The Academy of Goal Achievers, or TAOGA, is a youth leadership and mentoring organization all about helping high school and college students prepare for life. They begin working with high school students as early as 14-years-old and continue working with them through not only high school graduation, but a 4-year college degree, a 2-year college degree or trade school.
“There’s a lot of paths, and I think it’s about choosing what path is right for you,” Courtnie says.
Since founding it in 2013, Courtnie’s organization has reached hundreds of students and expanded beyond Mecklenburg County. Last year, every high school senior in their program went on to successfully complete their freshman year at the college or post-secondary institution of their choice.
As TAOGA continues to grow, Courtnie is focused on partnering with more schools in the area as well as business partners who might be willing to allow TAOGA students to come shadow or intern for short stints. She’s also working to expand scholarship opportunities for the students so they begin their careers with as little debt as possible.
“Our big goal isn’t just to send our students to college or trade schools, but with as little debt as possible so when they get their first job, it can really be a fresh start,” she says.
You can listen to our full episode with Courtnie above or by searching for Zero to Ten wherever you like to listen to your podcasts. To learn more about TAOGA, to donate to the organization or to get involved as a volunteer or partner, click here.