When North Carolina Outward Bound School (NCOBS) founded Outward Bound Atlanta (OBA) in 1990, we searched for corporate partners with a strong ethic of community responsibility. Georgia-Pacific emerged as a like-minded leader and in 1992, they became a partner in support of NCOBS’ earliest efforts to establish high-impact programs for Atlanta’s under-served youth.
Founded in 1927, and headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia-Pacific is one of the world’s leading makers of tissue, pulp, packaging, building products and related chemicals. As steady corporate sponsors of OBA’s work for the past 27 years, they demonstrate an unwavering commitment to help build strong communities through their belief in “education as the key that unlocks potential.” Together, OBA and Georgia Pacific, have improved the opportunity to succeed for thousands of Metro Atlanta youth.
NCOBS is particularly honored to partner with Georgia-Pacific, given their mandate to support “results-driven programs.” In 2017, a comprehensive study of OBA’s program participants confirmed significant positive gains in character development and concluded that these gains were the result of striving—of students pushing themselves harder than they ever thought possible in order to confront difficulty and overcome it. These are qualities that lead to greater student success.
Outward Bound Atlanta’s programs continually evolve to meet the needs of the Atlanta Public Schools (APS), as the most recent goal alignment with APS’ focus on Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) objectives demonstrates. OBA’s program progression of challenge experiences, from elementary school through high school, cultivates life-changing lessons of grit, resilience, and a greater awareness of one’s personal best. The program is delivered for five school clusters with the greatest need—Grady, Jackson, Therrell, South Atlanta, and Washington. We magnify the positive effects of these Outward Bound experiences by providing scholarships for faculty mentors at partner schools.
For years, Georgia-Pacific has focused upon one of the schools in the Washington cluster as a priority partnership—M. Agnes Jones Elementary School. With this results-driven approach, Georgia-Pacific supports an array of initiatives in the name of improving school culture and student success. As NCOBS’ corporate partner, Georgia-Pacific supports the two-pronged OBA approach to “success for all” at M. Agnes Jones Elementary. They underwrite the first step in the OBA program progression (that continues through high school) with Outward Bound activities for all fifth graders. In addition, to advance the development of a strong school culture, Georgia-Pacific supports OBA educator development experiences for the entire M. Agnes Jones staff.
“This experience [for students] transcends into daily classroom and life situations which require listening and effective communication.”
Dr. Andrea Kiel, 5th grade teacher, M. Agnes Jones Elementary School
“The (OBA) faculty team-building experience was outstanding! It really came at a time when we needed to refocus, recommit and understand one another. The team always does a good job of aligning the Outward Bound goals with the school goals.”
Dr. Margul Woolfolk, Principal, M. Agnes Jones Elementary School
With an eye to their pledge— “SUCCESS FOR ALL… WHATEVER IT TAKES!” —M. Agnes Jones was recently distinguished by the Georgia Department of Education as the first school in the Atlanta Public School system to be certified as a STEM site— “preparing students for 21st Century workplace careers by providing education opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.”
This year, Georgia-Pacific is providing additional support for OBA experiences for 6th and 7th grade classes at the BEST Academy. With a match secured for this support, OBA will expand its leadership development initiative there for a program that was established in 2013 by another generous NCOBS donor.
Since 1992, North Carolina Outward Bound School and Outward Bound Atlanta have experienced, first-hand, Georgia-Pacific’s commitment to education as the path to success. NCOBS honors Georgia-Pacific for its determination to leverage change in a focused, effective, and sustained way and is a proud partner in this mission to provide Atlanta’s neediest youth with the keys to a better future. Thousands of Metro Atlanta youth join NCOBS in gratitude to Georgia-Pacific for their steady, visionary support.