DUI Prevention

January 30 – PJ Brooks was interviewed by ABC7 in a feature regarding prescription drugs.



First Step to Honor Mollie Cardamone at 12th Annual Caring Hearts Luncheon

First Step of Sarasota, Inc., a non-profit substance abuse treatment agency, will be honoring Mollie Cardamone at the 12th Annual Caring Hearts Luncheon, February 19, 2015 at Michael’s On East.

Each year, First Step presents the Caring Heart of the Year award to an individual who has made a positive impact in the community, with a focus on those whose efforts have improved the lives of women and children or have dedicated themselves to raising awareness or providing treatment for substance abuse or mental health disorders. 

A mother (and grandmother), teacher, retail owner and later the mayor of Sarasota, Cardamone is a long-time friend to First Step and has left her mark in the Sarasota community in many ways.  Though she officially retired from civic duty in 2001, Cardamone is still active in Sarasota.  Over the span of 10 years, she provided legislative guidance to First Step President and CEO David Beesley, and worked as a community liaison as well as on the residential campus renovation project and building committee for First Step’s administrative offices, kitchen and dining room, The Welch Family Foundation Community Room.  In addition, Cardamone assisted with the capitol campaign for the Girls Scouts and the New Life Initiative for the 1926 Sarasota High School Building and currently sits on the board for the Tiger Bay of Sarasota.  In short, “Mollie Cardamone is a friend, a role model and a woman with a Caring Heart,” said David J. Beesley, President and CEO of First Step.

The Caring Hearts Luncheon benefits First Step’s Mothers and Infants program.  Now in its 12th year, the Caring Hearts Luncheon is not just a fund raising event, but a celebration of the healthy, drug-free babies born each year thanks to the efforts of the Mothers & Infants program.  In this specialized program, pregnant women receive both group and individual counseling for their substance abuse disorders, along with parenting, nutrition and life skills classes.  The residential program is proud to have celebrated the births of 347 healthy, drug-free babies.

In addition to helping women change their lives and deliver healthy, drug-free babies, Mothers & Infants saves the tax payers of this community hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, when considering the high cost of medical care needed for babies born to women who used drugs through the duration of their pregnancies.  Caring Hearts is all about happy beginnings.

For more information about the 12th Annual Caring Hearts Luncheon, call Kelly French at 941-552-2065.

Recognizing Warnings Signs of Mental Illness

This WWSB-ABC7 feature includes Residential Campus Clinical Director Casey Collier and counselor Susie Alarie.


Wilson-Wood Foundation Awards Grants

First Step of Sarasota was one of the local organizations to have received funding from the Wilson-Wood Foundation.