Celebrating 60 years of excellence with a pair of events.
The Guild for Exceptional Children (GEC), a non-profit organization that helps people with developmental disabilities lead satisfying lives, recently held two events, one of which provided a fundraising aspect and another which recognized 17 exceptional employees.
On Thursday, September 13, Keynovation Team and Keller Williams Realty held a special fundraiser and party to benefit the GEC at 9201 Fourth Avenue.
Jean Paul Israel, the organizer of the event and a real estate salesperson for Keller Williams, told this paper, “It’s a very humbling experience and one of the reasons it’s close to my heart is because my nephew has Down Syndrome. He’s four years old now. Thanks to organizations such as the Guild, he’s able to grow up in the community and integrate well with other children. It’s a nice celebration of joy and I get a chance to give back.”
All the funds raised went to the GEC.
President of the Guild’s Board of Directors Frank Sena expressed his gratitude.
“The Guild is partially funded by the state and federal government but they only fund the minimum,” he said. “What you do for us enables us to fund the extras, like recreation, those quality-of-life things we otherwise wouldn’t be able to do. You also enable us to take care of our people when they’re hospitalized. The work you do enables us to provide care for our people when they need it. We are eternally grateful.
The following day, on Friday, September 14, GEC held its annual Employee Recognition Award Ceremony at the main building, 260 68th Street where Direct Service Professionals (DSPs) and other employees were honored.
“I know and appreciate all the many things you bring to this job every day and I know it’s not for a money,” said Associate Executive Director for Business Operations Joseph Riley. “DSPs and staff are the backbone of services that are provided to people with special needs. Nothing else happens if you guys aren’t there or giving from the heart to the people that you serve. Those being honored today, you are the best of the best. You have shown continually you are willing to give everything for the people that we care for and willing to give your heart and be there where they need you.”
Riley noted that he had started at GEC as a DSP.
“It was supposed to be a temp job for me,” he added.” I was going to do it for a year or two and then move on to something else. I fell in love with the work and the people that we serve, and I also found a colony of like-minded people, people who believed in service, people who believe in doing for others and doing something meaningful with their lives, and that really hasn’t changed here at GEC after all those years.”
“It’s always an honor to be here on staff recognition day for those people who work so hard,” remarked Assemblymember Peter Abbate, who was on hand to congratulate the awardees. “The Guild is the pinnacle of what is going on, the shining light of all organizations that do this work.”