The “Coca-Cola Pay It Forward” program was launched last year as Coca-Cola North America’s 2012 Black History Month initiative to celebrate and acknowledge the richness of the African American heritage. The program is a unique and refreshing approach to recognizing the history being made today and cultivating history that is yet to come.
This year, we wanted to go further and deeper into our communities to find ways to inspire our future leaders and uplift the next generation. This year’s Pay It Forward program will provide four lucky young people the opportunity to apprentice with some of today’s most influential celebrity history makers. We’re thrilled to have NBA legend and business mogul Earvin “Magic” Johnson, chairman and CEO of Black Entertainment Television (BET) Networks Debra Lee and hip-hop artist, actor and philanthropist Common support our program as our 2013 celebrity history makers. Here’s how it works:
Parents, relatives, friends, mentors and members of the community can go to My Coke Rewards now through March 2 to nominate an aspiring youth for the exclusive “Pay It Forward” apprenticeship experiences. You must be 16 years of age or older to nominate somebody and the apprenticeship experiences are available for young people between the ages of 16-21 (as of May 1, 2013). You can nominate up to five people and you are automatically entered for a chance to win $5,000 with each nomination. Eligible youth are also invited to nominate themselves.
We are inviting people across the country to join Johnson, Common and Lee in this national movement to pay it forward to the next generation by helping them achieve their education and career aspirations. In addition to nominating an eligible young person for the Pay It Forward program, we suggest: becoming a mentor; taking a teen to work; and/or giving to an academic scholarship such as UNCF, the nation’s most successful African American scholarship organization.
Share ways you are paying it forward and join the conversation on Twitter, using the hashtag #CokePayItForward.
I hope you will join us in making a difference in the lives of today’s youth and tomorrow’s history makers. Pay it Forward!
Lauventria Robinson is Vice President of Multicultural Marketing, Coca-Cola North America Group.