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Paying it Forward: Coca-Cola Mentoring Program Pairs Celebs with Young Leaders

By:  Melina Baetti Jan 28, 2013
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What do basketball great and businessmogul Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Grammy Award-winning musician, actor and philanthropist Common, and Black Entertainment Television chairman and CEO Debra Lee have in common?

They are all hardworking, successful and inspirational celebrities. Most importantly, they’re all big believers in giving back. “I have and always will remain committed to uplifting the urban community in my business and nonprofit endeavors; and, that makes the Coca-Cola “Pay It Forward’ program a perfect fit,” said Johnson. “There is no better way to empower a community than to arm its youth with the necessary skills to succeed.”

This month, the three leaders are joining forces with Coca-Cola in a movement to uplift and inspire the next generation through the “Coca-Cola Pay it Forward” program. To kick off the second year of the initiative, they built upon last year’s apprenticeship experiences where three winners were able to spend a week with community, fashion, and business mentors.

One of last year’s winners, Joshua Tillman, said, “My apprenticeship experience was phenomenal. I got to work at a community foundation in Atlanta. This experience really had an effect on my career path. I thought to myself ‘These kids are really interested in what I am teaching. Maybe I have a gift in teaching?’ At that very moment, I started to reevaluate my career path.”

Johnson, Common and Lee will serve as mentors, giving four lucky young people the opportunity to shadow them and their teams for a week this summer.  The apprenticeship experiences will focus on:  business (Johnson); music and community (Common); and media/entertainment (Lee). 

Visit My Coke Rewards through March 2, 2013 to nominate an aspiring young leader for the exclusive “Pay It Forward” experience. 

You can nominate up to five youth and you are automatically entered for a chance to win a $5,000 sweepstakes with each nomination.

Join us and Pay it Forward!