Bay Ridge

Guild for Exceptional Children salutes workers for helping disabled people

September 15, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Workers at the Guild for Exceptional Children were honored for their commitment to the developmentally disabled. Photo courtesy of the Guild
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A Bay Ridge-based social services agency that provides assistance to developmentally disabled people found a special way to take part in a nationwide salute to professionals who work hand in hand with the disabled.

The Guild for Exceptional Children (GEC) celebrated National Direct Support Professionals Week by hosting a reception at its headquarters at 260 68th St. on Sept. 11 to honor 14 workers who provide compassionate care to the children and adults enrolled in GEC programs.

National Direct Support Professionals Week was celebrated across the country from Sept. 10 to Sept. 16.

Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) are the first line of care for developmentally disabled individuals. They do everything from helping the disabled clients get dressed to showing them how to cross the street.

The staff members at GEC perform direct service work with clients, including all aspects of daily living skills, personal hygiene, meal preparation, academic skills, community participation, medication administration, behavior management programs and other duties directly affecting the quality of life of people with developmental disabilities, according to GEC officials.

The employees who were honored by GEC at the reception were: Ihssane Bahi, Kimberly Barger, Donna Estrada, Dawn Fox, William Freude, Hans-Gardy Isaac, Veronica Knights, Joanne Pellegrini, Noel Perez, Dalida Pierre, Tina Tate, Gina Walters, Monette Washington-Oden and Helen Fares.

“DSPs are everyday heroes to the people in their care,” GEC Executive Director Paul Cassone said in a statement. “They help them navigate life’s challenges, keeping them safe and helping them grow as they explore communities that interest them.”

GEC workers, according to Cassone, are “helping build better lives for the children and adults in our care.”

Established in 1958, GEC provides housing, education and job training services to developmentally disabled people as well as supportive services for their families.

GEC sponsors more than a dozen small group homes for adult clients in Brooklyn, including several in Bay Ridge.

“Since 1958, GEC’s mission has been to help children and adults living with development disabilities lead dignified and satisfying lives, reaching their fullest potential and assisting families in every step of their journey. Program participants directly depend on the GEC to provide residential care, education, jobs and a wide range of therapeutic services for their well being and improve their quality of life,” a statement issued by GEC reads.

For more information on GEC, visit


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