If we were to imagine a best-case scenario for our Teens In Action (TIA) program, we would begin by telling Alyssa’s story. Those who attended the Heart and Heart Luncheon were given the opportunity to hear Alyssa speak about her experience with social and emotional learning (SEL). 

Now a college student, Alyssa reflected on her senior year in high school when she won an award at the Head and Heart Luncheon and went on to intern with Frameworks that following summer.

Alyssa attended the University of Tampa, where she majored in nursing, volunteered her time with PEACE and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and received a scholarship that provides support to underrepresented first-year college students. During her first semester, she even made the Dean’s List with a 4.0 GPA. Alyssa was thriving as an honors student and in her extra-curricular activities, but she didn’t know that she would soon face the most challenging chapter of her life.

The following semester, on January 16, her father suffered a fatal heart attack. This sudden tragedy sent Alyssa into an overwhelming state of grief and she found herself resorting to past coping behaviors such as depression and unrelenting self-criticism. However, because of her involvement with TIA, Alyssa was able to fall back on the lessons she learned on how to properly deal with difficult emotions.

When it comes to social and emotional competencies, self-awareness is a key component for healthy coping mechanisms. According to CASEL, “the ability to accurately recognize one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior… enhances students’ capacity to integrate skills, attitudes, and behaviors to deal effectively and ethically with daily tasks and challenges.”

Alyssa’s story truly embodies our mission of building a Framework for success. She credits TIA for giving her the emotional resources she needed to navigate the trauma from her father’s untimely death. In regard to the impact TIA can have, Alyssa said, “Frameworks taught me lessons that will last a lifetime. After middle school and high school, kids will grow up knowing how to cope, even at their lowest moments.”

Our campaign to Build a Framework for Youth Success ends this week, but the impact our teachers and SEL specialists make will last a lifetime. Make a difference in the lives of Tampa Bay youth by joining our movement today!