Charlie Crist Announces Federal Funds for High School Program in Largo

Over the past weekend, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., announced a $424,821 grant to Life-Skills, Empowerment, And Development Services (LEADS), a Pinellas County nonprofit based in Largo, for their Health Education and Relationship Training Services (HEARTS) Camps for High School Students.

This grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), will be used to nurture the development of high school students by educating them on healthy relationship practices and sexual respect. The goal of the HEARTS Camps is to teach young people to make wise choices that will facilitate positive interpersonal environments in the future.

As a member of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, Crist helped secure $35 million in fiscal year 2021 for HHS’s Sexual Risk Avoidance Education Program, under which this grant is funded.

“LEADS supports the families of Pinellas by providing children of all ages with resources to help them emotionally develop,” said Crist. “I’m excited to see this well-deserved grant awarded to HEARTS Camps as they teach young people the skills they need to have safe and healthy interpersonal relationships.”

LEADS offers its programming for free and has continued to do so during the COVID-19 pandemic. Its HEARTS Camps have served hundreds of youth annually to promote emotional, social, and academic competence, and to prevent and reduce risk-taking behaviors.

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