Applications are open!

By Jake Hanson, HTC Young Adult Leader

None of the work that we do during the year would be possible without the work of our Teen Health Educators, and we want more of you to join us! Our applications for the Teen Health Educator Program 2021-2022 school year are officially open. The program trains and equips high-school students (including rising freshmen) to become peer-educators on health topics and issues affecting their community.

If you are in high school and are someone who cares about your community and the people living there; loves learning about new topics ranging from mental health, drug and alcohol use, teen pregnancy prevention and contraception, to personal leadership and anger management; and you want to participate in a nationally recognized program, then we highly encourage you to apply today!


You’ll receive full training and a hands-on experience working in the community that’s hard to find anywhere else, as well as a fantastic network of friends and professionals in the community to work with. We try to make our recruitment process as easy and efficient as possible because we know that our volunteers are some of the most involved and committed youth in the community, so let this serve as a guide to help you fill out your application today!

The first thing that you’re going to want to do is to head over to the Teen Health Educator tab above. Here you’ll find our recruitment flyer with more info on the program, including eligibility requirements, plus options to apply online (“Electronic Application”) or via a form you can download and print out – it’s that easy!


Check out the rest of the website for more information about what we do as a non-profit organization and how our Teen Health Educators benefit from experience in the program.

We can’t wait to see your application and hope to see you soon!


Healthy Teens Annual Retreat 2021

By Sarah Averbeck, HTC Young Adult Leader

On June 29th 2021, our amazing Teen Health Educators and Young Adult Leaders had the opportunity to participate in our first in-person event of the year, the annual retreat! Held at DaySprings Conference Center in Parrish, the team shared team building, skills development, a time for reflection and a whole lot of fun and celebration.

Just like much of the world, the Healthy Teens has been operating almost entirely virtually since March 2020. While we have been delivering summer programs in person again, this was the first chance for many of our team to meet together in person, despite having worked together online for up to a year!

As part of the day, the team had the opportunity to hear from some incredible guest speakers who gave up their time to serve the Healthy Teens team. Kali Richardson, of KaliSpeaks, shared tips on communicating with confidence when we are giving presentations in our community. The team got a chance to choose a favorite topic and then prepare and share as much information as they could in one minute about that topic, to demonstrate what it feels like to present confidently i.e., on something they care about. Kali’s activity strengthened their public speaking skills along with being a fabulous icebreaker. Check out Kali’s work further via, @officialkalispeaks (Instagram), or @KaliSpeakersAloud (Facebook).

The team also had the opportunity to work with Ethan Weiss, a local licensed clinical social worker from Telement Therapy. Ethan  discussed some of the information the team have learned about trauma. He then helped them learn how to reflect on the challenges, discoveries and successes from the past year during Covid-19. This gave a chance for the team to be open and vulnerable together about some of the traumatic events we have faced in our lives.  A special thank you also to Dr. Stacie Herrera of Herrera Psychology for partnering us with Ethan.

Healthy Teens then recognized our newly trained Teen Health Educators and recently graduated seniors, as the retreat doubled as a Graduation Celebration! The parents of the educators were able to join us as we honored them and all of their hard work. Founder and Chair Mary Ann Legler, and Executive Director Jonathan Evans, were on hand to present certificates to all of the Healthy Teens graduates. The event included photo booth pictures and refreshments celebrating our collective accomplishments over the past year.


Thank you to our fantastic donors for making events such as our retreat possible! If you would like to know more about our work, please check out the rest of our website, and see our Facebook and Instagram pages for more live updates!


Summer Programming

By Jake Hanson, HTC Young Adult Leader

As June draws to a close, we wanted to reflect upon our first month of the Healthy Teens summer program 2021! Every summer, our Teen Health Educators team up and volunteer with different locations serving our youth here in Manatee County. Each team is led by one or two of our Young Adult Leaders, those who have graduated from the THE program and chose to continue working with us on a paid basis! This summer, our teams have been volunteering for each week with several non-profit organizations, including the Educational Consultants Consortium (Kelly Brown Center), Family Resources Safe Place 2B Youth Shelter, Palmetto Boys and Girls Club, DeSoto Boys and Girls Club, and the Safe Children’s Coalition Teen Summit.


At each of these locations, we strive to do more than simply present education through peer-on-peer interactions. Our Teen Health Educators and Young Adult Leaders love to create meaningful relationships with every single student, and we often come away from each presentation having learned something new ourselves. We engage in genuine discussions about serious topics and have no hesitation when it comes to talking about issues that are presenting themselves in our students - whether someone is a victim of bullying and peer pressure, or needs advice on how to prepare for a job interview.


We are always looking to expand our list of educational topics to make sure they are focused on the issues that are actually affecting youth in our area so that we are constantly providing up-to-date, applicable information. Our list of topics for this summer includes the use of social media, job interview skills, e-cigarettes, and vaping, bullying, trauma, peer pressure, mental health, contraceptive/sexually transmitted diseases, substance use, and anger management. We know that these lessons can be serious and can present a lot of sensitive and challenging information. Therefore, we always try to be as interactive as possible and help the students get to know us better, so they feel more comfortable accepting the information we share and may even feel up to sharing their own personal experiences!


Young Adult Leader, Jake Hanson, has been volunteering with other THEs at some of our locations this summer. Jake says, “I’ve been at DeSoto and Palmetto Boys and Girls Club, as well as the Kelly Brown Center, and this has been one of the best summers so far. We’ve covered a lot of information already, like job interview skills and trauma management, and we’ve also had some really great discussions and I think everyone’s getting comfortable enough to share specific experiences they’ve had relating to the content.” Aside from presenting, our teams also play games and do different activities and icebreakers to get to know everyone better.


Finally, on behalf of the Healthy Teens Coalition, Chaplain Kelvin Foster - a certified trauma specialist - is providing educational information and mentoring to students at AMIKids Manatee. His lessons and mentoring center around trauma and mental well-being, and the AMI Kids program provides for year-round education for middle school boys to grow both personally and academically.

We are so excited to continue through the end of this month and into July at all of our wonderful non-profit locations, and to continue educating others while making those meaningful and genuine friendships with every student!


Check out our Facebook and Instagram pages to keep up to date with

everything going on with Healthy Teens!


Trauma Learning Corps Training

by Amandine Louis-Charles, HTC Young Adult Leader

The training began with a brief description of neuroscience and how trauma impacts the brain. We learned about the ways that trauma can affect the development of certain parts of the brain including the prefrontal cortex, which eventually affects our daily behaviors and how we react to stress and traumatic experiences.

As an introduction to the effects of traumatic experiences from a young age, we took the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) Test. This test includes questions on traumatic experiences before the age of 18, such as household dysfunctions (mental illness, divorce, substance abuse, etc.), physical and emotional neglect, and different types of abuse. Within that same topic, we also made connections between childhood experiences and our invisible backpacks, our past experiences affect the way we interact with our environments and our mental health.

A large majority of the training was based on traumatic experiences, coping mechanisms, and mental health. We also learned about self-care, approaching this topic by creating two plans. A safety plan, which is a set of daily practices to incorporate in our lives to take care of our mental health, and an emergency plan, which is a set of activities or things we can rely on when an unexpected event triggers a memory of trauma or affects us in a negative way. Another crucial aspect of this training is addressing community and organizational trauma, which tends to have a larger impact because one traumatic event affects everyone in different ways. Hence, having a Trauma Leadership Corps in our community is crucial to ensure that organizations are trauma-informed to provide better support for their members.


New Partnership Alert!

We are excited to announce a new partnership with HealthCorps., a national organization founded by Dr. Oz, focusing on youth health. The new project, known as the Teens Make Health Happen club, is a 12-week program that gives members the opportunity to identify a community health problem, create a solution, and present their solution at a showcase where they'll have the opportunity to compete for money to implement their plan within their community.


Currently, Healthy Teens Coalition has 4 Teen Health Educators and 3 Young Adult Leaders participating in the program. Our Healthy Teens Coalition team meets weekly to discuss the health project! 


We Bid Adieu to Our Beloved Treasurer, Gary Hickerson.

Our 10th  anniversary marked the end of an era for the HTC board, as we said goodbye to our dear friend, Gary, after a decade of dedicated service! Gary was a founding board member of Healthy Teens Coalition and served as our treasurer from the very beginning. He had a long and distinguished career working in health care and medical insurance. His leadership was instrumental in our organization’s growth, development, and current financial stability.  


We are deeply grateful to him for sharing his financial expertise and strategic insight in building HTC’s sustainability. We can’t thank him enough for the countless volunteer hours he put into managing HTC’s finances, especially at the beginning, before we had funds for paid personnel! We wish Gary all the best in his new life adventures!


Healthy Teens Coalition Receives Grant From

Selby Foundation

Currently, 23 Teen Health Educators are providing critical services to local adolescents; the 8-week Teen Health Educator Training Program is slated for spring 2021 and will be held virtually. Virtual presentations and mentoring activities are currently taking place.  We hope to re-initiate actual in-person presentations and mentoring activities this summer.


With the gracious support of the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation COVID-19 grant, this program was able to purchase iPads that will be used for training the incoming Teen Health Educators, for virtual peer mentoring activities, and virtual presentations at various sites such as the Boys & Girls Club, Family Resources SafePlace2B, etc. Other technologies will also be used to increase the organization’s capacity to develop a secure portal within the organization’s website, as well as to create and disseminate social media campaigns.


We'd like to thank the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation members for their kind and generous donation, which helps us to increase the impact that we have in our community.

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The Results Are In!

The Multicultural Action Team ran from August 3, 2020, through December 18, 2020. During that time, the Healthy Teens Coalition participated in 147 events, served roughly 5,500 community members, distributed 1,030 hand sanitizers, 3,130 masks, and handed out 450 referral cards. 


It was an honor to serve our community alongside such a dynamic and caring group of partners-thank you Manatee County for making that possible.

SRQ Strong Awarded Community Impact Grant from Community Foundation of Sarasota County


In an effort to respond to the increasing impact of stress on the mental health of youth, SRQ Strong and Healthy Teens Coalition of Manatee County (HTC) have partnered to develop a local youth trauma training team, called the Trauma Leadership Corps. According to psychologist Andrea Blanch, a founding member of SRQ Strong, “When people understand the impact of stress and trauma, they are better able to manage their own wellness and to be more compassionate to others.”

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Healthy Teens Coalition Chosen as Shamrock Shiver
Charity Recipient

WWSB, By Daniela Hurtad, January 1, 2021

The 13th annual Shamrock Shiver Charity Plunge at Bradenton Beach was held on Friday. The event is put on by Clancy’s Irish Sports Pub and Grill aiming to give back to the community. Every year they choose charities to help through generous donations made through the event.  “Can’t think of a better way to ring in a new year. And to keep the money local and to help organizations like these that make a difference in people’s lives. I think it’s important to remember the holidays aren't always a happy time for people and this is just giving money to people that are focused year round on helping people that are less fortunate,” said Clancy’s Pub Charity spokesperson, Krissy Bilbrey.

She says the goal is to meet the $25,000 they raised last year or surpass it. Organizers say they’ve raise $270,000 since they began holding the charity event.

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Tidewell Receives Grant to Facilitate COVID-19 Partnership in Manatee County


On behalf of a local collaborative of nonprofit providers and community groups, Tidewell Hospice has received a grant from Manatee County to facilitate a countywide initiative that will bring together community partners to protect the health and well-being of at-risk residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, known as the Multicultural Action Team (MAT). 

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Multicultural Action Team Helps Minorities Combat COVID-19

SUNCOAST NEWS NETWORK, September 15, 2020

Manatee County professionals are coming together to help protect the health and well-being of some residents. The pandemic has in part exposed health disparities within the Black and Latino communities.

"In Manatee County about 15% of the population and about 9% is Latinx/Hispanic.  What’s surprising when you look at the national statistics is that the rate of infection around COVID is significantly higher than in the Caucasian communities," says Tidewell Foundation president Debbie Mason. 

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Manatee CARES Act funding creates new COVID-19 partnership


Manatee County CARES Act funding has helped facilitate a new collaboration focused on protecting the county’s most at-risk residents from COVID-19.  A $342,000 grant to Tidewell Hospice will help found the Multicultural Action Team: A countywide initiative focused on prevention, education, advocacy, research, linkage to care and sustainable solutions.

Other community partners in the MAT include UnidosNow, Gulf Coast Latin Chamber of Commerce, Healthy Teens Coalition of Manatee County, Inc., New College of Florida, The Links Inc. Bradenton/Sarasota Chapter and Resilient American Communities an initiative of Health Initiatives Foundation Inc.

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Healthy Teens of Bradenton, FL Coalition Celebrates With 10th Birthday E-Vent

THE SUNCOAST POST, August 29, 2020

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. Healthy Teens Coalition of Manatee County was planning to hold a party to celebrate its tenth anniversary. The pandemic required to group to go back to the drawing board. They decided to hold a virtual birthday party instead.The party will culminate with a livestream to take place on September 10, from 6 – 6:45 p.m. The entertaining evening will include all of the elements of an in-person party. The event includes making a signature Birthday Berry Mojito signature cocktail and features live entertainment from students of the Del Couch Music Education Foundation. A basket of premium wine will be awarded on-air as a door prize. The winner’s name drawn from the list of donors.


Importance of masks is key message for Manatee County officials

FOX 13 TAMPA BAY, BRADENTON - A new coalition named Mask Up Manatee will focus to spread public health and COVID-19-related information to residents throughout Manatee County.

Local non-profit agencies part of today's announcement included the Healthy Teens Coalition, Unidos Now, United Way Suncoast, Manatee Education Association and the Manatee Community Foundation.

Healthy Teens Coalition of Manatee County to Honor High School Graduates


While graduation ceremonies around the country continue to be canceled due to Covid19, the Healthy Teens Coalition of Manatee County, Inc. – a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of at risk youth through peer to peer education – is planning a drive by celebration to honor graduating seniors and the newest members of the Coalition’s Teen Health Educator class.

With social distancing guidelines in mind, on Tuesday, May 26th and Wednesday, May 27th, family members, friends, teachers, and supporters of the Healthy Teens organization will caravan to the homes of 26 students: 12 graduating seniors (who have been active in the Teen Health Educator program), and 14 members of the Coalition’s newest Teen Health Educator class.

“Our Teen Health Educators are the driving force behind our award-winning program,” says Evelyn Almodovar, Program Director for Healthy Teens Coalition of Manatee County. “Especially during these difficult times we think it’s important to recognize the accomplishments and positive impact these youth leaders have made on our community.”

Since its inception in 2014, the Healthy Teens Coalition and their award-winning Teen Health Educator Program has served more than 7,000 higher risk Manatee County and Sarasota County youth. Participants in the Teen Health Educator program remain committed to serving as peer mentors and peer educators, as well as youth health advocates with elected officials. The program is a local, state, and national model.


Evelyn Almodovar Has Been Selected New Program Director at Healthy Teens Coalition of Manatee County Inc.

THE SARASOTA POST,  January 2, 2020

After a nationwide search, the good people at Healthy Teens Coalition of Manatee County Inc have chosen Evelyn Almodovar as their new Program Director. She started work here on December 2, 2019.  Ms. Almodovar has experience in leadership and has shown she has a passion for youth. She is the founder of a nonprofit in the Dominican Republic which helps children with basic needs and furthers educational opportunities. She will use her expertise in her new position as Program Director for Healthy Teens.


Advocates Impacting Change in Manatee County


When Mary Ann Legler courageously spear-headed the Healthy Teens Coalition, a decade ago, Manatee County had one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country.  By 2014, under Mary Ann's insightful guidance, the Coalition began empowering teen advocates to raise awareness about sexual and reproductive health through informative presentations to their peers. Mary Ann based her teen advocacy approach on empirical evidence, which supports the success of teen advocates throughout the world. Under her leadership, Manatee County has seen a 55% decrease in teen birth rates among 15-18-year-olds in the past eight years.

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Emma Bittar won the Youth Volunteer award for her volunteer work with Healthy Teens Coalition.


The Manatee Chamber named its 2019 Champions of Healthcare at a fabulous awards breakfast on June 20. With a crowd of more than 300 people in attendance, our event honored 70 nominees, 21 finalists, and 9 award winners.

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Swordfish Grill & Tiki In Cortez, FL To Host 'Giving Back' Event, 

May 5, 2019 -  Tickets are now on sale for one of the biggest charity events of the year, “Giving Back.” Held annually, every September, the event is always a sell-out! The event takes place on Thursday, 9/12/2019 starting at 6pm.

This year, the benefactor for the event is “Healthy Teens Coalition of Manatee County, Inc.” Their goal is empowering teens for success through education, providing teens with the tools they need to make healthy decisions. They have school based programming, providing Manatee County school districts with curriculum to prevent teen pregnancy for both girls and boys. 

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Emma's national blog regarding our advocacy trip to Washington, D.C. is live! 


For STD Awareness Month, NCSD hosted a Day of Action to educate Congress about rising STDs around the nation. Below you can read a young person's experience advocating on Capitol Hill for young people living in Florida and the shared power of stories.


Palm Aire Women's Club awards seven charities with grants.


Palm Aire Women’s Club member Patti Sue Peotter-Bettes may not originally have been slated to speak at the May 10 Palm Aire Women’s Club luncheon, but she did — and she said she had the best job of the day.


Manatee Community Foundation Grants $188,000 to 26 Local Nonprofits

Manatee Community Foundation has announced $188,000 in results-based grant awards to local nonprofits.


Migrants find support in Manatee’s school district

THE BRADENTON HERALD, November 30, 2018

The life of a migrant is ever-changing, but one thing remains constant: the support each student receives in the School District of Manatee County.

Meet the 9 people recognized as champions of health care in Manatee County


Kiarra Louis, 18, was this year's Youth Volunteer Award winner.

As a high school freshman, Louis became a teen health educator through the Healthy Teens Coalition of Manatee County. The program informs area youth about high-risk behaviors, such as substance abuse and teen pregnancy.

These Golden Herald winners are looking forward to a bright future in Manatee

BRADENTON HERALD, April 12, 2018

The future of Manatee County is in good hands thanks to nearly 150 high schoolers who are already making great strides toward improving their community.

The Bradenton Kiwanis Club March Meeting featuring Mary Ann Legler and Teen Health Educators, Flor and Eva

Mar 21, 2018



5th Annual Healthy Teens Coalition Teen Pregnancy Prevention Awards

May 16, 2017



Healthy Teen Coalition quizzes school board hopefuls

BRADENTON HERALD, October 18, 2016
Strategies to increase health — and sexual — education for Manatee County teens were among the topics discussed by the four candidates running for the two remaining school board races Tuesday.

2016 Healthy Teens Teen Pregnancy Prevention Awards & Teen Health Educator Graduation

June 6, 2016 



Manatee High School teen steals the show with her verve

MAY 26, 2016 Bradenton Herald


LAKEWOOD RANCH--Long-time Bradenton dermatologist Peter J. Mattina was the star of Thursday’s 4th Annual Champions of Healthcare Awards Breakfast, but Healthy Teen volunteer Flor Zamora stole the show.

Manatee Healthy Teens name ‘Youth of the Year

MAY 17, 2016 Bradenton Herald


Cara Peters, 18, of Manatee High, earns ‘Youth’ award Manatee social workers Tomeo, Costigan, share ‘Adult of the Year’ Carlton Bennett honored as first grad of Teen Parent GED & Family Resources, Inc receives Non-profit of the Year ...

Manatee Schools educating teens about pregnancy

MAY 10, 2016 Bay News 9



With May being National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, the Manatee County School District is acknowledging it, hoping to raise awareness.

Teen births: Most are in the South and Southwest

Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY August 20, 2014


Births per 1,000 teenagers (ages 15–19)range from a low of 13.8 in New Hampshire to a high of 47.5 in New Mexico, according to the report from the National Center for Health Statistics based on 2012 data, the most recent available for the states.

Healthy Teens Presents Awards

By Online Staff Report , Herald-Tribune/ Tuesday, May 27, 2014


For the second year, the Healthy Teens Coalition of Manatee County Inc. recognized individuals and organizations making contributions to reducing teenage pregnancy rates and increasing the health and welfare of youth.


The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Recognition Awards were given May 20 at Renaissance on 9th, Bradenton, as a part of National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month.

Healthy Teens Coalition Gives Prevention Awards

Bradenton Herald May 30, 2014


BRADENTON -- Four honors were given by the Healthy Teens Coalition of Manatee to individuals and groups making significant contributions in reducing teen pregnancy and increasing youth health and welfare during the second annual Teen Pregnancy Prevention Recognition Awards last week.



2nd Annual Teen Pregnancy Prevention Recognition Awards

Published Saturday, May 24, 2014 


Last Tuesday, the Healthy Teens Coalition of Manatee County, Inc. (HTC)  recognized local individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to reducing teen pregnancy rates and to increasing the health and welfare of youth in the county during its Second Annual Teen Pregnancy Prevention Recognition Awards.


May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, and as part of on-going efforts and activities throughout the month, the HTC presented the following awards at the event: