people in our care. They are at the center of our universe here at the GEC and your help allows us to go the extra mile to make their world safer and happier. Our shared struggle has helped “level the playing field” and has helped transform society’s perception of people with developmental disabilities.

  • Together, we have rescued generations of people from the horrors of places like Willowbrook State School.
  • Together, we have developed group homes and supported living arrangements in which our individuals can lead safe, dignified and fulfilling lives, participating in activities of their choosing and working, to the best of their abilities, at tasks that benefit the community at large.
  • Together, we have fought for the rights of those in our care and demanded respect for the direct support professionals who provide invaluable care.

On behalf of the individuals, families and staff of the GEC, I want to wish you Happy Holidays and a wonderful New Year. Through your support of the GEC, YOU help create positive change in this world and lift us all by helping us achieve our Mission of Building Brighter Futures for People Living with Developmental Disabilities 24/7, 365 days a year!


christmas party

GEC’s First Christmas Party circa 1958


Message from Joe Riley, Interim Acting Executive Director/CEO

The Guild for Exceptional Children is as fine an organization and as fine a charitable cause as one is likely to find these days. In the vast sea of worthy charitable causes, here is one that puts real value on the dignity and quality of life for people with special needs. At GEC we believe that every life is special, and every person deserves the opportunity to learn, grow, and be themselves, in a nurturing and empowering environment. We work with, care for, teach, and encourage people with special needs in programs for very young children, as well as for adults and the elderly in day service and residential settings. The many services we provide go beyond what we are funded for, and we depend on the kindness and generosity of donors like you to help keep these important programs going.

I am proud to be part of the family here at GEC and encourage you to consider joining our family as a supporter of our programs.

I wish you all happy and healthy holidays!


glee club

GEC Glee Club Performs at a Community Event (2017)


dannyA story with a happy ending...

In 2017, Danny moved into one of GEC’s residence. Prior to his coming to the GEC, Danny resided at a nursing and rehabilitation center in Coney Island. Unfortunately, Danny was placed there when his mother developed advanced Alzheimer’s disease and was unable to care for him. Separated from his mother and from the only home that he knew, Danny was alone and frightened when we first met him. His personal items had been stolen and he had developed pneumonia, and was subsequently hospitalized.

Danny’s father had suffered with polio at a young age and was now gravely ill. He was unable to care for Danny and he did not want Danny to return to the center, since he had no friends and received minimal services that would benefit a young man living with Down syndrome. His father had dreamed of getting his son into a loving group home, like those sponsored by GEC, but he did not have the ability to do so, as state funding for new group homes has been extremely limited over the past 10 years. Danny’s father reached out to the GEC for help.

GEC staff visited Danny on multiple occasions, and began the process of urging the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) to approve Danny’s movement to a GEC residence where an opening had become available, due to the passing of one of our residents. GEC staff worked with hospital staff to ensure discharge only to a suitable group home, given Danny’s needs.

Once OPWDD gave the GEC approval to have Danny transferred to our residence, his father began to weep uncontrollably. He shared with us that he would now be able to die peacefully- knowing that his son would have a safe and happy place to call home. In the past year and a half that Danny has been with the GEC, he has made great strides. Danny lost a considerable amount of weight which helped improve his ambulation greatly. He has made friends and he has blossomed socially. He now actively participates in recreational activities, and enjoys playing sports and cooking in his kitchen. Thanks to the loving care his receives from GEC staff and from the generous donations from GEC benefactors, Danny now lives a very full and meaningful life.

  • Charitable giving, and generosity of spirit can truly change the world - one life at a time. Danny is most certainly an example of that!

From all of us at the GEC, we offer our thanks and appreciation and wish you and your family the warmest wishes for the Holidays and New Year!


Frank Sena Ph.D President, Bd. of Directors. 


Paul Cassone Executive Director/CEO


Joseph Riley Acting Interim Exec. Director


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Other Giving Opportunities


Securities, Trusts and Real Estate

Donations in the form of: stocks, bonds, mutual funds, securities or real estate can offer the contributor a substantial tax benefit. Please consult with your tax advisor for current IRS rules and regulations.

Planned Giving

Planned gifts such as: gift annuities, deferred payment annuities and remainder annuity trust can offer the donor numerous tax benefits. The Development Department can provide information that would allow you and your tax consultant to choose a plan that meets your financial needs.

Wills & Bequests

The most important reason to have a will is to ensure that you are the one who decides how your estate will be divided. By remembering the GEC in your will, you will help perpetuate a legacy of care that has existed since 1958. If you already have a will, a codicil can be added. Please consult with your attorney.

Matching Gifts

To double or perhaps triple your donation, please inquire if your employer has a matching gift program. Please include with your donation, the matching gift form. The Development Department will complete the form and return it to your employer for processing. If you have any questions, please contact the Development Department at 718-833-6633 x 228.