Prevention Programs

For Children

Community- and School-Based Prevention

941-953-0000
Our community- and school-based prevention programs focus on education about drugs, alcohol and behavior.
Our evidence-based prevention programs offer a variety of free classes that cover prevention of drugs and alcohol use; social skills and relationships; goal setting; decision making; peer pressure; staying healthy; good communication; social relationships; bullying; media messages; and the influence that social media has on today’s young people.
We offer four curriculums: Too Good For Drugs (high school and middle school); Marijuana - Download the Facts; Say It Straight; and SPORT Wellness.
First Step of Sarasota therapists also provide on-site treatment to middle school-aged students. Students are referred by school counselors and administrators. The therapists provide individual and family counseling, crisis stabilization services, and ongoing treatment for depression, anxiety, and PTSD with the goal of supporting school performance.

Family Life Intervention (FLIP)

941-953-0000
The Family Life Intervention Program (FLIP) reaches out to improve the lives of at-risk students ages 7 to 17 and their families. Students are referred by schools, community agencies, the court system, and their families.
A plan of action is developed that is appropriate for each individual and their family. The program combines therapy, tutoring, mentoring, and social activities. Students and their families also receive support to help them gain independence and self-sufficiency.
Finding help can be difficult…..we coordinate all the services for you!
The program provides stability, positive peer interaction and mentoring.

Student Assistance Program

941-953-0000
Prevention and early intervention specialists in high schools and middle schools in Sarasota and DeSoto counties provide services to students who are either referred by the school counselors or school administrations. Students may also refer themselves. Staff members meet with students individually and in groups for check-ins, counseling and mentoring, drop-out or suspension prevention, substance-abuse counseling, mediation, social media bullying, grief counseling, help during a personal crisis, or to help find community resources


For Adults:

Clean Start

This program provides education about the harm that is possible because of using drugs and alcohol during pregnancy. Topics include pregnancy prevention, pre-pregnancy health, and the effects of substance abuse on a growing fetus. Local resources are provided to help women and men who have a history of addiction.

Drug Free Sarasota

This is a community-based substance abuse prevention coalition that engages with various stakeholders in Sarasota County, using local data to identify, strengthen and implement local strategies to address and promote substance abuse prevention. For more information, go to drugfreesarasota.com.

Living Skills Prevention Program

941-953-0000 or 941-376-1680
This is a free adult prevention education program offered to groups in Sarasota County. 
Living Skills is divided into two unique components: Personal Growth and Practical Guidance. Personal growth covers the internal skills needed to be a positive member of a community while Practical Guidance provides information about the day-to-day external skills needed to live a healthy life.
Each topic includes four (30-45 minute) sessions. If you have a group of individuals who can benefit from any of these classes, pick one or more topic to be scheduled and presented at your location.

Strengthening Families

This program is offered to families that include children who are engaging in behaviors that might lead to substance abuse. Education is provided, to both parents and their children, that is designed to make them aware of the potential consequences of continued substance use/misuse. This program also enhances familial communication skills and provides alternative activities to substance abuse caregivers who have at-risk youth.

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For more information about our programs, or to speak confidentially with one of us, please fill out the short form below. We look forward to hearing from you.
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News & Events

Tracey Weeden, head of First Step of Sarasota
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The First Step of Sarasota executive officers as of August 2020: Front, Gwen MacKenzie, CEO; back, left to right, Tracy Weeden Chief In-patient and residential services officer; Mounira Ragsdale, Chief administrative officer; and Vickie Tiutyama, Chief Financial Officer.
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Our Community Partners:

*Community partners are businesses that have chosen to support our organization as a community partner sponsor. If you are interested please click here for the sponsorship form.

Mental Health Partners:

FIRST STEP OF SARASOTA, INC. IS A 501 (C ) (3) ORGANIZATION. A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION ON CH1573 MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL FREE 800 435 7352 WITHIN THE STATE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.