News/Articles

First Step of Sarasota’s Educational Forum on Prescription Drugs and the Disease of Addiction – A Success.

First Step of Sarasota’s Educational Forum on Prescription Drugs and the Disease of Addiction – A Success.

September 29 – Nearly 60 people attended a free educational forum entitled Prescription Drugs and the Disease of Addiction at the Selby Library downtown Sarasota earlier this month. The event was presented by First Step of Sarasota and Coastal Behavioral Healthcare in recognition of National Alcohol and Drug Abuse Recovery Month.

Three panelists, PJ Brooks, Vice President of First Step’s Outpatient Services, Dr. Jerry Thompson, President and CEO of Coastal Behavioral Healthcare and a young woman who became dependant on prescription drugs after suffering injuries in a car accident eight years ago, each provided insight on the topics and answered questions from the audience.

During the presentation, Dr. Thompson stated, “We have a problem in our community with prescription drugs, but the silver lining is that we are raising awareness regarding the issue.”

Lynne Ross, Chairperson of First Step’s Board of Directors, felt that the program started a great dialogue with the community and she hopes to see the two organizations partner in the future with similar presentations.

Many of the attendees commented that they have loved ones who have been affected by prescription drug abuse and hope to learn how to get help, as well as prevent others from having the same problems.

Coastal Behavioral Healthcare is a non-profit organization providing mental health and addiction treatment, prevention and intervention services for children, adolescents, adults and seniors, through 42 in-patient, outpatient or residential programs in 17 locations in Sarasota, DeSoto, Lee and Charlotte Counties. www.coastalbh.org

First Step of Sarasota is a non-profit provider of substance abuse prevention and recovery programs serving Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto Counties. Last year, First Step served over 8,500 through prevention programs and nearly 6,000 through detox, residential and outpatient programs. For more information on First Step, please call 941-366-5333 or visit www.fsos.org.

For more information about First Step of Sarasota, or to arrange an interview, contact Grapevine Communications at 941-351-0024 or email tlewis@grapeinc.com. Grapevine Communications is an award-winning advertising, marketing, and public relations firm based in Sarasota and serving clients nationwide.

First Step of Sarasota Receives Grant from Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice

SARASOTA, FL – August 31, 2009 – First Step of Sarasota, Inc., the region’s leading provider of substance abuse prevention and recovery programs, was awarded a grant for $114,000 from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice.

The grant will help cover operational costs of the agency’s Seasons program. Seasons treats those who battle mental illness and substance abuse issues in a residential setting. The program always runs at capacity, so any loss in funding that would result in cutting bed space would have a serious impact on the agency’s ability to serve this specific population. This grant insures that there will be no need to cut the number served by the Seasons program.

“The infusion of hope and positive energy is much appreciated,” said David Beesley, First Step’s President and CEO. He added, “the Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice recognizes the role non-profits play in the community and revised their standard giving guidelines to help meet the challenges we’ve all faced.”

Last year, First Step served over 8,500 individuals with its prevention programs and nearly 6,000 clients in its residential and outpatient programs located in Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties.

For more information about First Step of Sarasota, or to arrange an interview, contact Grapevine Communications at 941-351-0024 or email tlewis@grapeinc.com. Grapevine Communications is an award-winning advertising, marketing, and public relations firm based in Sarasota and serving clients nationwide.

Sarasota’s Young Professionals Group Makes a Difference at First Step of Sarasota, Inc.

Sarasota’s Young Professionals Group Makes a Difference at First Step of Sarasota, Inc.

SARASOTA, FL – August 20, 2009 – Armed with paint rollers and brushes, a group of fifteen Young Professionals Group (YPG) Volunteer Committee members appeared at First Step’s Choices building for a morning of painting. While there, volunteers painted five rooms, including group and social areas, the library, kitchen and foyer. The event was organized by Brittany Guido, a First Step employee and YPG member, and her husband Evan, who sits on the YPG Board of Directors.

Choices Program is a residential treatment facility for men with substance abuse issues. Clients live at the facility and receive treatment for their addictions and after a period of two months, begin re-integrating into the community by looking for employment. Those without a high school diploma also receive GED tutoring.

Choices Program Supervisor Courtney Seymour stated, “It is wonderful that the Young Professionals Group has chosen First Step’s Choices Program for their painting service project. The Choices clients will now have a fresh and updated setting for treatment, which allows them to take pride in their “house” and focus on their recovery. With this event, YPG is making a difference in the lives of many clients, and First Step is honored to partner with YPG in this capacity.”

First Step of Sarasota is the region’s leading provider of non-profit substance abuse prevention and recovery programs. With offices in Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto Counties, First Step treated nearly 14,000 individuals last year with its prevention, Detox, residential and outpatient programs.

For more information about First Step of Sarasota, or to arrange an interview, contact Tricia Lewis of Grapevine Communications at 941-351-0024 or email pr@grapeinc.com. Grapevine Communications is an award-winning advertising, marketing and public relations firm based in Sarasota and serving clients nationwide.

Young Professionals Group to Team Up with First Step of Sarasota, Inc.

SARASOTA, FL – August 4, 2009 – First Step of Sarasota, Inc, the region’s leading provider of substance abuse treatment and prevention programs, is teaming up with Sarasota’s Young Professionals Group (YPG) this Saturday, August 8, 2009 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. to “network for the greater good.”

As one of their volunteer projects, YPG members will be painting the interior of one of First Step’s residential treatment facilities. The event will take place at First Step’s Special Services Campus at 1726 18th Street, Sarasota, FL. Painting supplies and materials provided by First Step, B&B Painting and Pedersen Construction.

Throughout the year, YPG members volunteer with several non-profit groups who are members of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. They strive to spread community involvement projects among these organizations, as non-profits desperately need volunteer support in these economic times.

For more information regarding this project, please contact Kelly French at (941) 552-2065. For information on the YPG volunteer group, please contact Frank Maggio Jr. at (941) 373-0522, extension 2316.

First Step of Sarasota has provided high quality, affordable substance abuse treatment and recovery programs on Florida’s Gulf Coast for 40 years. They offer a variety of programs including a medical detox, residential and outpatient services for adolescents, adults and families. Making the decision to commit to a substance abuse treatment and recovery program is difficult. Finding a place that offers compassionate, confidential and professional care is important. At First Step, you or your loved one can learn to live a life of recovery.

For more information about First Step of Sarasota, or to arrange an interview, contact Tricia Lewis of Grapevine Communications at 941-351-0024 or email pr@grapeinc.com. Grapevine Communications is an award-winning advertising, marketing and public relations firm based in Sarasota and serving clients nationwide.

First Step of Sarasota’s Crossroads Program Receives Best Practices Award

SARASOTA, FL – July 21, 2009 – First Step of Sarasota was recently recognized by the Florida Drug and Alcohol Association (FADAA) and the Department of Children and Families in the 2009 Substance Abuse Services Best Practices Awards.

Crossroads, First Step’s long-term court-ordered residential treatment program for women, took second place honors in the category of Treatment Programs. Each year since 2001, a panel of experts with experience in delivery, administration, research and evaluation of substance abuse programs reviews applications on criteria such as program organization and operation, outcomes, and program rationale. This is the third First Step program to receive Best Practices honors.

The Crossroads program was created to meet the need for substance abuse treatment for women involved in the criminal justice system. Since 2003, the program has treated 145 women. Casey Collier, Program Director, stated that she is proud that First Step is receiving the award. She also noted that in 2008, “Crossroads had the highest completion rate of any Department of Corrections substance abuse program in the state, which is not an easy task.”

“By providing court-ordered residential treatment to non-violent clients, Crossroads, and programs like it, increase public safety, decrease recidivism and reduce substance abuse in the communities they serve,” said Robert Piper, Vice-President of First Step’s Residential Services.

First Step of Sarasota, Inc., the region’s leading provider of substance abuse treatment and prevention programs served nearly 14,000 individuals with its prevention and treatment programs last year. For more information, please visit www.fsos.org.

For more information about First Step of Sarasota, or to arrange an interview, contact Grapevine Communications at 941-351-0024 or email amassarofain@grapeinc.com. Grapevine Communications is an award-winning advertising, marketing, and public relations firm based in Sarasota and serving clients nationwide.

First Step of Sarasota Receives Grant from Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice

First Step of Sarasota Receives Grant from Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice

SARASOTA, FL – April 28, 2009 – First Step of Sarasota, Inc., the region’s leading provider of substance abuse prevention and recovery programs, was recently awarded a $50,000 grant from the Gulf Coast Commu- nity Foundation of Venice.

The grant will help cover operational costs of the agency’s Venice Outpatient office. Prior to receiving the grant, the Venice office was scheduled to close on May 1st due to budget shortfalls. On average, First Step sees over 500 clients per year in this outpatient facility.

“We are grateful for the support we have received from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice, not only for this grant, but for their support in prior years. It is crucial for the clients we serve in Venice that they will be able to continue with their treatment plans without having to travel to Sarasota or Char- lotte County for services,” stated First Step President and CEO David Beesley. He added, “As we face these tough economic times, it is good to know that human services are still receiving support from the local foundations.”

Last year, First Step served nearly 14,000 clients in its residential and outpatient programs located in Sara- sota, Venice, Arcadia and Bradenton.

For more information about First Step of Sarasota, or to arrange an interview, contact Grapevine Communications at 941-351-0024 or email amassarofain@grapeinc.com. Grapevine Communications is an award-winning advertising, marketing, and public relations firm based in Sarasota and serving clients nationwide.

First Step’s 6th Annual Caring Hearts Luncheon Sets Attendance Record

First Step’s 6th Annual Caring Hearts Luncheon Sets Attendance Record

SARASOTA, FL – February 26, 2009 – A record 260 guests attended the 6th Annual Caring Hearts Luncheon on February 17 to benefit First Step of Sarasota’s Mothers & Infants program. The event raised over $30,000 for the program which provides substance abuse rehabilitation and counseling to pregnant women. To date, 221 healthy, drug-free babies have been born.

Sandi Stewart was honored as “Caring Hearts Mom of the Year.” Ms. Stewart a mother of two, is the chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Inc., a Girl Scout council that serves over 10,000 girls along Florida’s Gulf coast. In addition, the Caring Kids Organization of the Year award was presented to Forty Carrots. Forty Carrots works in collaboration with First Step’s Mothers & Infants program, as well as other local non-profit agencies, to provide parenting and child development education to more than 2,000 local families each year.

Always an event highlight, a Mothers & Infants client, Mellissa, shared the story of her own addiction and told how, with the help of the Mothers & Infants program, she is in recovery and has hope for a bright, promising future. Mellissa graduated from Mothers & Infants on February 10, 2009 and moved to her par- ents’ home with her 5-month-old son Jacob.

First Step of Sarasota has provided high quality, affordable substance abuse treatment and recovery pro- grams on Florida’s Gulf Coast for over 40 years. Last year, nearly 14,000 individuals were served through the agency’s prevention and treatment programs.

For more information about First Step of Sarasota, or to arrange an interview, contact Grapevine Communications at 941-351-0024 or email amassarofain@grapeinc.com. Grapevine Communications is an award-winning advertising, marketing, and public relations firm based in Sarasota and serving clients nationwide.

First Step of Sarasota Receives Grant for Youth Outpatient Program

First Step of Sarasota Receives Grant for Youth Outpatient Program

SARASOTA, FL – January 27, 2009 – First Step of Sarasota recently received three grants to support its Youth Outpatient program, which serves adolescents ages 13-18 with a substance abuse problem.

The grants were awarded by the Harold C. and Jacqueline F. Bladel Foundation, the Annette J. Hagens Memorial Foundation and the Evalyn Sadlier Jones Foundation.

Funds from these grants will allow First Step to offer scholarships to teens who may not otherwise be able to pay for treatment. “With families’ finances being stretched by the economy, they will go a long way with helping young people get the treatment they need,” said P.J. Brooks, First Step’s Vice President of Outpatient Services. He added, “we are grateful to the foundations for their generous support”.

Last year, First Step served more than 12,000 clients, both adolescents and adults, in its residential and outpatient programs. For more information about First Step or the Youth Outpatient program, please call 941-366-5333.

First Step of Sarasota has provided high-quality, affordable substance abuse treatment and recovery programs on Florida’s Gulf Coast for more than 40 years. Last year, more than 15,000 individuals were served through the agency’s prevention and treatment programs.

For more information about First Step of Sarasota, or to arrange an interview, contact Grapevine Communications at 941-351-0024 or email amassarofain@grapeinc.com. Grapevine Communications is an award-winning advertising, marketing, and public relations firm based in Sarasota and serving clients nationwide.

First Step of Sarasota Holds Sixth Annual Caring Hearts Luncheon

First Step of Sarasota Holds Sixth Annual Caring Hearts Luncheon

SARASOTA, FL – January 27, 2009 – Supporting First Step of Sarasota’s Mothers & Infants program, the sixth annual Caring Hearts Luncheon will be held at Michael’s On East on Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 11:30 am.

Mothers & Infants provides a safe, supportive environment for pregnant women with substance abuse issues where they can begin a life of recovery while also gaining parenting, educational and vocational skills. Since the program began in 1995, more than 215 healthy, drug-free babies have been born.

This year’s event will honor Sandi Stewart, the Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Inc., as the Caring Hearts “Mom of the Year.” Part of the Girl Scout movement for more than 20 years, Sandi has served as a volunteer, finance director and CEO. Under her stewardship, the Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast has seen a 25 percent increase in girl membership.

In addition, the first annual “Caring Kids Organization of the Year” award will be presented Forty Carrots Family Center. Founded by Betsy Kane-Hartnett and Diane Weiss, Forty Carrots provides early childhood development and parenting education to thousands of families each year. It focuses on nurturing and building the relationships between parents and and their children. Courses offer knowledge from bedtime techniques and feeding routines to understanding common stresses and frustrations that no parent is expected to know from the start. Forty Carrots Family Center offers over 77 opportunities to help families grow stronger in our community.

As in years past, one of the highlights of the luncheon program will be the presentation given by a recent alumna on how her life has been changed based on the time spent in Mothers & Infants. This year will be no different as a recent alumna – Kelly – shares her story.

For reservations or more information about the Caring Hearts Luncheon, contact Kelly French at 552-2065 or visit First Steps website at www.fsos.org and select the special events page.

First Step of Sarasota has provided high-quality, affordable substance abuse treatment and recovery programs on Florida’s Gulf Coast for more than 40 years. Last year, more than 15,000 individuals were served through the agency’s prevention and treatment programs.

For more information about First Step of Sarasota, or to arrange an interview, contact Grapevine Communications at 941-351-0024 or email amassarofain@grapeinc.com. Grapevine Communications is an award-winning advertising, marketing, and public relations firm based in Sarasota and serving clients nationwide.