Staff, residents and their families at Covenant Village of Florida, in Plantation, pulled together to vote for Elijah Rivera, 3, when he was chosen as one of the top 10 finalists to be a model for the Gap Inc. in the 0-4 boy age group.

Because his mother is a pastry chef there, they’ve known Elijah since before he was born. These days, Elijah skips through the hallways, shaking hands and mingling with staff and residents.

The Gap chose winners based on community votes (40%) and expert judging (60%). Elijah won the competition category, and he and his mother, Rodlaine Dolcine, traveled to New York City for a photo shoot. See Elijah and fellow Gap winners online here.

Covenant Village of Florida Executive Director Ian Brown said he isn’t surprised by the outpouring of support for Rodlaine and her son. “We’re a community of families here, and Elijah and his mom are a special part of that family,” he says. “Elijah’s joy and energy brighten our community every time he visits.”

Elijah began modeling at 21 months and has worked for companies such as Babies R Us and for fashion labels featured in print and television commercials in Brazil, France and Germany.

Covenant Village of Florida is one of 12 communities administered by Covenant Retirement Communities.

Click here to see the In Focus archive and read how to submit your photos for consideration.