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Preparing promising teens for promising futures

C5 Youth Foundation of Georgia Overview

What we do  We find promising teens that might otherwise not have the opportunity to shine.  We help them develop the leadership skills they’ll need to be successful in college, career and life.

 We inspire them to become: Character-driven Community-focused Challenge-ready College-bound Committed to a better future.

“C5 has taught me to look danger, ignorance, negativity and pure failure in the eye, and challenge it”

A visionary beginning  The vision for C5 was forged from the collaborative dreams of leaders within The Coca-Cola System. 

The concept began as the "Paintrock Canyon" program in Wyoming–a summer camp designed to serve high-potential youth from disadvantaged neighborhoods in Los Angeles. The Coca-Cola System provided the resources to engage leading educators and experts in outdoor education and youth development to develop the 5-year, year-round curriculum and establish the program in 4 regions: Georgia, New England, Southern California and Texas. The resulting organization now stands as the gold standard of youth advocacy programs focusing on leadership development and college preparation.

“What we’ve created is truly inspiring. But our teens continue to inspire us to raise the bar.” –Ron Lewis Vice President, Supply Chain, CCE

We’ve met some remarkable teens Denis has learned to approach life scientifically. 

She came to the US from Mexico at age 4. She gets good grades and has a passion for science. She will become the first in her immediate family to graduate from high school…

She earned a lab internship at Emory University with renowned scientist, Dr. Victor Corces.

She helps conduct experiments to identify the proteins that cause chromatin organization inside the nuclei of cells.

Her goal is to get accepted into Emory University and obtain a degree in science.

She is working hard and planning for that future.

“Thanks to C5, I am proud and ready to take on the world and anything it throws my way.” –Denis Fifth year C5 Student

We’ve met some remarkable teens Kuaniyal is prepared to go the distance. 

His family now lives in Clarkston. They fled the Sudan in 2000, seeking safety and better educational opportunities for their 5 children.

He discovered that Dunwoody High School was the closest school offering the advanced placement programs that would help him pursue his dreams.

So he leaves home at 5:30am every day to make the Marta connections necessary to get to school on time.

He runs cross country and track for Dunwoody High and is currently ranked #11th in the nation for the 800.

His goal is to get an academic and track scholarship so he can study pre-med in college.

“ I would like to be a doctor some day so I may go back to Africa and help people there.” –Kuaniyal Forth year C5 Student

We’ve met some remarkable teens Victor is a leader in training 

Victor represents the essential qualities we look for in C5 candidates. His interview proved to staff that he has the character to inspire others and triumph over challenges.

He is a hardworking, compassionate young man with a contagiously positive attitude and a magnetic personality.

He is a quiet young man who hasn’t had the benefit of a father figure in his life. But his intuition and drive make him a natural born leader.

His counselors and fellow C5 students are helping Victor see just how remarkable he really is.

“C5 means everything to me. The first summer at Camp Adahi was the best summer of my life.” –Victor First year C5 Student

We help our teens beat the odds.  Lower income communities pose formidable challenges for teens.  As teens reach adolescence, effective support programs and resources diminish.  Without support and guidance it’s easy for good kids to make poor decisions.  Alcohol, drugs, sex, gangs, and other criminal influences present greater risks.  Therefore lower income youth graduate high school and go to college at a much lower rate: • Only 60% graduate high school • Just 1-3 go on to college • Only 1 in 7 get a college degree

C5 was created to bridge the gap in teen development services in low-income communities.

Why are we different?– We commit 

We make a 5-year commitment to each teen to stand by them as mentors, advocates and friends.  Real life is happening all the time for our teens, C5 is always there to help  We stick with our teens through thick and thin, providing personal support  Our program inspires them to help each other when life gets too real

We believe by elevating one teen, we positively influence many lives.

“Because of C5 my future is now in clear view and I know exactly how to get where I want to be.”

It all starts with a caring adult. 

Selection begins with a recommendation from a teacher, counselor or leader from one of our nominating partner organizations.

The rigorous application process includes a written essay and personal interviews.

72 rising eight graders are selected from 200+ applications from high potential teens who: 

Demonstrate a desire to succeed

Maintain B average

Possess basic leadership skills

Have at least one risk factor in their lives– poverty, single or no-parent home, prevalence of drugs or neighborhood gang presence.

“I truly thank C5 for the wonderful experiences that helped me discover my true potential.”

Intentional diversity builds strength  Our student population is diverse by design.  47% male, 53% female (each class begins with 50% male and female)  58% African American, 18% Latino, 13% Caucasian, 6% Asian, 5% other  Nearly all come from homes with incomes below $10,000 per family member.  61% from single-parent/non-parent homes.

“C5 has taught me not only how to be a leader, but how to accept new people into my life even if they are different.”

The C5 Program  Our fully integrated program teaches vital life and leadership skills with: Pathways–integrated year-round curriculum

5 transformative summer experiences

C5 summer camp experiences  Our 5 year progression of camp experiences uses the outdoors to create challenging leadership emersion experiences. 1st Year: Camp Leadership U.– Leading Myself 2nd Year: Camp Leadership U.– Leading Others 3rd Year: C5 Bridges– Expanding my horizons (Wyoming Back Country) 4th Year: Coca-Cola Road to College– Exploring my future 5th Year: A.C.T. Now Summit– Engaging my community

“I learned if I can do this, I can do anything.”

C5 Pathways year-round curriculum  High-touch interaction and mentoring  Leadership Development Plan guidance helps reinforce the academic, personal development and community involvement goals set in the final days of each year’s camp experience.  Ongoing support builds confidence and proves that they are not alone and that people care about them.  Introduces the concept of college early as a realistic goal that can be achieved through planning.  Coordinates career discovery opportunities through job shadowing and career exploration

“I love the fact that every voice counts and how we are all there for each other.”

The net outcome  A college education is the core objective, but it takes more than a college degree to make a person successful: 

We teach our students to work and thrive within diverse communities

They learn how to develop positive relationships with adults and other teens

Our students learn to become community advocates.

They acquire essential leadership skills– self awareness, confidence, communication, group effectiveness, organization, decision making and problem solving.

“Every business leader I’ve met has told me not to give up and to keep pursuing my dreams and that’s what I plan on doing!”

Accountability  We are committed to excellence and closely audit our program’s performance and progress.  Youth Development Strategies Inc.– annual independent audit of the experience and progress against our core objectives.  C5YF Program Practice and Safety Audit– administered annually by our Director of Program Development and reviewed by the board.  Efforts 2 Outcomes– software is used to track youth demographics, program participation and outcomes.

“We hold ourselves accountable to our teens and the investors that make this service possible.” –Mark van Weegen Chair, C5 Georgia Board of Directors

Results  Most non-profit agencies deliver services. C5 delivers results.  Year-to-year retention rates are 92%.  Over 97% of our graduates go to college.  YDSI “Youth survey” results indicate that C5 provides support and opportunities at a higher rate than most other youth-serving programs  C5 Youth give back to their communities by performing over 250 hours of community service over the course of their involvement.

“I am a proud member of the class of 2010, C5 Atlanta’s first graduating class.” –Kseniya Fifth year C5 Student

The C5 Organization in Atlanta 

Each of the 4 regional programs is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) organization

Oversight is given by a local Board of Directors

Managed by youth development professional

Atlanta Leadership Susie Dyson Cogan Vice President, Chatham International Corporation

Martin Luther King, III President, Realizing the Dream Foundation

Robert W. Farrar President, Robert W. Farrar & Associates

Ewoud Swaak President, Westplan Investors

Adrienne Findley Community Volunteer

Ed Turlington Vice President Packaging Systems, Atlantic Packaging

Hunter W. Groton Senior Director, Mellon Private Wealth Management

Cyril Turner President, Delta Global Services, Delta Airlines Inc.

Paul Gunderson Retired National Executive Director, C5YF

Mark van Weegen (Chair) Vice President, A. T. Kearney

Mark Higgins President, Display Industries

Adriaan C. Weststrate Managing Director, Rabobank International

Ron Lewis Vice President Supply Chain, Coca-Cola Enterprises

“Our investment in each student, creates a ripple effect that has a positive impact on that child's family, school and community.” –Jeff Cohen Executive Director, C5

Commitment– it takes a village  Sustainability depends on the additional committed support of local corporate sponsors, individual donors and volunteers in the communities we serve.  The Coca-Cola System supplied the vision and resources to create this dynamic program  Research states the organization’s long-term success will depend on diversity in both student population and supporting community sponsors.

“We invest $15,000 per student over the course of the program.”

Our budget goals 

Our unique 5 year committed approach delivers tangible lasting results, but requires a significant community investment. 

This year’s C5 operating budget is $1 million

Our fund-raising goal for the year is $712,000

The remainder made up with funds previously contributed by the Coca-Cola System.

C5 must increase its donor base in 2010 and beyond by expanding its family of individual, corporate and institutional supporters


$65,500 $60,000 $50,000 $45,000 $40,000 $25,000 $19,000


Gifts & Kind

Foundations & Corporations

Fund Raising Events

Matching Gifts

C5 Heroes (4 new Heroes)

Board Giving

Golf Tournament

Help us make a difference 

Your investment and support will help ensure that we never break a promise to a promising teen.

Here are some tangible ways you can help us open a whole new world of opportunities for some bright, talented young people.  Host a Leadership Lunch

 Become a “C5 Hero” by sponsoring a C5 Teen  Volunteer at year-round Pathways events and other programs  Host a Barbecue or Expanding Horizons Experience at Camp

Contact Info:

To learn more about how you can help C5 make a difference: visit us online at

or contact Jeff Cohen, Executive Director, 770-200-8965

C5 Youth Foundation of Georgia Overview  

Preparing promising teens for promising futures