Christmas a Go for GYAC kids thanks to community generosity

news release

It’s no secret that many families were feeling an extra crunch on their wallets this Christmas due to pandemic pressures, so the Gifford Youth Achievement Center wanted to make Christmas a go for the Center’s 80 afterschool students and 80 homebound seniors.

Santa with GYAC’s 4th grade class

Thanks to years-long partnerships with local donors and organizations and a few new partnerships, Christmas brought joy, presents and homecooked meals.

Keeping with tradition, GYAC students were treated to their annual Christmas party, complete with games, crafts, food. Santa made a special appearance to present a gift to each and every student. 

Theresa Baxter, GYAC’s Senior Programs Coordinator prepared, packaged and delivered home cooked meals with elves, Jemel Baxter and LaJohnathan Harris. With the community’s help, Baxter was able to assemble and distribute more than 50 gift bags filled with toiletries, non-perishables snacks and a few comfort items to local homebound seniors.

“We are thankful for the opportunity to offer comfort and joy, despite the challenges of COVID-19, and look forward to the time when we can all gather together once again,” said Barbara Pearce, GYAC Executive Assistant.

For more information about GYAC and the Center’s afterschool and adult and senior programs, visit

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. The nonprofit organization, governed by a volunteer board of directors, focuses on vulnerable students who live in the Gifford community and surrounding municipalities of Indian River County.  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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