Life is a Journey
Being a teenager can be overwhelming, especially if you’re growing up in an unstable environment. “Many teens assume their struggles are unique to them,” says Senior Program Director Wayne Johnson. “They see life in a vacuum.” Studies show the adolescent journey gets a little easier if given opportunities to stand up and take responsibility. That’s what the Tampa YMCA’s Teen Achievers program strives to do by helping teens strengthen their academic, social and leadership skills.
Y Teen Achievers targets students who need intense academic and/or social support. The goal is to improve academic performance while helping teens develop a positive self-image, build character, explore college and career options and interact with adult role models to inspire them to reach their full potential.
Recently, Teen Achievers from Howard W. Blake High School attended a Saturday Academy at the Bob Gilbertson Central City Family Y. Adult mentors in various career fields provided day-long, experiential skill-building sessions that introduce teens to the basics in various professional fields and clarify the educational and skill demands of their career fields.
“These adults, or as we refer to them ‘Parade of Professionals,’ engaged our teens with a transparent view of their personal lives and careers,” explains Wayne. “Every professional shared an obstacle in their lives that they had to overcome to be successful.” In addition to a healthy cooking demonstration and meal provided by Where Love Grows, the teens learned “…that life can still be great in spite of a few bumps in the road,” shares Wayne. “Life is a journey.”
Y Teen Achievers is helping more than 450 at-risk middle and high school students pass the FCAT, graduate on time and continue on a path to success. But it wouldn’t happen without the support of donors, volunteers and staff. “Thank you to the volunteers who sacrificed their valuable weekend time to invest in our youth,” says Wayne.
Pictured above: Y Teen Achievers spent a Saturday learning from various professionals in differing career fields.