Formed in 1997 to help prevent juvenile delinquency among Tampa’s inner city youth, Young Lions provides a wide variety of positive, enriching activities for students ages 5-18.

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Dexter L. Bryant

Meet the Founder of Young Lions Youth Organization, Inc.

When he started The Young Lions Youth Organization in 1997, Dexter Bryant did not dare to dream how well his charity would flourish and expand over a quarter of a century. The juvenile delinquency prevention organization had humble beginnings. Bryant reminisces about the early days, “As a kid who got in some trouble in my own young years, becoming a dad fundamentally changed my mindset. I wanted better for my own children; that grew into caring for other children as well. We started small, in borrowed spaces with a shoestring budget.” The need, at first, was overwhelming, but the small organization kept growing to help more and more families. His persistent efforts have not gone unnoticed. In 2001, Dexter was voted Volunteer of the Year by the Police Athletic League for his work with Tampa’s underserved youth.

What we do

The Interagency Working Group for Youth Programs cites qualities of positive youth development as “intentional, pro-social approaches that engage youth within their communities, schools, peer groups, and families in a manner that is productive and constructive; recognize, utilize, and enhance youths' strengths; and promote positive outcomes for young people by providing opportunities, fostering positive relationships, and furnishing the support needed to build on their leadership strengths.”

The Young Lions fit that bill and are proud of their record over the years.

Coach Dexter and The Young Lions staff individualize their efforts to reach each child in the most effective ways. Bridgett Greene, Vice President of the Young Lions, recalls a distressed mom asking how to improve her child’s classroom behavior. Bridgett and Dexter attended classes with the student for a week, providing his mother with key information about his behavior. With extra individual attention, the young boy was able to develop more appropriate classroom behaviors.

While the Young Lions Youth Organization cares for the needs of the at risk youth in Tampa bay in a wide array of ways, here are some regular projects that we do annually-

College Tours

A high point of the year is the College Tour.

In the wee hours of November 18th, a busload of low-income students with high hopes will hit the road on their way to visit two Florida universities.

More than 50 children, who participate year round with The Young Lions Organization, will visit Florida A&M University and Florida State University on a 3-day whirlwind trip across the state. One of the highlights of the visit to FSU will be an opportunity to meet the coaches and players of the university’s football team as part of Homecoming festivities.

Young Lions Founder and Executive Director, Dexter Bryant, who has led the annual college tour for more than 10 years, is struck each year with the impact of the program. “We ask these kids to give 110% every day – at home, at school, at church, in athletics. The college tour gives them a lofty goal, demonstrating that a college education is within their reach. The Young Lions supports them every step of the way to achieve those dreams.”

Young Lions Founder and Executive Director, Dexter Bryant, is struck each year with the impact of the program. “We ask these kids to give 110% every day – at home, at school, at church, in athletics. The college tour gives them a lofty goal, demonstrating that a college education is within their reach. The Young Lions supports them every step of the way to achieve those dreams.” Dexter

The ambitious College Tour Itinerary includes:

Friday, November 18th

Saturday, November 19th

Sunday, November 20th

“We have seen amazing results from the College Tours,” says Bryant. “More than a dozen kids have surprised us over the years,” he admits, “Kids with serious behavior problems and academic deficits have come shining through and gone on to successful college careers.”            

The backpack program

Back To School Backpack program that provided supplies to hundreds of disadvantaged students.

At the end of each July, as many as 1500 children receive a brand new backpack filled with school supplies. The Backpack Giveaway helps put low-income students on an even playing field with their more affluent classmates. The program has grown steadily since its inception in 2010. Parents rave about the giveaway, one of them saying, “I do not know what I would have done without The Young Lions. My kids would have gone to their first day of school unprepared.”

Holiday Toy Giveaway

The Christmas Angels program is gearing up to serve more than 150 inner city families with 500+ kids.

Holiday Toy Giveaway

The Christmas Angels program is gearing up to serve more than 150 inner city families with 500+ kids.


Christmas Angels

The holidays are a tough time for disadvantaged kids and their families. Never is wealth disparity more on display than during the holidays. The Young Lions Christmas Angels program works to narrow the “gift gap” for Tampa’s inner-city children. With close to 200 families and more than 600 kids to serve, the effort gets off to an early start. As of August, they had already begun collecting bikes and helmets as well as diapers and wipes to give to families with babies.

“We’ve been sending out letters requesting that individuals and companies adopt a child or a few for Christmas,” says Bryant.  Each child is given at least 2 toys off the wish list, a pair of PJ’s, tennis shoes, socks, and an outfit. Parents also receive a $50.00 gift card so that they can get something for themselves; Bryant gets emotional explaining that often kids’ only wish is a gift for their mom or dad. To adopt a child or make other donations, CLICK HERE.


Making a List… that’s longer every year

This year the Young Lions plan to pull out all the stops for their Christmas Angels Toy Drive benefiting Tampa’s low income children. It should come as no surprise that the donation and collection part of their mission has already begun for the 2022 holiday season.

They are accepting donations of cash and gifts at these locations around the Bay area:

Elevation Life Center
755 W. Lumsden Rd
Brandon, Fl 33511

Car Credit North West Tampa Location
2902 W. HIllsborough Ave
Tampa, FL 33614

Italiano Insurance Services
3021 W. Swann Ave
Tampa, Fl 33609



Car Credit Ruskin Location
108 N US Hwy 41 Ruskin,
FL 33570

Coles Barber Shop
5204 N. 34th St
Tampa, Fl 33610

Car Credit Holiday Location
2008 US Hwy 19 North
Holiday, FL 34691

Car Credit East Tampa Location
3923 E. Hillsborough Ave.
Tampa, FL 33610

Basketball Camp & All-Star Game

Around Spring Break each year, The Young Lions conduct a high-impact 1-day Basketball & Cheerleading Camp for more than 400 children on the campus of the University of Tampa. Coaches from around Tampa Bay donate their time to work with the kids on their basketball, cheerleading, and life skills. Subsequently, the All Star Game, held at Jefferson High School, features high school seniors who have played basketball for their schools. Scholarships are awarded for academic, arts, and other accomplishments.


Making a difference for over 25 years, and the best is yet to come.

Recently, The Young Lions were named recipients of a Nuevo en US grant, funded by Car Credit. The grant is designed to help nonprofits upgrade their marketing efforts and increase their visibility in the market, especially in Spanish language media.

In the jungle of Tampa’s inner city neighborhoods, The Young Lions have quietly ruled the streets with compassion, inspiration, and hope. Their Silver Anniversary is a victory over violence and despair we can all join in celebrating.

Reviews from Google

Amazing organization that cares about the well-being of our youth.
Katrina Evans
Katrina Evans
September 8, 2022.
The young lions have done so much for me I can’t explain.
Tevin Greene
Tevin Greene
September 7, 2022.
Amazing organization, our children and family have been a part of this organization since 1997. I look forward to serving together in many other adventures through the Young Lions Youth Organization.
Chiquita Dallas
Chiquita Dallas
September 5, 2022.
Here is a great opportunity for young people to engage with each other and get positive feedback as they learn new skills. Young lions is lead by people that love youth and are called to help build the community.
Nicole Chandler
Nicole Chandler
September 4, 2022.
This organization is doing AMAZING things for the Tampa Bay Community! We are always happy to support such a wonderful group that has the heart to serve and be a blessing in the lives of others 🙏🏽❤️
Tanya Cross
Tanya Cross
September 1, 2022.
Everyone involved is great and their skills working with youth is amazing. They’re incredibly organized from basketball/cheerleading camps to Back to school giveaways, this group is great at what they do, keeping youth engaged and trying to keep them out of trouble, definitely deserves more recognition. I love that at events they take the time to speak to everyone individually and they’ve made a great impact throughout the years. Thank you for offering up your time to help others and sharing your (and event speakers) empowering knowledge, I’m really looking forward to seeing the continued growth and development of this organization.
September 1, 2022.
Great organization and a pillar in the community. Leadership really cares about the youth and they have a positive impact on their lives.
Myriah Melton
Myriah Melton
September 1, 2022.
The Young Lions is a great organization for the youth & community to be apart of. I highly recommend!
Saucyy Quez
Saucyy Quez
August 31, 2022.
My wife and I love the Young Lions organization. It has helped our children get involved in various activities and has also helped academically. Kepo up the GREAT work and again Thank you for all you have done for our 4 children. Thank you, Chris B.
August 31, 2022.
Young Lions are truly dedicated to the youth in the community. I love the fact they can relate to todays youth without judgment to create a safe space for our children. They lead by example and treat every child with love and care.
August 31, 2022.

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