YAC is made up of nearly 100 high school students who get involved is decision making, participate in community service and leadership, as well as taking part in awarding grants that will improve the quality of life in Gratiot County. These projects run from October thru April every 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 experiences. Brice Austin, Alma High School student, says that YAC "is truly special to me, because more than any other extracurricular, it really provides an opportunity to go out and help people in the community."
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 kindergartners 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 exercise their leadership skills. As a youth driven organization, it takes hard work from active youth leaders to coordinate projects, meetings, and events. Kayla Howey, a YAC alum, values the entire YAC experience stating, "[YAC] means everything to me, it's been a part of who I am for over 4 years. It's found a forever home in my heart."