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For general information, please email us or call 914-613-0700.

For employment opportunities, you can view our job openings online.

Internship opportunities are available. You can email us.

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To discuss other ways you can support The Guidance Center of Westchester, please email us.

What's Happening at
The Guidance Center of Westchester


Back to School Bash: New Date!

Same great party, new great day! Now on Oct. 24!!

Our annual Back to School Bash takes place 6:00 - 9:30 PM on Tuesday, October 24 at The Davenport Mansion (400 Davenport Avenue) in New Rochelle. You don't want to miss this night!

"The Back to School Bash is a great way to mingle with friends and celebrate the hard work of the youth and young adults from Mount Vernon and New Rochelle who participate in the Center for College & Careers," says Daniel Bonnet, deputy director for the Center for College & Careers. "This truly is a special and fun night, so come on out show your spirit." Attendees are encouraged to represent their favorite high school or college.

This year, the event welcomes Westchester Magazine as the media sponsor. Freshman level sponsors include The Support Center and Glen Island Harbour Club.

You can register for the event here

Look for more updates soon! Questions? Email us.

2017 Media Sponsor


PROS Registration Week

September 18th kicks off a special week for participants in our PROS (Personalized Recovery-Oriented Services). Registration week features a variety of demonstrations and activities every day.

“It’s an exciting and special week for our participants,” says Alicia Lore-Grachan, director for PROS. “Registration week not only gives participants the opportunity to choose which workshops and courses are best suited to help them reach their personal goals, but also a chance to try new things in a comfortable and familiar setting.”

Some of the special offerings include a career panel featuring program participants who are working, and a “Healthy Living through Gardening” session where participants will explore the physical and psychological benefits of gardening while learning how to grow herbs and vegetables in an apartment.

Keeping up with the enthusiasm for the music-related programs, there will be “Socialization and Stress Relief through Karaoke” and “Overcoming Anxiety through Musical Theater”.

PROS (Personalized Recovery-Oriented Services) helps participants who have serious mental illness achieve personal life goals through clinical treatment and psychosocial rehabilitation. Each year, more than 150 adults take part in TGCW’s program. You can arrange a visit by contacting us.


Family Days begin Sept. 10

The Guidance Center of Westchester (TGCW) invites families with 3-8 year-old children who are on the autism spectrum or who have other developmental delays to spend an afternoon at their Family Days. Family Days, which are offered at no cost to the participants, are held twice a month on Sundays from 2:00 – 4:00 PM at The Creative Learning Center in New Rochelle (new entrance at 17 Anderson Street). The 2017-18 session launches September 10.

“The great thing about Family Days is that our activities are facilitated by special education teachers and social workers who understand the needs of children with autism,” says Claudia Morales, BSW, the early childhood behavioral health specialist at TGCW who leads the program. “This helps ensure that the children and their family are having a positive experience.”

Ms. Morales goes on to explain that the program, which has been in place for a few years, has undergone a bit of a facelift, incorporating more of the activities which parents have requested for their children. This includes sensory play (water, sand, etc.), story time, and outdoor activities. Diet sensitive snacks are also provided. While the children are enjoying the activities, parents are able to talk with one another and build their network of support.

Along with Family Days, TGCW offers a free monthly parent/caregiver- support group (no children, please) on Friday mornings from 9:30-11:00 AM, as well as free individual or couples counseling. Parent support group begins September 15 and also takes place at The Creative Learning Center.

For additional information on Family Days, contact Claudia Morales, BSW, phone: 914-246-7879 (text messages welcome).

For additional information on the support group, contact Lydia Castro, MSW, 914-613-0700 x 7345 (this is an office phone and text messages cannot be received).

See the flyer here. Please note revised dates. 

This free program is funded in part by The Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) and The Guidance Center of Westchester.




Summer employment means more than money


“I came into this program thinking that it would just give me something to do for the summer while making money,” says Claudia Marcelin, a rising senior at New Rochelle High School.  “But, my experience …proved otherwise and completely exceeded my expectations.”

Ms. Marcelin is one of 25 young people from New Rochelle who took part in the Center for College & Careers Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). While SYEP exposes young people to the workforce and allows them to earn a paycheck, it also opens them to new and wonderful opportunities. 

Ms. Marcelin worked at TP Toys and Accessories on North Avenue in New Rochelle under the insightful watch of store owner Kemesha Salmon.  As Ms. Marcelin explains, “The lessons I learned weren't for some standardized test, it was for life – the real deal, and I will be forever grateful.”

Ms. Salmon herself is a first-time employer participant in the SYEP, and says that she found the experience rewarding. Having two youth workers was interesting as each came with different skills which benefitted the store. “Claudia hit it out of the park and back again with customer service, and D’shawana was excellent at organizing.” Ms. Salmon hopes that she helped the young women learn a bit more about themselves and where their interests lie so that they can make good choices about their future. “It doesn’t matter where you start or where you are today. That can all change.”

This year, 15 businesses, ranging from offices to restaurants to retail stores, opened their doors to the summer employees. Maureen Higgins, a job developer for The Guidance Center of Westchester, the agency which runs the Center for College & Careers, says that this was one of the most successful SYEP efforts to date, “This year, 11 of our participants were asked to continue on after the end of the program! We’re so excited for them and the businesses.”

The SYEP students received certificates and celebrated the completion of the program during a ceremony hosted by The Beechmont Tavern in New Rochelle. The Beechmont also had two SYEP participants.  You can see a video of the ceremony on TGCW’s Facebook page or view photos on Flickr (links at the end of the article).

TGCW thanks the local businesses who participated: Aging Issues Info; Allstate Insurance; Beechmont Tavern; Boys & Girls Club of New Rochelle (Mascaro Clubhouse); Freeman & Sons Home Improvement; Got Thyme; Human Society of Westchester at New Rochelle; iFix4U; New Rochelle Public Library; Our Closet; Patient Care Associates, Inc.; R Café & Tea Boutique; TP Toys and Accessories, Inc.; The WoodenSpoon; The Guidance Center of Westchester (Creative Learning Center; Operations; Human Resources).

SYEP is funded by the Westchester/Putnam Local Workforce Initiative.  

View the program booklet (pdf).

See the photos.

Watch the video on Facebook. You must be signed in to your Facebook account to view.


Who's ready for Pre-K?

So your child is going to Pre-Kindergarten! Now that we're in the midst of August, we can’t help but notice all of the “Back to School” paraphernalia in all of the stores! We get caught up in buying the latest character backpack for our children and making sure they have all the “stuff” they need. But, as the day gets closer, ask yourself if you’re ready for your child to go to Pre-K.  The answer should be “yes” because if we want our child to be ready, we need to be ready as well. 

How do you know you are ready?

  • Are you able to “let go of your child”? Do you need to have constant contact with your child?  Children can feel if you aren’t sure about the new school experience and will feel anxious and unsure as well. You must be confident in your parenting skills and your child’s ability to move onto the next developmental steps which is required by Pre-K.
  • Can you “trust” the teacher and other school staff with your child?   If need be, speak to your child’s teacher about your child’s schedule and routine, what they will be experiencing and what you can do to facilitate a successful entry into the Pre-K world. Ask if you can visit with your child ahead of the start date.
  • Do you allow your child to participate in group experiences such as recreational/library activities without you or without you hovering? Practice makes perfect! Let your child have play dates with trusted friends and get involved in a play group, recreational activity, etc. to let you both practice being apart.
  • When you are feeling anxious or sad do you have strategies to manage these feeling? As your child goes to Pre-K, you need to be able to deal with the feelings surrounding that. Find something to do while they are in school such as work, a class, or a volunteer opportunity. Connect with other parents who are going through or who have gone through the experience so that you can talk about your child growing more independent. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or depressed and it impacts your daily functioning reach out to a professional.

If you are ready, then what skills does your child need to be “ready”?

There are many different opinions as to what “ready” looks like…the majority of early childhood educators say they would like to see children who can speak their needs and feelings, get along with others, have the ability to take care of their physical needs (toileting, etc.) without help and sit still (Meisel 1999). Now a days, the focus on a child being socially and emotionally ready weigh more than knowing the ABC’s.

  • Your child should have enough language to express what they think, feel and need. Pre-K is a time when language development explodes. To help this develop, ask your child questions which require more than yes/no or simple choices as an answer. For example, instead of asking, “Do you want juice or milk?” rephrase the question to, “What would you like to drink?” This requires your child to come up with their own answer. Encourage your child to answer in full sentences. If he replies, “milk” ask him to use his words and say, “I would like milk to drink, please.”

    You can also play a game of “tell me without the word.” Instead of using the word, “milk,” ask your child describe what he would like, along the lines of: “I want white stuff that comes from cows!”
  • Children have to be emotionally ready for Pre-kindergarten. Separation is often an issue for children who haven’t had the opportunity to practice the skill of being without their parent. Let your child go to a friend or family member’s house for longer periods of time. Children need to learn that you will come back.
  • Emotional readiness for kindergarten also includes your child’s ability to hear “no, not now” without melting down. Again, this is a skill that can only be developed when it is practiced. Delayed gratification is an important life skill that should start to learn way before kindergarten.
  • Children need to be able to share adult attention. Pre-kindergarten is often the first time a child is expected to be in a group (as large as 18 children) and have to share the adults’ attention with so many others at the same time. As you can probably imagine, the more independent your child is the more successful they will be as part of their Pre-K community.

Remember, the staff at your child’s school can help you with any bumps in the road. In fact, establishing a positive working relationship with your child’s classroom staff will definitely help throughout the year, not just in the beginning.

Just remember to let your child go!

Written by Donna Morrison, deputy director for early childhood programs at The Guidance Center of Westchester. You can reach her here.