Carver and Memorial Middle Schools to Receive Integrated, Year-Round Medical, Mentoring and Academic Support
Heart of Florida United Way (HFUW) recently announced a three-year grant totaling $432,000 for an integrated new initiative, the Healthy Youth Collaborative, to improve the health of hundreds of youth in underserved areas of Orange County.
Specifically targeting Carver and Memorial Middle Schools, the year-round program will integrate free medical and mental health services offered by Orlando Health’s Teen Xpress, with the City of Orlando’s After-School All-Stars (OASAS) prevention and intervention programs for at-risk teens. The ultimate goal is to address issues that directly correlate with performance in school, like poor nutrition, absenteeism, tardiness and behavior.
One of 70 recently awarded HFUW grants, the Healthy Youth Collaborative plans to serve 200 middle school students in its first year, beginning this fall. Through the supplemental program, OASAS will provide mentors, academic tutoring, enrichment activities, athletics and character development, every day during the after-school and summer programs. The Teen Xpress mobile unit will visit each school site up to twice per week to offer free medical services ranging from routine physicals and immunizations to lab tests and mental health/nutrition counseling.
“The Healthy Youth Collaborative is an ideal example of HFUW’s proactive, preventative approach to supporting education,” said Robert H. (Bob) Brown, president and CEO for HFUW. “The services provided by both Teen Xpress and OASAS are each valuable in their own right – but together, they become a far more powerful force for change.”
Carver Middle has a 99 percent free/reduced lunch rate among its student population – and, with a school grade of D, it’s one of the lowest performing school in the district. At Memorial Middle, a C-rated school, nearly every student is on the subsidized meal program. All teens enrolled at these schools will be eligible to receive the services offered through the Healthy Youth Collaborative, although the focus will be on those struggling with academics and those without access to healthcare.
“Our children are the future of our community and that future continues to be made brighter by our communities continued collaboration and commitment to our youth,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “This innovative partnership will help us continue to help our families raise healthy and productive children and creates a model support system where our most at-risk kids can learn and succeed.”
“The all-encompassing scope of this program prevents children from falling through the cracks,” said Tyler Chandler, executive director of OASAS. “These students need wrap-around support to guide them through the difficult transition from middle to high school.”