9 Tampa Bay Programs To Help Teens Find Their Passion

When giving advice for a job choice or career, I have heard the admonition, “Do what you love.” But how do teenagers know what they love to do? Many teens graduate high school not knowing what captures their passion. As a parent, how do direct your teen to tap into what will truly make them happy?

Enrolling them in various programs can help a teen determine the trajectory of their future. Below you will find a variety of programs offered throughout Tampa Bay to encourage your teen to find their passion. Read this list together with your teen and discover what may be a perfect match, both now and for their career. 


Dream Center of Tampa


College Builders is intended to help high school students determine how they can accomplish going to college. Topics will cover SAT/ACT Test prep, Scholarships/FAFSA, filling out applications, and scheduling college tours. (Tuesdays) 

Contact: Dream Center of Tampa
2806 North 15th Street
Tampa, FL 33605
p: (813) 374-8999


Suncoast Hospice


Teen Volunteer Program 

If you are a high school student who lives or attends school in Pinellas County and are between the ages of 14-18, you may become an Empath Health teen volunteer.

Brighten the day of patients with Cheer Team visits; help patients record their life stories through the Lifetime Legacies program; throw a birthday, anniversary or anytime party for patients as a Party Pal; help at one of our Resale Shoppes; share your organizational and computer skills in one of our administrative offices; assist with our special events; do activities with seniors; bake cookies for patients; make blankets or crafts for patient visits.

Contact: 727-467-7423

  • North Pinellas County, Kathi Wendt (727) 771-4433
  • Mid Pinellas County, Jill Anne Fowler (727) 523-3431
  • South Pinellas County, Marissa Terrana (727) 564-5920


Junior Chefs of America


Junior Chefs teaches general education classes to children ages 2 – 17 years old through culinary exploration. These programs offer teens the ability to learn math, science, reading and English through cooking classes designed for young chefs.

They offer Saturday cooking classes, an Annual Cook-Off, and opportunities to cook for the community (#ProjectJCOA). Fall classes begin on October 6th with registration opening on September 14th,2018. You can register via the website above. Also connect on Facebook at www.facebook.com/juniorchefsoa/

Contact: 813-408-1078


Ace Mentor


Students in the ACE program typically work closely with their mentors on projects that provide hands-on experience in solving the types of design, engineering and construction challenges industry professionals confront every day.

The teams often learn how to use advanced computerized tools, such as AutoCAD, while special exercises and activities illustrate the industry’s demand for young people skilled in math, physics, economics, art and other disciplines.

2017/2018 Project: This year’s project is a design of a Gateway to Tampa for the Florida Department of Transportation along the Howard Frankland bridge as you enter Tampa and involves architectural design of the gateway, engineering design of the structure itself and the construction logistics to build the gateway. Students will learn about architecture, civil and structural engineering, construction logistics, and cost estimating, each with a specific deliverable that will culminate in their final presentation to the owner at the end of the program.


Richard LeBlanc, PE
5426 Bay Center Drive,
Suite 400. Tampa, FL 33609
D 813.282.2451




Youth in Government – Students are able to learn about their specific role in the context of state government, and develop their skills as a thought leader. Youth in Government offers programs designed for the middle school, high school, and college student. In each program, students have the opportunity to meet and work with their peers from other local Youth in Government chapters around the state.

Youth Leaders Club – The program is designed for students in grades 7 – 12 and is facilitated by a Leaders’ Club Adviser. It requires a commitment to attend regular club meetings and participate in special activities and overnight events throughout the year. Teens will have the opportunity to meet new people, build new relationships, learn valuable skills, get involved in the community, earn volunteer hours and learn what it truly means to be a Leader.

Contact: 813-224-9622


Florida Hospital


Teen Volunteers are required to be at least 16 years of age at time of application and be enrolled in a High School program with a minimum 3.0 GPA to enroll. Committing to a minimum of 100 service hours, assignments range from Lobby Desk Greeter to Nursing Floor Assistant. For a full list of assignments, visit the website listed above.

Contact: Volunteer Office at [email protected] or call 813-615-7286


Community Tampa Bay


Learn and practice leadership, advocacy, and project planning. Earn volunteer service hours for school, scholarships and college applications.

Contact: 727-568-9333


Computers Mentors Group


9th – 12th graders can gain certification in Microsoft products as well as training in web design, mobile app design and videography/video production training.

Held at multiple locations around Hillsborough County.

Contact: 813-241-4200


E.C.C.O Program – Lowry Park Zoo


Teens ages 13 – 17 can enroll in this unique afterschool program focusing on leadership, stewardship of animals, the environment and community engagement. Teens meet weekly at the Zoo and earn service hours through their participation

Contact: 813-935-8552 x479


Finding the role your teen was destined for may be found by enrolling in one of these programs designed for them. If so, we would love to hear about it. Comment below with your teen success story.

Is there a program we did not mention here that helped motivate your teen to find their passion for the future? Let us know in the comments. You never know if your suggestion may help a teen discover their career.

Evelyn Mann
Evelyn Mann is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Tampa, Florida raising her special needs son, Samuel. Her son was born with a rare form of dwarfism called Thanatophoric Dwarfism and is only one of a handful of survivors. He is fourteen-years-old and has exceeded medical expectations. Evelyn is an author of a memoir, Miracle In My Living Room: The Story Of A Little Mann. Her new devotional is called Thriving Through Your Trials: Devotions of Miracles, Faith & Prayer. Her popular blog is found at www.miraclemann.com/blog. She receives inquiries from around the world asking about her son’s miraculous survival. Follow Samuel's amazing journey at www.instagram.com/miraclemann17.