While it’s never been easy to be a teenager, today’s youth is faced with a whole new set of challenges. One local organization, Healthy Teens Coalition of Manatee County, is dedicated to providing area teens with the knowledge and skills they need to make informed choices about their physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being.
They primarily do this through their Teen Health Educator Program, which trains high school students to become peer educators and mentors for other teens regarding health issues in their community. These teens receive extensive training on critical topics like bullying, sexual health, mental health, substance abuse, and more.
According to Executive Director Jonathan Evans, this youth-led model works well because the teens that participate in the program are thoroughly trained, committed to the program, and very responsible. Although there is always an adult leader present during every event or presentation, the teens have the leadership skills needed to handle it on their own and do a great job at serving their peers professionally.
Another advantage of peer mentoring is that it allows the program to have the “inside scoop” on the real issues that are facing teens today. This helps them address issues that adults may not even realize are a problem among today’s youth.
Once Teen Health Educators graduate high school, Healthy Teens invites them to join the Young Adult Leader program, a paid opportunity to further develop their leadership skills by taking on more responsibility with the organization, like being a project team leader and mentoring the teen educators. Recently, they also trained a number of team members on trauma education and prevention. These teens now form the Trauma Leadership Corps (TLC).
If you would like to learn more about these programs or would like the TLC to come speak to your organization, you’re encouraged to get in touch by giving them a call at 941-867-0252.
Become a Teen Health Educator
Teens interested in participating in this nationally recognized program are welcome to apply. Participating in the program not only helps youth build confidence but it also allows them to develop important skills like public speaking and teamwork. In addition, it qualifies for community service hours and looks great on college applications.
To qualify, teens must be Manatee or Sarasota County residents or attend school here, have a minimum 2.5 unweighted GPA, and be between the ages of 14 and 19. Take a look at their online application to learn more.
Support Health Teens Coalition of Manatee
Want to support this incredible organization? There are many different ways you can get involved! Donations are always welcome or you can make an in-kind donation of youth-focused prizes and give-aways or catering for events and activities.
They’re also always looking for savvy volunteers to help with fundraising, visibility, and staff events and activities. To learn more, visit their website or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with all the latest news and events.