Disclaimer: This post is written as part of a partnership with the The Coca-Cola Company and the 2016 Coca-Cola Pay It Forward program for high school students.

It’s hard to believe that my oldest son is so close to finishing up his first year of high school! Thoughts and conversations of college and life after high school are becoming part of our regular routine. Wowsers!

One thing we consistently discuss is the importance of being a well-balanced citizen. Academics are important. Giving back and being aware of what’s going on in your local and global world are just as important, in my opinion.

Allowing him to spread his wings and providing opportunities for him to connect with others are high on my list of priorities – even though thought makes me a tad nostalgic. (Wasn’t I just bringing my little preemie home last month???) My goal is to raise a well-rounded teen that will grow and mature into a well-rounded gentleman.

Raise A Well-Rounded Teen

Below are some the ways I am working to raise a well-rounded teen:

  • Foster their creativity. My teen is passionate about art and I encourage him to use his talent in as many ways as possible: decorating his little sisters room; designing logos for my business and assisting with the layout of my tables at trade shows. Determine what arts your teen loves and provide them with ways to enjoy it – music, dance, theater, museums, the list is endless.
  • Volunteer together as a family in your local community.
  • Teach them financial literacy and budgeting skills.
  • Spend quality time together as a family. Those moments truly matter.
  • Allow them to foster friendships and relationships outside of your family. Having a diverse group of friends helps them to learn so many life skills and shows them how to appreciate the differences of the many cultures of our world.
  • Allow them to think for themselves. They’ll make mistakes. However, isn’t it better for them to “live and learn” in the safety of your home? Have open and honest conversations on the pros and cons of requests. I am learning not to say “no” and to listen to my teenager’s reasons for wanting to participate in different activities.
  • Show them how to communicate effectively – verbally and written.

By introducing my teen to opportunities like the 2016 Coca-Cola Pay It Forward program, I am offering him ways to spread his wings and leave his comfort zone. I encourage you to share this opportunity with eligible teens and parents of teens that you know.

Pay It Forward Prize Pack #CokePayItForward

Thanks to Coca-Cola I am giving away the prize pack pictured above. Head to our Facebook page to enter through midnight EST on March 31, 2016.

The Coca-Cola Pay It Forward program is open to high school students, grades 9-12 (nominees must be 13 by June 3), and the moms/guardians who love and support their academic and philanthropic endeavors. Nominators must be 13 years of age or older. Eligible high school teens may also nominate themselves. Potential winners will be selected and notified on or around June 20. Each winning student will receive a $5,000 scholarship to assist with his/her pursuit of higher education and a 3-day trip to the Coca-Cola Pay It Forward Academy. Nominations must be received by March 31.

coke pay it forward

You can nominate high school teens for a chance to win a mentorship experience at the Coca-Cola Pay It Forward Academy and a $5,000 scholarship by going here.