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Retired educator invests in students’ future via Give Every Child a Chance

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Retired educator invests in students’ future via Give Every Child a Chance

Christina Keefhaver, left, and Carol Davis accept a check from San Joaquin County Board of Education hopeful Vern Gebhardt for $1,000.

JASON CAMPBELL/The Bulletin


POSTED May 15, 2014 12:36 a.m.

Vern Gebhardt knows what Give Every Child a Chance does for students in Manteca. 

He heard hundreds of success stories during his tenure on the Manteca Unified School District Board of Education. He’s watched what started a small, niche non-profit grow into an organization that has become a model for what community involvement can do in the lives of children struggling in school. 

And for the second time in a month, Gebhardt – a candidate for the San Joaquin County Board of Education – is putting his own personal money behind what he feels is a group that’s more than worthy of support. 

Last week Gebhardt met with GECAC staffers to donate $1,000 just three weeks after he made the same donation to the Manteca Boys and Girls Club. 

A retired educator and coach, Gebhardt said that his time on the Manteca Unified board showed him exactly how beneficial the program can be and how the late Antone Raymus’ unique vision to help kids can blossom. 

“I think that we here in Manteca are blessed to have an organization like this that could be the best in the country at what it provides to the students that utilize its services,” Gebhardt said. “Hopefully other people see this and realize that they can help make the difference in the life of a child.”

According to GECAC Executive Director Carol Davis, the donation will be applied directly to the programs that pair students with volunteer tutors and will help provide some of the materials necessary for individual school sites to carry out the organization’s mission – bringing up the grades of students struggling in school. 

Having the support of people like Gebhardt, she said, is critical to maintaining the level of service that students, parents and even teachers have come to expect. 

“Without the support of the community through donations like this we couldn’t do what it is that we do,” she said. “We’re very grateful. This will go directly to help students.” 

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