Healthy Teens Coalition of Manatee County: Using Peer Education to Reduce Risky Teen Behaviors


Healthy Teens Coalition of Manatee County: Using Peer Education to Reduce Risky Teen Behaviors

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, the Healthy Teens Coalition of Manatee County, is dedicated to providing area teens with the knowledge and skills they need to make smart choices about their physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being.

They primarily do this through their Peer Mentoring program, which trains teens to become health 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 are always two adults present during events and training, they’re really not “needed,” as these kids have the leadership skills to handle it on their own.

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.

The organization also has a program called Trauma Leadership Corps (TLC) which is a trained group of teens and adults that help other teens with grief.

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! Cash donations are always welcome or you can make an in-kind donation of youth-focused prizes and give-aways or refreshments 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 You can also follow them on Facebook to keep up with all the latest news and events.

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