By Michelle Graff
From left: GIA’s Stephen Morisseau and Veronika Janis; Angela Brannon-Baptiste of It’s All About the Kids Foundation; Sylvia Evans-McKinney of Dress for Success San Diego; and Susan Schindelar if the GIA. Photo by Emily Lane.
Carlsbad, Calif.--A number of women and children in need will be having a brighter holiday season this year thanks to donations from staff and students at the Gemological Institute of America’s headquarters.

GIA’s Carlsbad campus took donations to two charities this season as part of its annual Holiday Gift Drive, first collecting nearly 1,000 items to Dress for Success San Diego, a nonprofit organization that provides a network of support, professional attire and development tools to help disadvantaged women achieve economic independence and thrive in work and life. 

Among the items donated by the GIA were professional attire, accessories and cosmetics, which will “provide a confidence boost to our clients as they enter the workforce,” said Sylvia Evans-McKinney, founder and executive director at Dress for Success San Diego. 

The second organization benefitting from the GIA’s donations is It’s All About the Kids, another nonprofit that supports local charities to enhance the lives of less fortunate children and their families. The GIA gathered nearly 250 items for this foundation, including playpens, learning toys, puzzles, stuffed animals and athletic gear. 

“With (the GIA’s) help, we are able to surpass our goal of making the holidays bright for over 1,600 children this year,” said Angela Brannon-Baptiste, co-founder and president of the board of It’s All About the Kids. 

On the other side of the country, the GIA’s New York campus is working with Toys for Tots, which collects and distributes toys to children whose parents are unable to afford them, and New York Cares, which holds an annual coat drive in the winter months. 

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