News/Articles

First Step Golf Classic Raises Funds For Addiction Recovery & Treatment

First Step Golf Classic Raises Funds For Addiction Recovery & Treatment

SARASOTA, FL – About 140 golfers and friends helped raise money for addiction recovery and treatment programs at the First Step 4th Annual Golf Classic at TPC Prestancia. Among the highlights was the auction- ing off of a football signed by former Buccaneers Doug Williams and Jimmy Giles, along with dinner for two with the two football greats, which was won by highest bidder Ole Sorenson.

First Step, now in its 40th year, offers both residential and outpatient programs. The event grossed more than $24,000.

Last year, First Step served more than 15,000 adults and youths in its recovery and prevention programs. “Helping people complete a treatment program and begin a life in recovery is only a part of the challenge we face every day,” said First Step President and CEO Dave Beesley. “Many times, our graduates are forced by their circumstances to return to the same environment that supported their use of alcohol and drugs. Our sober housing apartments offer First Step graduates a better option – a place where they are sur- rounded by others also working to live a life of recovery.”

“Events like our golf tournament are important because they raise money while also educating members of the community about the services we provide,” said Vice President of Development Donna Wolski. “Ad- diction is an equal-opportunity disease which attacks individuals regardless of age, race, ethnicity or eco- nomic status. Reports show that one in five Americans is affected by an addiction, whether his or her own addiction or that of a family member, friend or co-worker. First Step’s goal is to help people prevent or overcome an addiction to alcohol or drugs. As the need for treatment increases, so does or First Step’s need for increased financial support.”

First Step’s 5th Annual Caring Hearts Luncheon Sets Attendance and Fund-Raising Records

First Step’s 5th Annual Caring Hearts Luncheon Sets Attendance and Fund-Raising Records

SARASOTA, FL — A record 237 guests attended the 5th Annual Caring Hearts Luncheon benefiting First Step of Sarasota’s Mothers & Infants program. SunTrust was the Platinum sponsor for the event, which raised more than $40,000 for Mothers & Infants. The program, which provides substance abuse rehabilitation and counseling to pregnant women, recently celebrated its 200th healthy, drug-free birth.

This year’s luncheon honored Lee Peterson as the first “Caring Hearts Mom of the Year.” Lee, a mother of three, has dedicated much of her life to helping those suffering from mental illness. Along with her hus- band, Bob, Lee is well-known as a founder of the NARSAD Florida. Previously known as the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, NARSAD is the world’s leading charity dedicated to mental health research. The organization has raised almost $4 million for mental health research since 1998.

In her acceptance speech, Lee spoke of the relationship between mental illness and substance abuse, not- ing that many who suffer from mental illness use alcohol or drugs as a way to medicate their condition rather than seek treatment from a medical professional.

Always an event highlight was a speech by a Mothers & Infants client, Alisa, who shared the story of her own addiction and told how, with the help of the Mothers & Infants program, she has hope for a bright, promising future. Alisa graduated from Mothers & Infants on Valentine’s Day and moved to an apartment with her 6-month old son, Matthew.

First Step of Sarasota has provided high-quality, affordable substance abuse treatment and recovery pro- grams 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.

SunTrust Sponsors Fifth Annual Caring Hearts Luncheon

SunTrust Sponsors Fifth Annual Caring Hearts Luncheon

SARASOTA, FL – First Step of Sarasota is pleased to announce that SunTrust has come on board as a Plati- num level sponsor for the fifth annual Caring Hearts Luncheon. “SunTrust is proud to support First Step of Sarasota,” said Margaret Callahan, Chairman, President and CEO of SunTrust Southwest Florida. “We are delighted to be able to help such a vital organization in building a better Sarasota community.”

The Caring Hearts Luncheon benefits First Step’s Mothers and Infants Program, which provides a safe, supportive environment for women who are pregnant and addicted to drugs or alcohol. The long-term, residential recovery program helps these women give birth to a healthy baby, prepare for motherhood and live a clean and sober life.

At this year’s luncheon, First Step will honor Lee Peterson with its first “Caring Hearts Mom of the Year” award. Ms. Peterson, a mother of three, had dedicated much of her life to helping those suffering from mental illness. Together with her husband Bob, Ms. Peterson is well-known as a founder of NARSAD Florida. NARSAD is the world’s leading charity dedicated to mental health research. NARSAD Florida has raised al- most $4 million for mental health research since 1998.

The Caring Hearts Luncheon will be held Wednesday, Feb. 13, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Michael’s On East, 1212 South East Avenue, Sarasota. The cost is $60 per person. Additional sponsorships are avail- able. For more information about the luncheon, or to inquire about sponsorship levels, contact Kelly French at (941) 552-2065 or visit www.fsos.org. Please RSVP by Feb. 6.

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

First Step Reaches Milestone with 200th Baby Born Into Mothers & Infants Program

First Step Reaches Milestone with 200th Baby Born Into Mothers & Infants Program

SARASOTA, FL – First Step of Sarasota is pleased to announce the birth of the 200th healthy, substance-free baby into the Mothers & Infants Program. Mothers & Infants is a safe, supportive residential program that began in 1995 for pregnant women with a drug or alcohol problem.

Born Dec. 26, “Baby 200,” otherwise known as, Aaliyah, weighed 5 pounds, 11 ounces and measured 18 inches long. Her mother, Vanessa, entered the Mothers & Infants program in her seventh month of pregnancy after seeking treatment for a cocaine addiction in a nearby county. She was referred to First Step because of its one-of-a-kind Mothers & Infants Program.

Vanessa’s goal is to not only deliver a healthy baby and successfully complete the program, but to learn to live a healthy lifestyle and regain custody of her two sons that are in the care of her mother.

The program is the beneficiary of the Fifth Annual Caring Hearts Luncheon, scheduled for Feb. 13, 2008, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Michael’s on East, 1212 South East Avenue, Sarasota. To learn more about First Step’s Mothers & Infants Program or RSVP for the luncheon, call Kelly French at (941) 552-2065. Please RSVP by Feb. 6.

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

First Step Announces Three New Board Members

First Step Announces Three New Board Members

SARASOTA, Florida – June 12, 2007 – First Step of Sarasota is pleased to announce the election of three new members to its Board of Directors. The new board members are Dr. Lawrence Miller, who was also re- cently appointed as the Interim Assistant City Manager; Ms. Patricia Moffitt, controller at xG Technology, Inc.; and Mr. Alan Quinby, who has retired from his position as senior counselor at Clarke Advertising and Public Relations.

In 2006, First Step served more than 7,500 adolescent and clients in its residential and outpatient pro- grams. For more information about First Step please call 941-366-5333.

First Step of Sarasota is the regional leader in alcohol and drug addiction recovery programs. They foster fully functioning, productive individuals by offering a full array of services in partnership with the commu- nity.

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

First Step Gives Appreciation Luncheon to Volunteers

First Step Gives Appreciation Luncheon to Volunteers

SARASOTA, Florida – April 26, 2007 – First Step of Sarasota, Inc. held its annual Volunteer Appreciation Lun- cheon on Monday, April 16 at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune offices in downtown Sarasota. Nearly 80 volunteers donated more than 3,000 hours of service in a variety of volunteer positions, includ- ing serving on the Board of Directors, assisting with fund raising events, as well as direct client contact roles, such as rocking babies in the Mothers & Infants and TLC programs. For more information about volunteer opportunities at First Step, contact Kelly French at 941-552-2065. First Step of Sarasota is the regional leader in alcohol and drug addiction recovery programs. They foster fully functioning, productive individuals by offering a full array of services in partnership with the commu- nity. For more information about First Step of Sarasota, or to arrange an interview contact Angela Massaro-Fain at 941-351-0024 or email amassaro-fain@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 Wonderful Support from the Community through Generous Grants

First Step of Sarasota Receives Wonderful Support from the Community through Generous Grants

SARASOTA, Florida – April 12, 2007 – First Step of Sarasota, the regional leader in alcohol and drug addiction recovery programs is pleased to announce that it has received a grant from The Virginia White Clark Fund of the Bank of America Client Foundation for purchase of a new 12-passenger van. The van will be used to transport clients in First Step’s residential programs to and from medical appointments, court appear- ances and other group outings.

First Step of Sarasota was also just awarded a Jerome and Mildred Paddock Foundation grant to use for the “Get Connected” program. Get Connected is a three-session program for older adults. It is designed to strengthen healthy behaviors, develop problem solving skills and help manage difficult situations. Topics include identifying areas of risk and assets, medication misuse and the importance of rituals and feelings. The program will also discuss the negative impact that alcohol has on individuals as they age and how it interacts with prescription medications.

First Step of Sarasota is pleased to announce that it also received grants from the following organizations: Harold C. and Jacqueline F. Bladel Foundation, Designing Women Grant Program, Mildred and Bernard Doyle Charitable Trust, GTR Foundation, Annette J. Hagens Memorial Foundation Trust and the Eluned and Edward Russell Charitable Foundation. In addition, the agency was awarded a State Housing Initiative Part- nership (SHIP) program grant from the Sarasota Office of Housing and Community Development.

These grants total over $400,000 for First Step. They will be used for a variety of projects that include youth outpatient treatment scholarships, a youth prevention program and for sober housing just to name a few.

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