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Tuesday, Nov 13, 2018
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Teresa Manganello, Founder of Tampa Bay HEAT

This week, we chat with Teresa Manganello, founder of Tampa Bay HEAT, a cooperative that helps home-schoolers compete in high school sports. Manganello formed the organization in 2010 after seeing that there was no option for home-schoolers to compete in the Florida High School Athletic Association once they reached high school. The HEAT has also become a support group with more than 300 families who home-school children of all ages, from preschool through high school. Q: Why did you decide to home-school your children, and how long have you been doing it? A: My sister home-schooled her children and I thought she was crazy for doing it. My daughter was a model student, but my son, who struggled with traditional school since Day One, got off the bus six weeks into the school year and informed me that his teacher told him he was going to fail second grade. The kids never went back to traditional school. This is our ninth year of home-schooling. Q: Were your children involved in athletics, leading you to start Tampa Bay HEAT?
A: My kids enjoy sports but don't have the desire to play post-high school. I saw many talented home-schooled athletes who had the potential to play at a higher level with other home-schoolers, but that option wasn't available. Q: Since the effort began, how do you think it has been most successful? A: My original vision for the HEAT was a high school sports program for home-schooled athletes. It seems that God had other plans. In addition to a high school sports program with over 100 athletes this year, the HEAT has grown into a full-blown home-school support group that offers activities for preschool through high school, and we run the Homeschool Resource Center. Q: Do you have a goal for the future of the program? A: The HEAT will celebrate three years in May of this year, and we have over 300 member families. At this rate of growth, we are fast outgrowing the Homeschool Resource Center. My dream is to have a larger facility (including a gymnasium and sports field) where we can minister to more home-schooling families and the community. Q: If you were an athlete, what sport would you play? A: Even though I am older and slower, I still like to consider myself an athlete. I played softball for years and love many sports. I did not play sports as a child and I think that is part of the reason I have such a passion for providing an opportunity for athletics to the kids. There is such reward in seeing a child start a new sport and watching them blossom into an accomplished athlete. From staff reports
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