The Florida Network of Youth and Family Services is proud to shine a light on our member agency of the month, Thaise Educational & Exposure Tours (TEET)!
TEET strives to empower at-risk youth by educating and improving their quality of life through weekly counseling, mentoring, Enrichment Classes, tutoring and college tours. TEET brings out the best in its youth by using education and exposure to elevate their minds and help them reach their full potential.
TEET provides youth with the experience and resources they need to pursue a higher education. TEET works to reduce and ultimately eliminate high school dropout, teen pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse and juvenile crime in Sarasota, Pinellas and Orange County.
One of TEET’s many tools for molding positive and productive young adults is its Enrichment Program. The program includes several classes that cover job skills, drug prevention, pregnancy prevention, anger management, life skills, HIV/AIDS awareness, conflict resolution and etiquette. The job skills course not only equips youth with the tools they need to be effective workers, but also places students in jobs in the community. TEET staff monitor the students for several months to ensure their continued success.
TEET’s most recent initiative to expand the young minds of at-risk youth was the program’s February visit to Florida State University (FSU). While touring the campus, youth learned about the fields of study and co-curricular programs available. During this visit, we got the opportunity to meet a former TEET youth and learn how the program helped her get to where she is now.
Melissa Castor, a sophomore at FSU, was a member of TEET for two years. During her time in the program she received tutoring and financial aid advising which she says significantly helped prepare her for college.
“Thaise has given me the skills I need to be on task with things academically and financially,” said Melissa. “I learned that my family’s low-income status was an obstacle I could overcome. Because of Thaise Educational and Exposure Tours, I know I have the tools I need to not only overcome my financial situation, but all other obstacles I will face in the future.”
Melissa is double majoring in exercise science and nutrition and expects to graduate in 2018.
She offers advice to those still participating in the program:
“I attribute almost 100 percent of my future college career to Thaise, so keep studying and working hard. That’s what you’re going to do when you get to college, and the harder you work the more opportunities you will have for your future.”