Two YMCA Teen Achiever Students

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.

Quick Info

Overview

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.

Program Curriculum

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
  • Internships
  • Enrichment Activities
  • Life Skills
  • Job Fairs
  • Onsite Career Shadowing and Tours
  • College Tours
  • Career Exploration

College Tours

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!

College Tours Info
Teen Achievers

The Five Pillars

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.

Pillar 1

Academics

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.

Pillar 2

College Knowledge

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.

Pillar 3

Positive Relationships

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.

Pillar 4

Life Skills

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.

Pillar 5

Positive Identity

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.

Program Goals

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

Self-Management

Make choices, take positive risks and persist through life’s challenges.

Social Skills

Take others’ perspectives into consideration, as well as express caring and empathy.

Contribution

Capacity to give energy and time to help their family, community and society.

Positive Identity

An internal sense of positive self-worth and self-efficacy as they explore who they are.

Academic Self-Efficacy

Motivation and confidence in their academic performance.

Group of people meeting outdoors for a Teen Achievers meeting

Ways you can help

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

Our Commitment

Your child’s safety is our priority. Find out more about our commitment to keeping kids safe.

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!