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Our Story

Have you ever thought about the issues that teenagers struggle with in middle school and high school? Sex, drugs, alcohol, skipping school, gang violence, depression, eating disorders…the list goes on.


Consider these statistics:


-More than 62% of high school seniors are sexually active,
-In the past month, 39% of high school seniors admitted to drinking alcohol.
-Almost 25% of high school students have used marijuana.


And the numbers are even worse when you consider students who are “at-risk.”


So what can you do?


In 2007, William Johnson, a successful businessman with PT Services, Inc., continued to have conversations with teenagers that would trouble him and keep him up at night.

He began to think about ways to come alongside students to give them something more than a class on “what not to do” in high school.


William began to invest his own money in what would later become Thrive Youth Development, Inc. Eventually, in 2013, he sold his business and decided to work with students full-time.


He didn’t like the use of the word “at-risk” because it seemed to suggest these students were expected to end up down the wrong road. Instead, he chose to view students as “at-promise” because he saw the incredible potential that lived within each and every young person.


You see, an individual’s success is not measured by the number of things you abstain from, but it is measured by what one actively engages in or accomplishes. It is not simply making As and Bs, or staying away from drugs, or graduating high school. Success is measured by the people who are positively affected because of your presence in their life.


Thrive Youth Development, Inc. works to see this happen all over metro Atlanta. Every Saturday at Perimeter College in Clarkston, Georgia, Thrive develops leaders through its Leadership Program, using research-based curriculum and inspirational mentors. By incorporating Toastmasters International (which teaches public speaking and leadership skills) and Teach One, Lead One  (which teaches universal life principles in the classroom that combines with education to make a purposeful student).


During the week, Thrive works in small groups in both middle and high schools, teaching life skills to teenagers during an hour of the school day. We use Life On Point , a teen-centered curricula encompassing topics that range from managing emotions and boundary setting to dating, addiction, and actualizing one’s potential.


If you partner with us, you will be doing more than simply helping at-promise students achieve academic success. You will be doing more than keeping kids out of trouble while in middle school and high school. You will be directly impacting students who are then going back into their communities and putting those life skills into action.


Many students in our leadership program develop into Junior Mentors, assisting the facilitators. Students demonstrate improved grades, improved behavior in school and at home, better communication, better conflict resolution skills, and they are enthusiastic about community service.


When you partner with us, you are donating to fund scholarships for students who want to participate in our Leadership Program but do not have the finances to do so. Your contribution helps pay for:


-curriculum and materials, including a custom-made journal for each student
-two (2) different community service projects
-facilitators and leaders
-weekly transportation to and from Emory University Goizueta Business School campus (1300 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA) for students during the Saturday Leadership Program
-weekly facility rental at Emory University
-hot breakfast for students each Saturday morning


Thrive develops student leaders who then develop communities. Will you join us in developing future community leaders?