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Founded in 1998, with the sole purpose of increasing the graduation rate of African Americans in the Gifford Community, GYAC has flexed and flourished, expanding based upon the needs of the community. What began as a community center with two full-time staff has transformed into a bustling campus complete with classrooms, two computer labs, an outdoor patio and a full-size gymnasium.

Our Community Impact

With academics in focus, GYAC has played a crucial role in increasing the graduation rate of Indian River County’s African American population from 23% at its inception to over 90% present day. GYAC’s values: Respect, Hope, Perseverance, Hard work, Inclusivity, and Collaboration act as a guiding light throughout the organization. By holding students, parents and employees accountable, we have made tremendous strides towards ensuring the County’s underserved populations have the tools they need to succeed.


Students enrolled in GYAC’s Afterschool Program


IRC public schools served at GYAC


Students living in single-parent households

“GYAC will continue to offer transformational programs and activities that impact the lives of the youth and families it serves, ensuring each student reaches their ultimate potential.”

Angelia Perry – Executive Director

Our Leadership

Angelia Perry, MS
Executive Director
Peggy Gibbs, CFRE
Director of Philanthropy
Mike Hallenstein
Chief Financial Officer
Jay Lundy, Sr.
Director of Youth Employability Program
Denise Smith, Ed.D.
Student Support Specialist
Curtis Webb
Director of Youth Programs
Freddie Woolfork
Director of Public Relations & Facilities Operations

Our Founders

Dr. A. Ronald Hudson, Chairman Emeritus
Dr. William “Bill” Nigh, (1949-2001)
Dan K. Richardson, (1919-2014)

Foundation Board of Trustees

Gifford Youth Achievement Center Foundation, Inc. is a separate, but affiliated, nonprofit organization that raises money and maintains an endowment fund for the benefit of Gifford Youth Achievement Center, Inc. Federal Tax ID: 43-1950913

Carter Hopkins, Chairman Emeritus
Scott Alexander, Vice Chairman
Todd Fennell, Chairman
Patti O’Mara, Secretary
Ken Mindt, Treasurer
Rosalen Cline
Lisa Holmes
Randy Rolf
Norm Rickard
Joan Woodhouse

Operating Board of Directors

Gifford Youth Achievement Center, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that operates GYAC facilities, programs and services, and employs GYAC staff. Federal Tax ID: 43-1950911

Dr. Deborah Taylor-Long, Chairwoman
Casey Lunceford, Vice Chairman
Patti O’Mara, Secretary
Ken Mindt, Treasurer
Tareek Beasley
Beata Brewster
Pat Brier
Ryan Cobb
Susan Cotter
Teddy Floyd
Lori Gonye
Dr. Terri Graham
Joan Henderson
Lisa Holmes
Paul Knapp
Norm Rickard
Randy Rolf
Larry Staley
David Taylor

Our Story

From humble beginnings and with God’s guidance, GYAC now offers year-round academic programs within on our 38,000 square foot facility.


Dan Richardson and Dr. A. Ronald Hudson meet at the Gracewood Fruit Company to discuss the development of a youth center in Gifford that would combine education with recreation.


Indian River County approves plans for the Gifford Youth Activities Center under management of The Progressive Civic League of Gifford, FL. The groundbreaking ceremony is held on February 23, 1997. Later, Carter Hopkins joins the Leadership team to fulfill a promise made to Dan Richardson when Dan became ill.


GYAC opened the doors to its 18,000 square foot facility on February 15, 1998.


GYAC establishes a partnership with Indian River State College, formerly known as Indian River Community College, to create the Kellogg Academic Program for Success (KAPS). KAPS is created to assist students in 9th-12th grade in becoming first generational college-bound youth. KAPS receives $500,000 from the Kellogg Foundation. and wins the Equity Award after its first year in existence.


Beyond Special K (BSK) is created to serve the needs of adults and seniors.


The Gifford Youth Activity Center is declared a 501(c)(3) organization in 2001. The Board agrees to expand the Center by 6K sq. ft. due to overcrowding and build a pool next to the Center to decrease the drownings of youth due to a lack of swim instructions and water safety.


GYAC receives the 2005 Outstanding Florida Minority Education Community Award from Governor Jeb Bush.


Three more modular classrooms are leased to accommodate yearly waiting lists of 50+ students.


The Boys 2 Men 2 Greatness mentoring program is established as a pilot program with grant funding from the Indian River Community Foundation.


The organization renames itself the Gifford Youth Achievement Center.


GYAC celebrates its 20th anniversary and kicks off a 14,000 sq. ft. expansion project on June 29, 2018.


The Cis and Bill Glavin Educational Center, housing eight classrooms and four offices, opens in May 2019, increasing GYAC’s overall footprint.


 In 2017, Carter Consulting conducted a feasibility study to determine if the community would support a capital campaign. A “need” of $7.4M was established: $3M for the expansion; $4M for the endowment and $400K for three years of increased operations. GYAC exceeds the $7.4M “need” in March 2020.


February 15, 2023 was GYAC’s official 25th anniversary. On  January 25th, GYAC celebrated 25 years of “Changing Lives, Changing Futures” with a Night to Remember at Oak Harbor.

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