YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The holidays were made a little brighter Thursday for some students at Potential Development High School who were given the opportunity to pick out Christmas presents for their loved ones. Potential Development is a Pre-K through 12th-grade school for kids on the autism spectrum.

“Santa’s Workshop” featured a variety of gifts suited for both men and women. The gifts were displayed in the school’s basement as students filed in, class by class.

Each student had his or her choice of three gifts, all of them gift-wrapped for free by volunteers.

The gifts were courtesy of Boardman retailer Ivory and Birch, owned and operated by Deloran Thompson who has organized the event since 2016.

“It was always my favorite day in school, and I realized they didn’t have the same opportunity here,” said Thompson. “It’s everybody’s favorite day in December.”

Paul Garchar, CEO of Potential Development, agrees.

“This is our seventh year we’ve been able to do the workshop, and it’s a great hit. The kids look forward to it every year. For a lot of our students, this is an opportunity they would not normally have.”

This year, the workshop was held at the high school for 7th through 12th graders, but Thompson says she has bigger plans.

“My goal is to expand it to the middle school, and maybe the elementary school next year, just so all of the students can have gifts,” she said.

To learn more about Potential Development, call (330) 746-7641 and visit them online at