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Teens In Action Help Tampa High Schoolers Learn Leadership and Civic Engagement

Students and mentors around a table discussing a topic.

BY ERIN MURRAY TAMPA | Spectrum News – Bay News 9
PUBLISHED 6:58 AM ET APR. 07, 2021

Tampa, Fla. – Sometimes the best way to learn is to teach. Maggie Malizia knows this, as she works with students at Cornerstone Kids Inc. in Tampa Heights.

The Plant High Junior is part of Frameworks Tampa Bay’s Teens in Action program. It is a program helping high schoolers learn leadership skills and to partake in civic engagement.

“I think it’s helped me learn to be, to step more out of the box – to see thing in different ways, different perspectives,” Malizia said.

The program uses a social and emotional learning curriculum.

“We all experience emotions, but what we don’t say is that there is a good or bad emotion. It’s just a comfortable or an uncomfortable emotion. And when that uncomfortable emotion happens, we need coping skills, we need coping strategies to handle it in healthy ways,” said Siomara Bridges-Mata, a community program specialist with Frameworks of Tampa Bay.

The teens work on breathing and communicating skills, plus how to compliment others and themselves.

“I have always been on the more outgoing side, but to people I wouldn’t know, or don’t know, I would be more shy and not as eager to reach out to them. But I think this has really help me grow into an outspoken kind of person,” Malizia said. “A lot of people, including myself, going into it you think, service hours. Yes, that would look great. But in the end you get a lot more out of it than you would ever think.”

The application process is open for the next Teens in Action class. While this program does have a cost, members of the community can sponsor teens. For any local Bay area groups that think their program would benefit from the help of Teens in Action, Frameworks of Tampa Bay is also able to expand their reach.

To apply, become a sponsor or to ask about becoming a community partner, click here.