C5LA is a 5-year program designed to inspire, teach and motivate inner city students to become the best adults they can be. Now with over a decade of strong results, this vibrant team continues their work looking for their next class of students.
We all have a favorite teacher. The one who reached out, piqued our interest and inspired us to keep learning. Likewise, most great teachers look back upon school yearbooks as if they were family albums. Many of us were lucky to be brought through school systems that taught us to reach for the stars and be all we can be. For recent generations, college wasn’t just expected, it’s assumed. But too often we are introduced to another side, inner-city areas where the very educational fabric some of us take for granted isn’t available at all.
Well, Greg Kovacs knows far too well about the “other side” and has made it his mission to bring an educational justice to all. Kovacs is among the clearest and most passionate communicators you may ever meet. He has a strong message and wants to make sure his voice is heard. And he does it with a smile, just like your favorite teacher would.
Kovacs’ extensive background includes educational and personal development. And now his methods have more than paid off as he helps teach thousands of inner city school children about confidence, aspirations and to give back as a good citizen through the C5LA program.
When Kovacs receives credit for the work he does, he is quick to point out the man who got him involved in the first place, the founder of C5 and former CEO of Coca-Cola John Alm. In 1998 after mutual friends insisted on an introduction they met and Alm, who had already begun envisioning the program, pitched him the idea.“It was a perfect fit. John presented an opportunity to design a business using my core calling.” More than a decade later, they continue to work, and thousands of students rise through their program and have become successful adults.
Each fall a new class of candidates are elected by Los Angeles Unified School District officials. The C5 philosophy is scheduled out over 5 years and includes both after-school activities during the school year as well as for two weeks each summer at Camp Paintrock in Hyattsville, Wy. Students are taught to build strong relationships with adults, introduced to activities and ideas to expand their horizons, encouraged to start considering college and career goals and to engage in community service.
The ideals are straightforward, but the ripples are deep; and spread far and wide. Over 90% of C5LA’s alumni go to college, which is otherwise very rare in these neighborhoods. And many of the alumni return to give back to the school and community which has supported them.
On November 11, 2011 C5 will hold it’s annual “Inspire the Dream” event honoring their students with celebration and fun. C5’s accomplishments are impressive, but Greg Kovacs’ focus remains clear. He wants to help more students by spreading the program’s message wider.