Stanley, age 17, lost his mother when he was seven years old, and his father was often away from home, serving in the military in the Middle East. The absence of parents precipitated a depressive childhood and turbulent adolescence for Stanley. He turned to drugs, using synthetic marijuana and dealing drugs at his school, and was subsequently expelled. Stanley was referred to Eckerd Kids as he was transitioning out of a multi-purpose group home. Eckerd helped Stanley acquire skills that led him to select positive peer groups, develop a better relationship with his father, get his GED and start college classes.


Before coming to Eckerd Kids' Short Term Residential Program, Bobby was staying out late, talking back to his mother and not being as successful in school as he could have been. He was unwilling to do any school work, especially any reading. Bobby’s teacher at Eckerd encouraged him to read, and he read approximately 15 books during his time at the program. Bobby is now taking basic courses at Forsyth Tech.


Beth first entered foster care at age 9 after the death of her grandparents, but she often ran away. She was 17 and on the run when she found out she was pregnant. Living in a group home, Beth gave birth to daughter Annabella on her own 18th birthday. With the help of Eckerd and her case manager, Beth, now 19, and two-year-old Anabella are now living at the Center for Manifestation in Tampa where Beth has a mentor and is learning about cooking and social skills.

The Sastamoinen Family

When Joanne and Gary Sastamoinen learned it would be impossible for them have biological children, they decided to become foster parents. Since becoming licensed, they have had a total of nine children in their home and adopted their first child in 2012.


Nathan had recently been charged with larceny of a firearm. His charges also included breaking and entering, possession of alcohol, injury to real property, damaging school property, possession of stolen goods and filing a false police report. During his time in the Eckerd residential program, he has worked on improving his education, and developing positive decision making skills.


Juwan’s involvement with the juvenile justice system began when he was 13 years old, due to altercations with peers at his school that resulted in more than 10 in-school and out-of-school suspensions. Juwan was referred to Eckerd shortly after his release and began participating in program services. He was one of the first youth referred to Eckerd’s Project Bridge services after the program began in August 2013.


Michelle was born to parents addicted to drugs and alcohol. She was raised in a family where relying on substances was common practice, and began using illegal substances herself. After multiple relapses and having her children removed from her custody, Michelle is now working with Eckerd Kids' Family Reunification Services.


Alvinique came to the program after her two-year old son had been removed from her care. She was struggling with mental health issues and needed help developing parenting skills that focused on improving child development. The Eckerd Supervised Family Time Counselor helped her create a support system.