Gratiot County Youth Advisory Council (YAC)

The Gratiot County Community Foundation created the Youth Advisory Council to engage area youth in community service and philanthropy. The goal of YAC is to empower youth to be involved in decision making, be active participants in community service and leadership and take part in awarding grants that will improve the quality of life in Gratiot County.
New members are welcome to join at any meeting during the year.


In 1993, the Gratiot County Community Foundation creates the Youth Advisory Council (YAC) to promote the involvement of youth in philanthropy and volunteerism. The goal of YAC is to empower youth to be active participants in community service and leadership. It is hoped that youth will take part in awarding of grants that will improve the quality of life in Gratiot County. 

Any youth who is living or attending high school in Gratiot County and who wants to be involved with making a difference in their community. By becoming a YAC member youth can: make a difference in their community, develop  leadership and organizational skills, earn about the grant making process to support youth who want to make a difference in their community. 
YAC meets once a month, on a Sunday. The schedule is provided at the beginning of the year (usually in October). To be considered a YAC member, it is required to attend at least 5 events. YAC usually meets at the YFC building in Alma (2550 Cheeseman Road, Alma, MI 48801). Service projects also occur at the site of various organizations, all within Gratiot County. 
At each monthly meeting, YACers are either planning or completing a service project. Being in YAC, allows youth to get to know students from different schools and have fun while engaging in making a difference in the Gratiot County Community.
A calendar of events is provided at the first YAC meeting of the year. The YAC leadership team will send out monthly reminders or you can check out any of our social media. Keep an eye on the YAC Calendar for this year's meeting dates. If the recruitment meeting has already passed, don't worry! 

YAC members have the opportunity to participate in philanthropy through the grant selection process, sponsored by the Gratiot County Community Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Grant applications that get sent in by other area youth are reviewed at YAC meetings to determine if they are to be recommended for funding.

While YAC is youth driven, adult volunteers are involved and provide support. Adult volunteers must complete a volunteer form and consent to a criminal history and background check.


Official dates for the 2020-2021 YAC season will be determined and posted soon. The YAC season runs from October through April every year.

Interested In Joining Us?

Give us a call with any questions and then fill out this form.

Service Projects

Recruitment Meeting

This is an introductory meeting for YAC. We begin planning and making decorations for the Thanksgiving meal at the First Presbyterian Church in Alma. Additionally, we hand out important information for the year like a contact form, membership form, and the YAC calendar. .

Community Thanksgiving Meal

YACers rise early on Thanksgiving morning to peel hundreds of potatoes in preparation for Community Cafe's annual meal at Alma's First Presbyterian Church. They also help to set up, decorate, serve, and welcome guests.  

Holiday Fun at Masonic Pathways

YAC often works with Masonic Pathways to reach out to residents at this local senior living center. YACers assemble and decorate the trees that adorn the chapel, halls, and common rooms at Masonic Pathways each winter. Members also enjoy going door-to-door caroling with residents to spread the holiday cheer.

Foster Closet

A first ever service project for our YACers, we went to St. Louis and helped organize, sort, and move clothes, toys, and other items. Before we began we learned from the director and volunteers about their mission and what they are doing for our community. 

Valentine Ball

Formerly known as the Senior Prom, YACers decorate the chapel at the Masonic Pathways with Valentine decorations. We dance and have a good time with residents in our formal prom attire.


In honor of education month, YACers decided to make STEM Kits that were delivered to every fourth grade classroom in Gratiot County. Each kit had supplies and instructions to build a tower as high as they could to help Hoppy. YACers packed these kits with all of the necessary items.

Environmental Clean-up

YACers picked up trash along the Pine River Bike Trail. We were able to fill about ten trash bags with garbage. 
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Youth Talent Showcase

YAC's Talent Showcase is an annual event. The night features a series of performances by local talent, honors YAC grant recipients and their service projects, and celebrates the service projects completed by YACers themselves. Highlights of the program also include special service-related awards, a YAC dance performance, and a farewell to all YAC Seniors. This event is unique to the Gratiot County Community Foundation Youth Advisory Council and is a great way to wrap up the school year.

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Clash for Kids - YACers Serving during the Summer

The Gratiot County Community Foundation’s Youth Advisory Council launched the first ever Clash for Kids fundraiser to fight childhood hunger.  The event capitalized on the excitement over the season opener between two powerhouse football dynasties—Pewamo Westphalia and Ithaca. While the final score was a disappointment to local fans, the fundraiser was a huge success raising more than $10,000 for the cause.  

The idea for Clash for Kids came from Dr. Michael Stack and his son, Ithaca High School Junior Camran Stack. Realizing that underprivileged kids relied on the two meals they receive at school each day, they became concerned over food availability for those kids over the weekend and how that might adversely impact their success in school on Monday mornings and in the long term. With the support of the two football programs, the Youth Advisory Council, of which Camran is a member, agreed to coordinate the fundraiser.  

Led by Camran Stack, youth met once each week throughout the summer to plan all aspects of the event; from budgeting and publicity plans to recruiting sponsors and volunteers.  “I was really impressed with the kids who volunteered for the project. Summer is a break for most kids, but they showed a lot of commitment and that translated into a really successful fundraiser. It was rewarding to watch them bring all the pieces together,” explained Tina Travis, the previous Foundation Executive Director.  

Funds were raised with donations from sponsors and a mini-kids carnival at the game, as well as prize raffle and 50/50 tickets sold at the game. The support of “Varsity” level sponsors Family Medical Care-Ithaca, MidMichigan Medical Center-Gratiot, Garr Tool, Steve and Kristin Bakker and Marita Hattem-Shiffman and Randy Shiffman was key to beating the $10,000 goal.  Many other businesses made donations of cash and prizes for the event.  

Businesses and organizations provided fun and games for kids at the mini-carnival.  De Saegher Dairy provided a bounce house in the shape of a cow and a “fake” cow that kids could milk adding a very unique aspect to the event. The Optimist Club, Kiwanis Club, YAC, Child Advocacy and JCPenney provided temporary tattoos, games and more to round out the mini-carnival.  

Camran Stack added, “The Clash for Kids fundraiser was a good step toward uplifting Gratiot County.  We hope to continue the event in order to further benefit local youth.” The monies raised will support weekend food programs in Gratiot County schools. Programs like Project FULL (serving Ithaca and Fulton), Weekend Care (serving Breckenridge), Project PAWS (serving Alma), Food Bag Program (St. Louis), as well a program in Ashley, will receive grants to buy food for underprivileged kids. The food will be sent home with them over the weekend when school breakfasts and lunches are not available.


Pictured from left to right, James Goodspeed, Sue Meier, Joe Radtke, Emily Adams, Phil Maxwell

Debra Wasik Teaching Service Award

The Youth Advisory Council honors teachers who have made a difference in the lives of youth by engaging them in giving back to their community through service projects, by establishing the Debra Wasik Teaching Service Award.
Debra Wasik taught at Alma Public Schools for 34 years until her untimely passing in 2012. This award is established in her name to honor her memory and to recognize those teachers who, like her, engage students in service both in and out of the classroom. This year, the recipients were chosen and nominated by YACers. We had five teachers receive this award, each from a different school.
Phil Maxwell
St. Louis Public Schools
Sue Meier
Ithaca Public Schools
Emily Adams
Alma Public Schools
Joe Radtke
Breckenridge Community Schools
James Goodspeed
Fulton Public Schools
(Pictured from left to right, James Goodspeed, Sue Meier, Joe Radtke, Emily Adams, Phil Maxwell)
Leadership Award

Leadership Award

The leadership award is given to a YACer who inspires others to get excited about leadership, philanthropy, and service. This award honors someone that truly exemplifies leadership and consistently engages others to get excited about service, all while making an inclusive environment for everyone. The recipients of this award have dedicated an immense amount of time and passion into not only their community, but Gratiot County as a whole. Within YAC, they serve as a familiar face and role model to every member and volunteer, embodying themselves as an astounding YAC leader.

The recipient of the 2019 Leadership Award is Tyler Kinnunen.