Orange Duffle Bag Initiative Helps Cobb Students Achieve Success 

One group of Cobb County School District students are more prepared to achieve success in the first semester of 2019 thanks to the training they received from the Orange Duffle Bag Initiative. 

During the fall semester, 12 Cobb students underwent a 12-week after school coaching program that provides executive level certified coaching to high school students who are homeless, in foster care, or experiencing high poverty, and are at a significantly greater risk of not completing their education.  

The Cobb students graduated from the program before winter break, and each one received a laptop and an orange duffel bag to help them in the new year. During the graduation ceremony, the Cobb students presented their life and education plans. 

“Graduation presentations were inspiring – one student even achieved a SMART goal he set to bring his physics grade from an F to a B,” said Ana Murphy, Cobb School Social Work supervisor. 

The Orange Duffle Bag program aims to build upon academic learning of those high school students who are at risk to assist them in creating self-driven education and life plans; to empower them to further their post-secondary education through internships, apprenticeships and community involvement; and to provide the tools to aid their future success, and offer program graduates college and career readiness events and “college-bound experiences.” 

Each student receives executive-level certified life coaching, the program’s 7 Rules for the Road curriculum, meals, and materials. Throughout the 12 weeks, students develop their own life and education plans. They are connected with a family of Orange Duffle Bag advocates who help them effectively overcome barriers as they work to achieve their plans.  

The program focuses on the following: 

  • Self-reliance
  • Self-advocacy
  • Education planning and career exploration
  • Improved critical thinking
  • Safe and sustainable relationships
  • Community involvement
  • Peer-to-peer mentoring

Each coaching class is continually measured for key long-term and short-term outcomes: 

  • High school education achievement
  • SAT, ACT or Compass – test prep and exam completion
  • FAFSA Completion
  • Entrance to college or technical school
  • Post-secondary achievement
  • Successful transition out of foster care or homelessness
  • Stable housing
  • Employment