The Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is made up of nearly 100 high school students who learn first hand the value of giving back to their community by participating in numerous service projects throughout the year.
Whether it is raking leaves or delivering food for senior citizens, preparing cookie containers for families served by food pantries, or spending their Thanksgiving holiday at Community Cafe, YACers learn the value of giving back to their community through hands-on experience. Olivia Waldron, Ithaca High School student, has "had my eyes opened to the hardships that people have had to face or are currently facing and it gives me that warm feeling knowing that I am helping them, even just a little bit."
YAC has awarded more than $100,000 in grants to other youth to learn the value of volunteerism. Youth fill out applications for money to help them complete a service project; yes, even kindergarteners do it! YAC members then review the applications and present their funding recommendations to the Foundation's Board of Directors. Classrooms, 4-H Clubs, Little League Teams, and Boy Scout Clubs are just some of the youth groups that have been selected to receive YAC grants in the past. Boy Scouts from Breckenridge wanted to fix up Jaycee Park. They had the ideas, the approval, and the man-power, but didn't have the money to make it happen. YAC provided $1,200 for them to plant trees and refurbish the shuffleboard court this summer.
YAC is open to all high school students in Gratiot County to learn the value of volunteerism and philanthropy and to excercise their leadership skills. As a youth driven organization, it takes hard work from active youth leaders to coordinate projects, meetings, and events. Lane Thompson, an Alma High School student, values the entire YAC experience stating, "I have also been able to spend time with community leaders, people who are roles models to me and many others. YAC has opened my eyes to the community around me."