Local Events

ManaTEEN President Honored for Service to Community

Alycia Bower, 18, President of ManaTEENs, was named NFL Community Quarterback Award winner on April 27th at One Buc Place in Tampa. This award was given to several outstanding volunteers in the Tampa Bay area and the youngest lives here in Manatee County.

She had the opportunity to tour the Buc's facilities and to meet former Bucs quarterback Doug Williams.

Alycia was also honored for her committment to volunteerism earlier this year on February 18th. She received the Gold President’s Volunteer Service Award recognizing her outstanding service in inspiring, mobilizing, and equipping volunteers in the community.

The award was presented by Wendy Spencer, CEO of The Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, commonly referred to as Volunteer Florida, and a member of the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. The event was held at the Hilton Garden Inn, in Sarasota.

Bower is serving her second term as President of ManaTEENs, a program of Hands On Manatee, recognized as one of the nation’s premier youth volunteer initiatives, engaging thousands of local young people as local decision makers, identifying and addressing critical community needs.

During her seven years of volunteer service, Bower has contributed in excess of 2,000 hours of service, mobilizing her peers to focus on animal welfare, disaster preparedness, environmental, health, and human service issues in the community.

Among her most notable accomplishments is Big Breath and Bark!, a campaign to raise awareness and funding for the plight of animals who suffer from smoke inhalation due to the lack of oxygen masks that fit the snouts of dogs and cats. Today, all fire trucks in Manatee County are equipped with short snout, long snout, and feline oxygen masks.

Bower has also traveled extensively to facilitate a variety of leadership trainings for young people who are civically engaged in their communities. “Alycia is the most compassionate, caring young woman I know,” said Laura Lockwood, ManaTEEN Founder and Associate Director of Hands On Manatee. “She exemplifies the spirit of philanthropy. Alycia excels in school, works part-time, volunteers more than 20 hours per week and still finds time to be the captain of her cheerleading team at Braden River High,” Lockwood added. Bower is a senior at Braden River High School. She is the daughter of Vincent and Debra Bower and will attend University of South Florida in the fall to study Public Relations. She is also a nominee for the Golden Herald Awards this year.

This summer Bower will help host HandsOn Manatee's new summer initiative- Summer of Service. "I am eager to inspire other youth to make a difference in their communities," she remarked, "I want them to be recognized for their efforts and to encourage youth to further their education."