With holidays just around the corner, it’s the season for sharing.

For the Coca-Cola Australia Foundation, sharing happens all year round with grants awarded to support a variety of community projects.

And 2014 will continue that proud tradition after the CCAF board met to make funding decisions for the New Year.

One of the grant recipients is the Clontarf Foundation, a behavioural change programme that’s focused on indigenous education and employment. It received a two-year funding commitment that was celebrated by staff and students who visited Coca-Cola’s North Sydney office in December.

“Today is the pinnacle of a long journey, a lot of these guys have been in the program for five or six years, and are about to graduate,” Brendan Petterson, Director of Clontarf’s Centralian Academy, told the room full of students and Coca-Cola executives.

Brendan said the academy’s annual trip from Alice Springs to Sydney was a reward for students’ great attendance and hard work. It’s a chance to open their eyes and minds to worlds that lie ahead for Clontarf students.

“Being here today is just one part of that – and without your support there’d be no way we could bring these 14 young men here,” Brendan said.

Over a barbecue lunch the Clontarf students opened up about their time at school, their lives in Alice Springs and what they wanted for the future.

Year 12 graduate Liam Presley said he was looking forward to doing a Bachelor of Health at university, and reflected on his time with Clontarf.

“Going to training every Friday morning, going to school and being with mates who are pretty much family,” he said. “It’s taught me about dedication.”

Hands Up for a Shared Future

Another grant recipient is the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience, a national organisation well on its way to achieving its goal of steering 10,000 Indigenous kids through its high school mentoring program by 2016.

AIME’s mission is to create a culture where each time kids take a step forward they throw a hand back and bring someone with them.

It’s a similar story at fellow grant recipient Beacon Foundation.

By taking a community approach to tackling youth unemployment, Beacon aims to help young people make informed decisions about their future pathways.

If your community organisation is interested in applying for a Coca-Cola Australia Foundation grant, click here for more information.