With its Healthy Youth Collaborative, Heart of Florida United Way is collaboratively building Florida’s healthy communities, one child at a time.
In 2013, Heart of Florida United Way teamed up with the City of Orlando, Orange County Public Schools and Orlando Health to launch the Healthy Youth Collaborative, an initiative dedicated to improving the health of children in underserved areas of Orange County. With a three-year grant of $432,000, the program continues to make a significant impact within the community.
The program serves students at Carver and Memorial Middle Schools. The populations at these two schools are on 100% free and reduced lunch, making them among the most at-risk students in the county.
Orlando’s After School All Stars provides prevention and intervention programs, while Orlando Health’s Teen Xpress provides medical and mental health services. For many, the Teen Xpress is the students’ only method of medical care. The Teen Xpress provides a safe and private place for teen wellness, helping students in a critical phase of their development who would otherwise go without treatment.
“I don’t go to clinics and I don’t go to hospitals with my father,” said Carver Middle School 8th grader Kerry Milor. “So to have the Teen Xpress bus here, it lets me know what’s going on when I need it.”
Since its inception, the Healthy Youth Collaborative has helped address issues that directly correlate with efforts in schools, such as poor nutrition, absenteeism, and behavior issues. It’s an ideal example of United Way’s proactive approach to education.
Through the program, Heart of Florida United Way empowers students to succeed and graduate, building a path to sustained self-sufficiency.