Connect with us

APolitical

AT&T donates $30,000 to residential program for at-risk youth

The program targets the hardest to reach youth in the foster system.

AT&T has donated $30,000 to a local nonprofit aimed at improving outcomes for at-risk youth.

The communications company donated to the St. Petersburg-based SailFuture to help the organization meet its $1.1 million goal to build a new campus to provide additional housing, educational services and a foster parent recruitment center.

SailFuture currently has two residential buildings to house a total of 12 boys ages 13-17. They also have an accredited high school that provides individualized education in a small classroom setting, and they take participants on multi-month sailing journeys through the Caribbean and Central America on a 65-foot sailboat.

The program targets the hardest to reach youth in the foster system, many of whom have been placed in several different homes throughout their teenage years after being removed from their parents because of abuse or neglect.

Studies show fewer than half of such children graduate high school by their 21st birthday. The program seeks to provide a brighter future by providing quality education and vocational training in the maritime industry so that graduates can go on to work in living wage jobs.

The new campus will include a 7,000 square-foot technical high school, two new residential buildings, a foster parent recruitment and training center and a mental health services facility.

The group has so far raised $300,000, not including AT&T’s $30,000 gift.

SailFuture currently owns and operates a home on the Greater Pinellas Point waterfront that includes seven bedrooms and six bathrooms as well as an education and training room. That project faced community backlash when the property was first acquired. Neighbors worried the youth involved would be troublemakers, but the program hasn’t faced controversy since.

The group is in the process of opening its second residential facility in Lakewood Estates, which also has seven bedrooms.

AT&T said it made the contribution as part of the company’s philanthropic focus on advancing education.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
Email: Peter@FloridaPolitics.com
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Connect
Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.