Do you know why I really went to Greece this summer?
I don’t ask much very often. My friends and family know all the various causes I’m involved with. And you may have heard me talk about this little trip to Greece I went on this summer. Well, that trip wasn’t just your regular trip to Greece. I went with a Sarasota, FL based nonprofit organization called “Sail Future.”
What’s with that name? The nonprofit was started a few years ago by my friend Michael Long. The goal: to help kids in the juvenile justice system get a second chance at life. Sail Future has designed sailing programs that serve as a rehabilitative program for juvenile offenders. Thanks to Sail Future, judges and prosecutors can now allow a juvenile offender in Florida to take part in this program.
The boat we were on in Greece is called “Defy the Odds” and you can see a beautiful photo of it on the Sail Future website. The reason we were on it? A generous donor who had the boat docked in Turkey made an in-kind donation to Sail Future. And our trip in Greece was one of 15 one-week long “expeditions” that paid part of the expense of retrofitting the vessel and sailing it back to Florida. And it was renamed to “Defy the Odds” because that’s exactly what this organization is intent on doing for these kids.
And this is where you and I come in now.
Sail Future is in the midst of putting together a program called Sail Future Odyssey – a 5-month youth development program specifically designed to empower high-risk juvenile offenders. Along with captain, counselor, and teacher, 8 youth live on board the sailing vessel “Defy the Odds” for 3 ½ months while earning their GEDs, engaging in counseling and vocational programming, and leading global service projects in Florida and Central America. After their odyssey, youth spend 2 months in an intensive community transition program that guarantees jobs, education placement, housing, and the community resources necessary to stomp out recidivism.
This all pales in comparison to what you and I spend, as taxpayers. Did you know that it costs $125,000 a year to incarcerate just one juvenile offender? And more than 75% of them will spend the rest of their lives in and out of the prison system. But not if we find a way to give them a second chance.
One of the young men on board with us this summer, Lawrence, was once one of those troubled youth. I am happy to report that because of Sail Future he turned his life around. Lawrence spent a week on the vessel with us in Greece and worked 7 other expedition weeks (plus 2 months preparing the boat in Turkey). And this week, he started college at State College of Florida in Sarasota. He is a really impressive young man who I now call a friend.
So, the 14 of us that went on Sail Future’s “Week 4” expedition in Greece have come up with a plan to raise a combined $10,000. And if we do it in the next week (by 12:00 PM ET on Wednesday, September 2) every donation (up to $250/each) will be EQUALLY MATCHED by the Community Foundation of Sarasota through their Giving Challenge. So, if we can raise the $10k – it will be turned into $20k for Sail Future!
My personal share to raise is $1,000. I have already gotten this started with a $250 personal donation to Sail Future. I’m asking you to help me with the other $750.
If you are able to donate, please share with me (if you would like) the amount of your donation so I can keep a tally of where we are at. These donations all need to be made BEFORE NOON ET on Wednesday, September 2. Thank you so much for your consideration!
I also encourage you to read the Sail Future website and learn more about this important cause — and I’m happy to answer any and all questions. I am very passionate about this incredible cause and plan to stay involved with Sail Future for many years into the future. As someone who has worked for nonprofits over the past 11 years, one thing I also look for in an organization is great leadership and a dedication to mission. They’ve got that and more. Please join me in making a donation that will be matched!