Empowering Teens for Future Success
Achievers is a national college and career readiness program, delivered by the Y, which supports students in setting and reaching higher education and career goals.
Since 1990, the Teen Achievers program has played a pivotal role in Central Florida ensuring that teens successfully matriculate through middle school and high school. Today, there are more than 13,000 Teen Achiever Alumni! With tutoring and inspiration from their mentors, students learn the importance of focus, drive, and ambition in reaching their goals. Our Teen Achievers program provides tremendous guidance to help turn their dreams into reality.
Teen Achievers welcomes middle school and high school students from all income and academic levels in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake, and Marion counties. Students must have a desire to pursue post-secondary education such as two- and four-year college or universities, the Armed Forces, or technical schools.
YMCA Family Centers
- South Orlando YMCA
- Jones High School
- Evans High School
- Positive Pathways (Transition Center)
Teen Achievers usually meet from September to May. Meeting dates will vary based on the program location to include twice a month on alternate Saturday mornings, after school hours, weekday evenings, and other convenient times.
Teen Achievers is offered at no cost to participants because of the generous contributions of our donors and members!
Enrollment is set to begin in August 2020.
We help middle school and high school students develop plans for the future! Working with a team of volunteer mentors, teens boost their academic achievement, learn positive values, develop a strong work ethic, and embark on the path to success.
Teen Achievers delivers the 6to16™ college-readiness curriculum which includes a suggested set of core lesson plans and extensive supplemental lessons. Lessons are designed to cover 45-minute sessions and typically are taught as part of a graded course. The 6to16™ curriculum aims to equip students with the tools and skills they need to graduation from a four-year college.
Core Program Components
- Social & Cultural Field Trips
- Positive Adult and Peer Relationships
- Leadership Development
- Scholarship Support
- Service Learning Projects
- Enrichment Activities
- Life Skills
- Job Fairs
- Onsite Career Shadowing and Tours
- College Tours
- Career Exploration
College readiness is critical as post-secondary education is increasingly the primary route to upward mobility. That’s why Teen Achievers is so important in helping students reach their full potential!
When integrated, The Five Pillars collectively prepare youth for life beyond high school. They reset expectations by moving kids from a belief that college or career attainment is inaccessible to a belief that they have what it takes to go further in life.
For a variety of reasons, some teens have trouble attaining the academic and social competencies required for successful participation in school and society. Academic preparedness, school engagement, tutoring, and other program elements are essential for personal success. Research shows that well-designed, out-of-school academic programs increase achievement.
Possessing the knowledge necessary to prepare for and apply to college is essential to college matriculation. Yet, accessing information and advice about college prep and financial aid is particularly difficult for many first-generation college prospects, teens of color, or students from lower-income backgrounds.
Research proves that caring adult relationships are a critical component for youth to thrive. Healthy relationships with adults help to facilitate all other elements of the Teen Achievers program’s Five Pillars.
Students need to develop skills that will serve them well in a globally competitive, information-based society. Transferrable skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration are essential for students to succeed in the academic and ever-changing work environment.
Positive identity development helps teens craft how they see themselves and how they feel the rest of the world perceives them. During the adolescent stage of identity development, youth experience a complex and extensive effort to understand their place in the world. For teens, the ability to see their future potential and positive outcomes is critical for their personal development.
Reach Higher With Teen Achievers
With the average U.S. school counselor having a caseload of 471 students, it’s often impossible for college counselors to provide the one-to-one help to support students during the college exploration and application process.
Fortunately, programs like Teen Achievers increase post-secondary enrollment by 12% on average! Teen Achievers result in significant long-term gains, including improved social emotional learning and reduced risky behaviors. All of our students—regardless of their race, household income, or family education history—have the proper tools to access college, receive post-secondary credentials, and succeed in the workforce.
Most teenagers face uncertainty about their careers by the time they reach the end of high school, and too many head into the future without specific plans or goals. The Teen Achievers program aims to provide students with positive role models in an enriching environment to foster a desire to seek careers that inspire passion and create engaged, productive citizens in our community.
Throughout the program, teens are guided through accessing scholarship information and aided in understanding the admissions process. Students may also elect to tour colleges across the country. In some cases, the program gives teens their first opportunity to visit a college or university in person, or even travel beyond the state’s borders.
Raise Personal Expectations
Provide Inspirational Mentors
Expose Students to Diverse Career Options
Establish Post-secondary plans
Access to Career Disciplines
Y staff and volunteers engage students during semester-long workshops dedicated to specific areas of interest. Professionals also help establish job opportunities and internships related to teens’ fields of interest that help acquaint them with the working world.Job Fair Info
Desired Outcomes for Students
Make choices, take positive risks and persist through life’s challenges.
Take others’ perspectives into consideration, as well as express caring and empathy.
Capacity to give energy and time to help their family, community and society.
An internal sense of positive self-worth and self-efficacy as they explore who they are.
Motivation and confidence in their academic performance.
Ways you can help
Since the inception of Teen Achievers in 1971, volunteers have been the lifeline of our program. We engage a wide range of positive adult role models who lend their experiences, expertise, and resources. They help support positive youth development through speaker bureaus, workshop presenters, mentorship, chaperoning, and committee work. In 2019, our various corporate and community volunteers committed over 750 hours of service to our Teen Achievers program and students.
We believe that strong partnerships are the core building blocks to improving the quality of life for the youth and families we serve in our Teen Achievers program. By aligning our values and working collaboratively with community partners, we are able to leverage our resources and expertise to reach more people. We’ve also launched a Teen Achievers Job Fair and expanded our program to the Positive Pathways Transition Center. Through our collective efforts and shared responsibility, we are making an impact and changing the landscape of our community for good!
THE YMCA TEEN ACHIEVERS PROGRAM CAME INTO MY LIFE AND GAVE ME THAT EXTRA PUSH TO BE SUCCESSFUL.Ahkeem M., participant
Essentially what the YMCA provides is empowerment to students no matter journey they choose to be successful in. […] Paying it forward is very important. Programs like [this] are what give our youth opportunities.Octavia M., mentor
If I didn’t have the Y or the Teen Achievers program, I wouldn’t be graduating.Aunasia T., participant
Before, I would care what others thought of me. Now, I realize that it’s ok to be who I am and that I have found some true friends that don’t judge me.Student Participant
It was never something I would have ever done before. It was fun and I learned a lot and can’t wait to volunteer at the next event.Student Participant
I AM A 5-STAR AMBASSADOR.
“I represent myself, my family, my community, my school, and my race with dignity and excellence. I am a Teen Achiever!” Teen Achiever Pledge
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Day Camp at the Y
Activities include weekly field trips, nature activities, arts and crafts, and so much more!
Get in Touch
Do you have a question about our Teen Achievers program? Let us know!