Gifford Youth Achievement Center sheds “Lights on Afterschool” programs

news release

Back row: Indian River County Commissioners Peter O’ Bryan, Susan Adams, Joe Flescher and Tim Zorc; County Attorney Dylan Reingold; and County Administrator Jason Brown Front row: Antoine Jennings, Crossover Missioner Chief Operating Officer; Angelia Perry, GYAC Executive Director; Freddie Woolfork, GYAC Director of Facilities Operations and Public Relations; Cathy De Schouwer, Crossover Mission Executive Director; Kenya May, Feed the Lambs Co-founder; Verna Wright, Dasie Hope Center, Founder Not pictured: Elizabeth Thomason, Boys and Girls Club of Indian River County Executive Director

The Gifford Youth Achievement Center recently hosted “Students Taking Action: A Virtual Panel Discussion,” with a cross-section of community leaders to discuss topics impacting today’s youth.

Launched in October 2000, Lights on Afterschool is the only nationwide event celebrating afterschool programs and their important role in the lives of children, families and communities. The Afterschool Alliance organizes Lights on Afterschool to draw attention to the many ways afterschool programs support students by offering them opportunities to learn.

“We are very proud of our students for their dedication to the planning and implementation of this impactful panel discussion for Lights on Afterschool,” stated Angelia Perry, GYAC’s Executive Director.

“Exposure to and experiences such as these are invaluable to our students.”

Panelists included: Tony Brown, President of the Indian River NAACP ; Milo Thornton, Major at the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office; Merchon Green, Activist and Founder of Pioneering Change, Inc, Chairperson of the School District of Indian River County’s Equity Committee; and Kevin Browning, Radio Host for 104.5 The Flame.

GYAC volunteer and reporter for Vero News, Nick Samuel and GYAC students Jordan McPherson and Jocelyn Robles, served as moderators. 

In addition to the student-led virtual panel discussion, GYAC also organized a proclamation presentation to recognize fellow afterschool providers: Boys & Girls Club of Indian River County, Crossover Mission, Dasie Hope Center and Feed the Lambs Enrichment Program. The proclamation was announced at the Indian River County Board of County Commissioner’s meeting on Tuesday, October 20.

GYAC currently has limited enrollment in its afterschool program due to COVID-19 and will be accepting additional students in the new year. For more information on GYAC’s Afterschool Program, visit or call 772.794.1005.

About GYAC

Gifford Youth Achievement Center, a 501(c)(3), opened its doors in 1998 with the sole purpose of enhancing the academic performance of children in Indian River County, FL. In addition to year-round educational programs and activities for youth, GYAC provides activities for adults and seniors citizens, such as exercise classes, bible study and educational training. The Center also hosts job fairs, health clinics, community gatherings and serves as an information hub for those in need of services.

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