Teen Xpress Celebrates 20 Years of Serving Underprivileged Teens

Teen Xpress, one of six programs offered through The Howard Phillips Center for Children & Families, is celebrating 20 years of providing free medical care, nutritional education and counseling services to adolescents aged 11-18 in Orange County.

The team of licensed professionals visits local schools in two mobile units and offers services, including: yearly physicals, vaccinations, vision and dental screenings, case management services, group or individual counseling and consultations with a Registered Dietitian. “Our services are provided at targeted middle schools and high schools in Orange County with large numbers of teens living in poverty. We come directly to the teen in their community –making access convenient to both the teen and their family,” said Eileen Navarro, Family NursePractitioner for Teen Xpress who has been with the program since it began in 1997. “We help those most vulnerable and uninsured, and assist them with staying healthy. The students Teen Xpress serves are challenged with health illiteracy, language barriers, poverty, homelessness,food insecurities, transportation barriers and often lack an understanding of how to navigate resources and insurance.”

Why is Teen Xpress Successful?
According to Dr. Rita Vento, the Program Manager for Teen Xpress, success starts with a team of people who have a real passion for what they do and the kids they treat – giving them a safe,comfortable and confidential space. Teen Xpress is unique to The Howard Phillips Center and focuses not only on bringing important health services to the community in need, but also educating youth about the importance of proactively managing their own healthcare. 

The Need for More
Although Teen Xpress has achieved a lot of success over the past 20 years, there is still great need in our community and room for growth. Soon, the program will need to add an additional team to be able to reach more teens at underserved Title I schools, while also providing a full complement of services at the schools they currently serve. The addition of team members like another Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Nurse Practitioner or Certified Medical Assistant,and a Registered Nurse Case Coordinator and someone dedicated to dental health are on the wish list for the future. “We are finding more teens that have gone without basic care for years and are pre-diabetic,severely obese, asthmatic, lack vaccinations and have chronic mental health conditions without psychiatric evaluations,” said Navarro. “Additional staff would help us treat more youth,address more health issues, and make sure we are doing the very best for the population we serve.”
To make a donation in celebration of Teen Xpress and their 20-years of service, please visit Give.OrlandoHealth.com/TeenXpress. For questions about the program, or to take a tour of The Howard Phillips Center for Children &Families, contact Amy Drury at Amy.Drury@OrlandoHealth.com or 321.841.8285.

September 20, 2017