SailFuture was founded in 2013 as an after-school mentorship program in Sarasota, Florida in partnership with New College of Florida and Booker high school.
College mentors and high school students both bruised their knees, capsized, and argued over the best way to get around a race course. Sailing leveled the playing field and helped our students develop trust, respect, and friendship with their college-aged mentors.
Since 2013, more than 150 youth have gone through SailFuture’s mentoring program, and 97% have graduated from high school.
In 2014, SailFuture partnered with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice to pilot long-term sailing-based intervention programs for high-risk youth in the juvenile justice system.
Between 2014 and 2016, more than 30 youth participated in intensive programming ranging from 3-day sails along the coast of Florida to 3-months journeys along the coast of North Africa.
The pilot programs led to three key findings that helped reimagine and reshape SailFuture’s program model:
A short term sailing intervention (1-3 months) is insufficient. Long-term support, including housing is a necessary component
Accredited education program
Sailing in and of itself is not a sufficient education and life skills program. A proper high school education that utilizes sailing as a platform for learning would be more effective.
Highly trained and committed staff
Consistent, trusting, relationships with the same staff is the most important component of any model
Job training and Employment support
Our graduates need assistance with certifications and professional networking to crossover into full-time employment in a job with upward mobility.
In 2016, we began developing a program model based on our graduates feedback and our successes and failures.
We pursued licensure by the Florida Department of Children and Families to operate residential group care homes and accreditation from the Pinellas County school board to offer a customized, experience-based high school education.
Today, SailFuture operates an innovative program that combines long-term housing, challenging sailing experiences, an accredited high school, life coaching, and job training to transform the lives of some of the most challenging youth in Florida’s child welfare system.
As we look to the future, we are excited to work in partnership with our kids and our graduates to continue developing our program model to create the most effective, authentic, and transformative experiences for the youth we serve.