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Access: Supports for Living Inc. and The Guidance Center of Westchester, Inc. Announce Affiliation

The combined organization will provide support to over 16,000 people annually across the Hudson Valley region

Middletown, NY – Access: Supports for Living Inc. President and CEO Ron Colavito and The Guidance Center of Westchester (TGCW) CEO Amy Gelles, together with their Boards of Directors, today announced that TGCW will become an affiliate of Access. 

The agencies will serve a combined 16,000 adults and children in Orange, Westchester, Dutchess, Ulster, Sullivan, Rockland, Putnam, Columbia, and Greene Counties. 

“Independently, Access and The Guidance Center are strong, well-established agencies,” said Colavito.  “The collective experience, expertise, and resources will only benefit the thousands of adults, teens and children we serve each year and the dedicated teams who provide treatment and support.”

“Access and The Guidance Center are great partners,” said Gelles.  “The alignment of our work, as well as our missions and values will create an affiliation where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Both Access and The Guidance Center provide services for adults, teens, and children licensed or overseen by the New York State Office of Mental Health, the New York State Office of Addiction Supports and Services, the New York State Office of Children and Families, and the New York State Department of Health, as well as employment and vocational supports through Acces-VR.

Ron Colavito will hold dual roles as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Access and President of The Guidance Center, and Amy Gelles will continue in her role as Chief Executive Officer of The Guidance Center.  Administrative functions will be shared across agencies, as well as some program oversight, while the majority of staff will continue to work for the respective agencies. 

Under the affiliation, The Guidance Center will become part of the Access system.  Members of The Guidance Center Board of Directors will join the Access Board of Directors, and the organizations will have identical boards.  Similarly, some current members of The Guidance Center Board of Directors will join the Access: Supports for Living Foundation Board of Directors and continue to support the agencies’ work.   This will be augmented by the creation of a Westchester Community Leadership Council comprised of former TGCW board members and other business and community leaders who will work to broaden and support fundraising, programs, brand awareness, and relationship development.

Thomas Buchanan, Chairperson of the Access: Supports for Living Board of Directors, said, “Fundamentally, this affiliation will drive down the administrative cost of providing services so that more of the scarce dollars that exist go directly to programs supporting individuals and families in our communities.  The Guidance Center’s commitment to and reputation for providing high quality services is undeniable, and I know this affiliation will only serve to strengthen two already-strong providers and benefit Hudson Valley residents.”

“While our focus is always on the people we’re supporting, we have a responsibility to also keep an eye to the future,” said Mitzi Ambrose-Washington, Chairperson of The Guidance Center Board of Directors.  “I am proud of The Guidance Center’s work, and I have every confidence that with Access, the supports so many rely on to live full, healthy lives will continue to grow and serve even more people.  Access’s commitment to innovation and its entrepreneurial spirit are the right complements to The Guidance Center and will make for a strong, productive organization for generations to come.”

Headquartered in Middletown, New York, Access was founded in 1963 and today, is a nearly $100 million non-profit organization with over 1,500 employees, including hundreds with disabilities.  It is mission-driven to help people live the healthiest and fullest lives possible.  In addition to mental health and substance use treatment and services for children and families, Access is a provider of residential and community-based supports for adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, licensed by the New York State Office for People with Development Disabilities, including Self-Direction. 

The Guidance Center was founded in 1942 and today, is a nearly $22 million non -profit organization with over 200 employees and operates, primarily, in Southern Westchester County.  TGCW provides mental health, housing, care management, vocational support and substance use treatment along with a range of services for children and youth, including integrated early childhood programs and college and career prep.

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