Teens Thrive on Campus


Many teens take the summer off, but not at the Y. In fact, a group of driven teens may work a little harder during the summer months. YMCA Teen Achievers is a program where staff and volunteers tutor, mentor and provide college/career shadowing opportunities to hundreds of students who may be struggling academically and/or socially.


“At the Y, we think all kids should have the equal opportunity to learn and be successful,” explains Senior Program Director Wayne Johnson. “Sometimes students don’t have the right financial means or opportunities to be successful, so we just want to level the playing field. We want all kids to have the opportunity to have a quality learning experience.”


The Y keeps the minds of more than 45 Teen Achievers active with a daily summer academic program on the Ybor City campus of Hillsborough Community College (HCC). They participate in college and career readiness workshops and attend weekend retreats where they learn from guest speakers and adult role models. They also work together on mock court cases modeled after real-life criminal cases. This summer curriculum has been proven to result in character development and academic gains.


“We’re trying to combat summer learning loss. We know a lot of our students don’t take the time during the summer to open up a book or to continue academics,” says Wayne. “What we’re trying to do, at the Y, is get kids back in the classrooms so when school starts they’re still in the same culture of learning.”


For the past three years, generosity from the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County has allowed us to engage these young minds when school is out of session. In addition, a recent TEGNA Foundation grant helps us provide hot meals so the kids can focus in class.


Thank you to HCC Ybor City Campus President Dr. Shawn Robinson for hosting the Y’s summer academic program year after year. To help support continued learning opportunities for Teen Achievers, contact wayne.johnson@tampaymca.org.


Click on the link above to watch the story. The Teen Achievers summer program is possible thanks to the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County and other generous donors like TEGNA Foundation, which owns WTSP 10News. The local TV station’s Manager of Strategic Partnerships, Kathryn Bursch, presented the group a $3,000 check on July 10.

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