Teens In Action™

Civic Engagement & Leadership Program

Teens In Action™ is a 10-month civic engagement and leadership program grounded in social and emotional learning (SEL).

Teens In Action’s 9th-12th grade participants from schools across Hillsborough County engage in SEL workshops with insightful guest speakers to equip them with the emotional intelligence skills necessary for personal, academic, and professional success. The teens then apply these skills through weekly volunteerism, enriching both the community and themselves.

Community Service

Participating teens earn 80+ community service hours that can be used toward a Bright Futures Scholarship. Teens select a partnering service site in their field of interest to volunteer at on a weekly basis, applying the emotional intelligence skills learned at monthly workshops. Ultimately, participants develop a deeper level of empathy for others and leadership skills to carry forward to college and beyond.

In addition to weekly community service at their site (Tier 1), teens have optional but encouraged opportunities to provide additional, ongoing service to the community (Tier 2), and to support one-time events needing volunteers (Tier 3). These events provide ample opportunities for teens to earn community service hours while applying the skills of emotional intelligence for the benefit of our community.

Building Crucial Life Skills

Teens In Action™ is supported by data. At the beginning of each program year, Teens In Action™ participants evaluate themselves in a survey about key social and emotional competencies. The teens then complete the same survey as a post-assessment after they graduate.

According to teens’ self-reports from the 2019-2020 program year:
  • 65% of teens improved their self-management skills (such as using calming strategies, showing resilience, and taking initiative)
  • 65% of teens improved their social awareness (such as listening to others and understanding how others think and feel)
  • 70% of teens improved in relationship skills (such as solving problems with others, expressing disagreement in constructive ways, and working well in teams)

Capstone Service Project

The Capstone Service Project is an all-team initiative that gives Teens In Action™ participants the opportunity to work toward a common goal as a group. This culminating service project gives teens experience in both planning and execution, allowing them to apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired throughout the year to give back to the community.

Teens In Action really encourages you to be a leader and to be an effective one. The leadership skills I’ve gained will help me throughout my career.

I have learned a lot about social and emotional learning through TIA, and I am sure that all competencies will help me in my career and life in general. Self-management, social awareness, self-awareness, decision making, and relationship skills are all crucial to a successful career.

Teens In Action has helped me grow as a person by constantly challenging me to be a better version of myself. I have learned new ways to communicate with adults and I have also found my love for volunteering.

Teens In Action has helped me grow so much in my leadership skills. I have learned how to effectively communicate with a larger group while also listening to everyone’s input. My work in the Capstone Service Project has taught me how to take initiative to meet deadlines and stay on task. Finally, I learned how to be more confident in front of big groups and really have stepped out of my shell.

The thing I valued most about Teens In Action this year was the incredible guest speakers at our… workshops. It was such a privilege to hear from some of the most hardworking, compassionate people in the Tampa Bay Area.

My favorite part about Teens In Action is getting to connect with so many people in our community outside of my normal group. I love getting to know all the Teens In Action members, especially since some of them don’t go to the same school as me and I otherwise would not have met them. I especially love getting to connect with the children from [my service site] on a personal level and watch them develop socially and emotionally throughout the year.

One way Teens In Action has helped me grow academically is through the many tips we have learned for stress management through workshops. I have learned tips to deal with stress from school such as going on walks, keeping a journal, listening to music, and more. I use these tips every day at school whenever I feel overwhelmed with tests and homework.

Teens In Action has helped me in a multitude of ways such as expanding my comfort zone, strengthening my leadership skills, and making new connections with different people. Becoming a team lead has helped me learn many different leadership skills that I had previously lacked, and I have confidence that I will carry those skills with me outside of Teens In Action and in real-life applications.

Teens In Action has helped me grow academically by teaching me new ways to deal with my problems. If I encounter a problem with school, I now have better strategies to solve it and, if need be, talk to my teachers with respect.

Teens In Action has helped me become a more personable leader. I’ve always had the kind of attitude to go out and take control, but Teens In Action has taught me to do it in a respectful manner and has taught me to lead through involvement and example.

Learn More About Teens In Action™