LSP CLASS PROJECT 2018: SAILFUTURE
The Leadership St. Pete® (LSP) Class of 2018 has selected SailFuture, an innovative child welfare and juvenile justice program for teens, as the beneficiary of this year’s class project.
SailFuture serves high-risk teenage boys in the foster care system. The program leverages challenging sailing experiences, counseling, experiential education, and long-term housing to facilitate the growth of these boys into independent, contributing members of the community. These educational opportunities are reinforced by the formation of long-term personal relationships with their teachers and the staff at SailFuture, all of whom live permanently in the home to provide support and a sense of family. From 2014-2016, more than thirty youth have participated in intensive sailing through the program, ranging from three-day sails along the coast of Florida to three-month journeys along the coast of North Africa.
“SailFuture’s mission is to transform the life outcomes of some of the most vulnerable youth in our community. The 2018 Leadership St. Pete® class will help us take our work to the next level by making improvements to our youth’s home, building a life skills workshop, and constructing a dock to house our program vessel, named “Defy the Odds.” Our boys and staff are looking forward to working alongside the Class of 2018 to accomplish these goals.” – Mike Long, executive director of SailFuture
The LSP class, comprised of professionals from a variety of St. Petersburg businesses, toured SailFuture and met some of the boys, management and staff to discuss their needs. The home is in need of many interior and exterior upgrades to improve its curb appeal and to provide an on-site workshop for hands-on learning opportunities. These renovations are meant to reflect the safe, positive educational environment that SailFuture offers the boys it serves. Planned home improvements include exterior cleanup, painting, and landscaping, while interior space upgrades include a build-out of the existing garage to create the new workshop. The project would also include installation of a new dock so that the sailboat can be housed on site for convenience and further educational opportunities, and the in-ground pool needs repair and resurfacing to provide the boys with safe, free-time activities while at the SailFuture home. The LSP class plans to raise funds by the end of April in order to complete the project by May 19, 2018.