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Eckerd Youth Alternatives Outdoor Progams
Clearwater, FL, 33758
Phone: 727-461-2990
Fax: 727-442-5911

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Founded in 1968, Eckerd Youth Alternatives is a pioneering youth services organization dedicated to helping kids succeed. Through some 40 Eckerd programs nationwide more than 80,000 youth have another chance; hope for a brighter future. Today, Eckerd Youth Alternatives is one of the nation’s leading not-for-profit providers of services for at-risk and high-risk youth and their families.

A Humble Beginning

Jack Eckerd said an investment in children is an investment in the future of our country. In 1968, Jack and Ruth Eckerd purchased 880 acres in Brooksville, FL, and opened a small Outdoor Therapeutic Program for troubled boys, named “E-How-Kee.” That program, now known as Eckerd Academy at Brooksville, paved the way for more therapeutic programs, for both boys and girls. One principle remains constant: in a nurturing, caring environment kids learn how to re-direct their behavior, take responsibility for their choices and internalize the skills to become productive, successful citizens.

The Reputation Grows

By 1982, the State of Florida, impressed with the success of Eckerd Outdoor Therapeutic Programs, asked EYA to operate the first private juvenile justice program in state history. Today, Eckerd Youth Alternatives is a leading provider of Day Treatment and Residential Therapeutic Programs for delinquent youth contracted through the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.

Building a Lifeline of Community Support

Young people need continued support when they return home, and in 1985, Eckerd ReEntry counselors began providing that guidance in Community-Based Support Programs. Florida ReEntry programs provide aftercare services to youth who have successfully completed an Eckerd Residential Therapeutic Program or other juvenile justice program.

Early Intervention and Prevention

Can we help kids before they get into trouble, and prevent problems later? In 1993, Eckerd Early Intervention and Prevention Services launched violence prevention services in elementary schools. These intervention services promote non-violent behavior, while encouraging academic success and healthy development in elementary and middle school children.

Improving Emotional and Academic Growth

In 2002, Eckerd’s first Alternative Day School,Cascade Academy in Stewartstown, NH, opened its doors to middle and high school students who could not succeed in a traditional classroom.  Eckerd’s second Alternative Day School, Cascade Academy in Berlin, NH, opened in 2006.

The year 2005 brought an intensive focus to dedicate two of Eckerd’s Outdoor Therapeutic Programs — Eckerd Academy at Deer Lodge, TN, and Eckerd Academy at Brooksville, FL — to serving the needs of privately referred youth and their families. A third campus, Eckerd Academy of the Blue Ridge, opened in Suches, GA in 2007.


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