LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — A generous donation from Coca-Cola Consolidated will help children from west Louisville go to college and become community leaders.
The company held a virtual ceremony over Zoom to hand over the $25,000 check to The Cabbage Patch Settlement House. The Louisville nonprofit has been serving underprivileged kids for 110 years through after-school activities, leadership programs and resources for their families too.
Coca-Cola Consolidated (CCC), which is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, is the largest independent Coca-Cola bottler in the U.S. The company has a history of giving back to the community.
“We wanted to roll up our sleeves and really try to figure out how we can impact youth through character development, job readiness and access to education,” said Reginald Bean with CCC.
With the pandemic and social unrest this year, Bean said it was important for the company to invest in the future generation through leadership development.
One of CCC’s centers is located in southwest Louisville. Bean said looking at all the company’s several locations, Louisville ranked No. 1 on the priority list because of the impacts of the coronavirus and call for social justice. Through a chain of connections, CCC was introduced to Cabbage Patch as a potential partnership. Instead of coming in as outsiders attempting to do their own thing, Bean said the company wanted to team up with an organization already doing good work.
One of the programs that Cabbage Patch leaders have wished over the years to boost is its Servant Leadership Program. It’s a high-budget program that helps kids learn how to manage money, give back, and pay for college.
“One of the biggest things we want to teach kids, along with building their character, is financial literacy,” said Mayghin Levine, the program director at Cabbage Patch. “So for each of our teen leaders, we’re opening a bank account for those kids. They’re getting a monthly stipend for being part of the program. Half of which has to be saved for college or secondary education.”
It’s a high-budget program, so that has limited the number of kids Cabbage Patch has been able to serve. Right now, the program can help a maximum of 35 children from the ages of 12 to 18. The partnership with CCC will help to more than triple the number of kids in that program over the next few years. And they plan extend the age range to as early as eight years old.
As part of the program, kids will also be paired up with mentors from CCC. The teens will be paired up for one-on-one, weekly mentor sessions to give practical advice and help prepare them for college and a job.
“These are essential life skills and job skills that are being taught to these kids,” Levine said. “Now this means more kids getting life skills, more kids getting financial skills, and more kids ready to enter college and the workplace with a solid foundation of personal and spiritual development.”
The program will kick off in 2021, and this is just the start. Coca-Cola Consolidated plans to partnership with Cabbage Patch for three years, and there will be more donations planned for the future. By 2024, the groups hope to expand the program to help 135 kids.
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