Three female teens wearing yellow YMCA Achievers shirts hold new bags filled with hygiene and period products.

Teen Achievers at the Hillsborough County Community College – Ybor City campus. They loved their hygiene kits.

If you had to pick a clear winner when it comes to activities – Sports was it. Tampa YMCA’s Teen Achievers had another incredible summer featuring a plethora of activities ranging from the above mentioned sports to CPR training, financial literacy and mental/physical health awareness – to name just a few.

Five teens wearing yellow shirts play football outdoors. Scenery includes green grass, large trees and palm trees, a blue sky with white clouds.

Five Tampa Y Teen Achievers playing football in the park.

This summer 15 girls and 18 boys participated in the initiative, which ran for five weeks and is a “national college and career readiness program designed to help teens set and pursue educational and career goals, raise their academic standards, develop a positive sense of self, explore diverse college and career options and connect them to professionals that inspire them to reach their potential,” as explained by Stally Ojeda, Tampa Y’s Senior Program Director, Expanded Learning.

For Edmyre Morton, 12, who just started grade 7 at Williams Middle School “learning new things like how you think about yourself and others, and knowing about your emotions,” was the best part of Teen Achievers.

Micah Gamell, 12, an eighth grader at Riverview Academy of Math and Science appreciated learning about “self-improvement through mental and physical focus on personal goals."

Special guests who visited the group included Aanya Patel with Girls Global Initiative. She is well-known for her work to end period poverty and donated feminine products. BayCare representatives highlighted the importance of hygiene and distributed hygiene kits from a drive held by the Tampa Y’s Women’s Leadership Resource Network. The Spring, which provides “safe spaces and empowering services to survivors of domestic violence and their children” also came in to speak about “Love Shouldn’t Hurt,” to discuss relationships with friends and/or dating as well as things to look out for.

The Teen Achievers program is generously funded by several groups, which include: Sulphur Springs Neighborhood of Promise, Regions Foundation and Truist Foundation.

Eight Tampa Y Teen Achievers summer 2023 campers wearing matching yellow shirts pose with three staff members in an outdoor group photo. Background includes green grass, a large pond, green trees and blue skies.

Summer 2023 Teen Achievers campers with Tampa Y staff.

“Teen Achievers is an intentional effort to create equity in education and the workplace by motivating minority youth to develop and pursue high educational and career goals with culturally relevant role models. We strive to help students understand and demonstrate knowledge of the process for a productive life after high school, whether that means getting into and financing college or vocational school or navigating the military acceptance process. Students receive assistance collecting, completing and submitting the appropriate materials and applications. We help teens explore a vision of success for their future with a focus on college and career goals,” noted Ojeda.

Interested in supporting Teen Achievers? Please donate here.

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023.