By Sid Robinson

Many political, social and spiritual groups encourage being altruistic and giving back to your community year-round. However, something is in the air during the holiday season that really brings out the spirit of giving in all of us. For 12 days throughout December, we want to inspire you to give back to those who are in need in our local neighborhoods. Our "12 Days of Giving" feature shares the impact and needs of 12 different Inland Empire charities. Our hope is that each feature will inform, inspire and encourage you to donate, volunteer or give back in some way. Please consider giving the gift of kindness to a stranger this season, because it may be the only one they receive.

Day Four - Young Visionaries Youth Leadership Academy


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The Young Visionaries Youth Leadership Academy has been bringing joy to San Bernardino County families on Christmas day for many years, not just through the gifts that children receive under their trees, but from the gift of hope that comes from having their wishes fulfilled.


The nonprofit academy has been helping to enrich the lives youngsters in San Bernardino County since 2001 through life building activities and instruction in the areas of education, employment, health, mentoring and community service. Over the past 15 years, the Young Visionaries Youth Leadership Academy has provided services and resources to more than 20,000 community youth, including academic counseling and training in subjects such as violence prevention, employment development, leadership, life skills development and teen pregnancy prevention.

The organization’s annual Christmas toy drive provides children who may not know the luxuries of new toys or clothing because of the poverty that has engulfed their families, friends and neighbors.

“Our children handle this reality with an incredible grace and humility that is truly touching,” says founder and CEO Terrance Stone, who turned a life in a gang into a meaningful ministry helping youth off the streets. “This is why watching their faces on Christmas morning, is so special for us.”

The 11th Annual Young Visionaries Academy Toy Drive and Resource Fair is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 17, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at Living Way Christian Fellowship in Fontana, located at 16725 Valencia Ave. Organization partners have already committed to provide 500 turkeys and bags of food, up to 1,000 toys and live entertainment for the event. Additional sponsors are needed, and organizations are invited to participate as vendors at the Toy Drive and Resource Fair

The Young Visionaries Youth Leadership Academy is based at 696 S. Tippecanoe Ave. in San Bernardino. For more information, call (909) 723-1695 or visit www.yvyla-ie.org.