GIFFORD — In the days leading up to Christmas, the jolly Saint Nicholas cleared up his busy schedule of gift giving to make sure students at a youth center received presents on their wish list.
Saint Nicholas, better known as Santa Claus, visited youth last Thursday afternoon at Gifford Youth Achievement Center. The man in the traditional red and white outfit with a white beard was GYAC staff member Lebon Nicholas, happily providing each student with a gift.
The students sung Christmas carols inside the gymnasium and the youth orchestra performed classic holiday tunes. The orchestra did a combined performance as well as solo performances, staff members said.
The GYAC, a center that offers an after school program focused on academics, provides classes for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Nearly 200 students were enrolled at the youth center this year, staff members said.
Community organizations and residents stepped up to assure all the students did not go without this holiday season.
The youth wrote down their names, grade levels and their desired gifts on cards, staff members said.
The students then gave their cards to staff. Staff members sent the cards to churches, community partners and residents willing to help.
Community members bought the gifts and took them to the youth center. The GYAC closed at noon Tuesday for the holiday and will reopen during normal business hours Thursday.
Photos provided by GYAC