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Teach For America Jacksonville and Central Florida partners with Girl Scouts of Gateway Council to address student wellness and life skill building

The partnership between the two organizations will provide free after-school programs to children in Title I schools, free professional development opportunities for new teachers to support students in academics and individual wellness

By Courtney Salazar

August 26, 2021

JACKSONVILLE, Fla, August 26, 2021—As students return to classrooms after more than a year of disruption, there is an enhanced focus on supporting their well-being and mental health. Teach For America (TFA) Jacksonville & Central Florida and Girl Scouts of Gateway Council are partnering to create opportunities that address these needs for young girls and new teachers in some of North Florida’s Title I schools.

Through this partnership, The Girl Scouts of Gateway Council will offer training and leadership opportunities to TFA teachers in their first two years in the classroom. The professional development sessions will address Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA), First Aid/CPR, motivational interviewing, suicide prevention, identifying abuse and neglect, and trauma informed care, to support young girls’ social and emotional wellbeing. The TFA teachers will bring this professional development into the classrooms they lead, as well as into their mentorship roles in Girl Scouts after-school programs that serve girls in low-income communities.

“Our team is proud to partner with TFA to address pressing needs among young girls right in their own schools,” said Mary Anne Jacobs, CEO of Girl Scouts of Gateway Council. “Thanks to our partnership, Girl Scouts can expand our services into additional Title I schools and communities where there are fewer opportunities for girls to participate in healthy, engaging, and challenging activities with peers. Together, we will help girls discover their untapped potential and watch as they become the leaders that our businesses, communities, and planet need.”

Girl Scouts of Gateway Council works with community partners and stakeholders, like TFA, to bring grant and donor funded Girl Scout troops to underserved communities at no cost to the families, partners or schools. The organization leads young girls through badges and programs anchored in four pillars: STEM, life skills, entrepreneurship and the outdoors, utilizing their research-driven and outcome-based Girl Scout Leadership Experience curriculum. The goals of this e-program are centered on helping young girls develop important life skills, improve their sense of self, and support their academic success.

“Every child in Florida deserves the opportunity to learn, lead, and thrive,” said Von Johnson, Managing Director of External Affairs for Teach For America in Florida, and newly appointed board member for Girl Scouts of Gateway Council. “Our goal at Teach For America is that by 2030 twice as many children in the communities where we work in Florida will be meeting key education milestones and on a pathway to economic mobility and a life filled with possibility. Right now, students across the state are returning to school against the backdrop of the ongoing trauma caused by the pandemic and our country’s racial reckoning. And, we know that children thrive academically and socially when their schools are welcoming environments where they feel safe and can experience belonging. That is why it is so important that our teachers are trained to create inclusive, safe, and equitable learning environments that affirm and support student agency. TFA is grateful to have the partnership of Girl Scouts of Gateway Council as we work to make sure that the needs of Florida’s children are at the center of education.”


About Teach For America in Florida

Teach For America  works in partnership with urban and rural communities in Miami-Dade, Jacksonville, and Central Florida to expand educational opportunities for children. Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding leaders to make a commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity. Today Teach For America Florida is a force of over 1,700 alumni and corps members committed to profound systemic change.

About Teach For America

Teach For America works in partnership with 350 urban and rural communities across the country to expand educational opportunity for children. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding leaders who make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity. Today, Teach For America is a force of over 64,000 alumni and corps members working in over 9,000 schools nationwide in pursuit of profound systemic change. From classrooms to districts to state houses across America, they are reimagining education to realize the day when every child has an equal opportunity to learn, lead, thrive, and co-create a future filled with possibility. Teach For America is a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Girl Scouts of Gateway Council

Girl Scouts of Gateway Council serves approximately 20,000 members—nearly 14,000 girls in grades K-12 and more than 6,000 adults in North Florida. Our service area includes 35 counties: Alachua, Baker, Bay, Bradford, Calhoun, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Escambia, Flagler, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Gulf, Hamilton, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Nassau, Okaloosa, Putnam, Santa Rosa, St. Johns, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, Wakulla, Walton and Washington. For information on how to join, reconnect or donate to Girl Scouts of Gateway Council, visit or call 877- 764-5237.


Contact: Dan Griffin