The Youth Advisory Council has planned and been involved in a multitude of service related projects that have focused on the needs of their local communities: Buchanan, Niles, Dowagiac, and Cassopolis. In the Summer and Fall of 2019, YAC had participated in the the Cass County Backpack Spectacular, YAC Summer Conference at CMU, and a site visit at the Summer My Way program in Niles. In December 2019, the service committee decided to make blankets for their volunteer project and offer bell ringing for the Salvation Army. Six blankets were delivered to each of the following organizations: Buchanan RAM, Niles Salvation Army, Brandywine Holiday Families, Dowagiac Action Ministries, Edwardsburg Church, and Cassopolis Helping Hands. Fall of 2020, YAC partnered with 525 Foundation to have a DEA Takeback and was a big success! In December of 2020, the December volunteer project was planned virtually to make door hangers for senior residents, and providing their staff with a goodie basket that included hot chocolate and candy. These senior residents included folks from Forest Glen (Dowagiac), Wilds River Rest (Buchanan), Westwood’s (Niles), River Ridge (Niles), and the Timbers (Cass County). Throughout the pandemic, the Youth Advisory Council persevered through many difficulties, and continued to complete their projects and goals for the year.

In 2009, Michigan Gateway Community Foundation’s YAC applied for and RECEIVED a grant from the Michigan Community Foundation Youth Project (MCFYP) to address the problem of underage drinking in our area. The group wrote and produced TWO Public Service Announcements (PSAs) that played in a local movie theater for three months during prom and graduation season. The aim of the PSAs is to encourage good decision making and avoidance of destructive behavior among area students at this important time in their lives. The Wonderland Theater in Niles played them throughout the spring and summer!

Michigan Gateway Community Foundation’s YAC also received high praise for their PSA efforts from the Council of Michigan Foundations.