Teen community shelter

About the Campaign

For many years our Youth Shelter program resided in a structure that was not originally built for the program. The structure was built in 1959 and survived with many repairs and upgrades from community volunteers and supporters. And, although many teens and their families received exceptional service in the old facility, we were frequently placing teens on a wait list for services because we had inadequate space.  

One teen on a wait list is one too many. 

After appropriate due diligence and weighing of all the options – rental and renovation of a commercial space, purchasing an existing building – our Board of Directors decided the best way to serve the teens in our community was to build a custom space specifically for this teen population. 

Our campaign objectives include: 

  • Shelter Infrastructure: Construction of a purpose-built facility to serve the
    needs of homeless youth including intake and counseling rooms, appropriate
    sleeping quarters, educational and counseling support, and recreational
  • Expansion: Increasing of the number of community teens we can serve by reducing the
    number of youths we must place on a waiting list.
  • Residential Support Services: Providing a holistic program of wrap-around services,
    including individual and family counseling, educational support, and
    connection with community resources to keep teens out of foster care. 
  • Sustainability: Continuing our long-standing contractual support for program funding as
    the only Florida Network of Youth and Family Services for Children In Need
    of Services/Families in Need of Services (CINS/FINS) Youth Shelter for
    Sarasota and DeSoto Counties.

We know this campaign is not just about constructing a physical shelter. It’s about having a safety net for our youth where they can rebuild their lives and become contributing members of our community. Our campaign addresses the urgent issue of youth homelessness by giving them an opportunity for a brighter future.

The Youth Shelter Capital Campaign is the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of Safe Children Coalition. Investment from our donors will allow SCC to build a state-of-the-art youth shelter to serve troubled, homeless, truant and ungovernable teens and their families with appropriate spaces for intake, wrap around individual and family counseling, and residential quarters that reduce the time teens spend on a waiting list due to inadequate space to serve them.

No. Funds received through contract for the program does not cover building the program facility. Delivery of program services – is funded by the Florida Network but the building or purchasing of a facility is not allowed with these funds. That’s why we’re asking our community to partner with us for the youth shelter facility. Donors can take comfort in knowing that the program has a steady source of funding for program services. Our request to the community is for this specific project and not an ongoing need. 

The primary sources of revenue for Safe Children Coalition come from state and county governments and funds are restricted to designated line items. Philanthropy is an important source of support to fill in the gaps beyond what government funding covers. Philanthropy supports things like making sure we are competitive in the marketplace so we can keep the best qualified staff to help children, uncovered program expenses, and building a youth shelter facility

Your gift will be used in the construction of the Safe Children Coalition Youth Shelter located at 4409 Sawyer Road in Sarasota. Our shelter is the only community-based youth shelter in Sarasota and DeSoto counties and serves youth from Manatee County too.

When teens in our community have no place to go, they can end up victims of crime and human trafficking or committing crimes themselves just to survive. The cost for an average stay for a teen in our youth shelter is 15X less than an average stay in a Department of Juvenile Justice Facility. More than 90% of teens who stay in our shelter are either reunited with their family or placed in a more appropriate care setting and do not enter the Child Welfare System or Juvenile Justice programs. That’s a win for teens and a win for our community. 

There are several ways to give. Every gift at every level counts. Click here to learn more.

Board of Directors

Brian Goodrich, Board Chair

Lee Lipton, Vice Chair

Tony Gamelin, Treasurer

Ken Alexander

Arlene Buckmaster

Jamara Clark

Paul Couzelis

Darren Gambrell

Rob Goldstein

Ann Marie Jones

Michael Rahn

Christine Stobaugh

Feasibility Study Committee

Kelly Romanoff and Matt Sauer, Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation

Jennifer Johnston, Gulf Coast Community Foundation

Carol Butera, Selby Foundation

Susie Bowie, Manatee Community Foundation

Quiet Phase Committee

Carol Butera, Retired 

Sharon Kenworthy, President, Personalized Estate Liquidation Benefitting Youth, LLC

Jose Joia, Wealth Strategic Advisors 

Jennifer Abbott, Manatee Community Foundation