Dear Eckerd Connects Supporters,
Ensuring that every child has the opportunity to succeed starts with promoting secure and healthy families. During this past year, Eckerd Connects has increased our workforce development programs to provide all community members the opportunity to get upstream from the flood of poverty that has imprisoned too many in our country. The Eckerd Connects team longs for the day when no child needs to endure the trauma that leads them into the child welfare or juvenile justice systems.
During 2018, thirty-two percent of the clients served by Eckerd Connects were enrolled in a workforce development program. Furthermore, of the 34,000 clients that we served last year, over half were adults. Through your generosity and support, we have helped to give thousands of families upward economic mobility, and there is still an opportunity to impact many more. As we enter 2019, I look forward to walking alongside you and building strong, economically robust families.
Thank you for all that you contributed in 2018, and for all that you plan to do to assist us in 2019, to ensure that every family has the opportunity to succeed.
President and CEO
Dennis Hardiman, Chair
Eileen Kamerick, Director
James T. Swann, III, Vice Chair
Nancy Eckerd-Nichols, Director
David Dennis, President and CEO
Kennedy C. O’Herron, Director
Daniel Boon, Director
Glenn Waters, Director
Joseph W. Clark, Director and ECA Hillsborough Committee Chair
Ron Zychowski, Director
V. Raymond Ferrara, Director and ECA Pasco | Pinellas Committee Chair
Leading the charge in dedicating resources, support, and opportunity to children in the Tampa Bay foster care systems.
Providing young adults, with skills, opportunities, and resources needed to further their education, gain employment, and support their families.
Empowering children, families, and young adults to achieve stable, successful futures through in-home and community-driven services.
Services geared to help provide youth involved in the juvenile justice system with a second chance to thrive.
Eckerd Connects believes that the best social services program you can provide any youth or their family is one that provides them with employment opportunity and economic stability. Today, our work is largely reactive, addressing the immediate safety of clients in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Many of these children are caught up in the flood of poverty that leads to abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
Moving forward, Eckerd Connects aims to build dams to stop the flood of poverty that sand bags of social services programs never will. The Brookings Institute found that boys who grew up in families in the bottom 10% of income distribution (earning less than about $14,000) are 20 times more likely to be in prison on a given day in their early 30’s, than children born to the wealthiest families (those earning more than $143,000). These findings estimate that almost 1 in 10 boys born to the lowest-income families are incarcerated at age 30, making up 27 percent of prisoners in the U.S. We must provide families with economic stability to care for and establish stable, secure futures for their families. Our commitment is to get upstream through workforce development programs so that no child or family ever has to endure the trauma of abuse or the shame of incarceration.
Many programs offered by Eckerd Connects have an educational component. Clients often come to Eckerd Connects performing below grade level. Our goal is to increase their educational grade level based on pre- and post-assessment tests. We expect 80% of our clients to see gains in Math and Reading, and we currently exceed that standard with a 97% rate.
Over the last year, we’ve seen tremendous success by moving upstream to help support families and individuals gain work opportunities and ultimately work placement. This work builds stronger communities and inspires us to continue to provide more families than ever before with opportunities for security, empowerment, and prosperity. In 2018, we’re pleased to report...
in our workforce programs obtain their GED or high school diploma
Assisted participants in our workforce programs receive over
*Credentials are defined as certificates that build trade skills
April, a 23-year-old single mom of two, entered the Eckerd Connects Workforce Development Program in May of 2018 with the goal of achieving a better life for her young family. Having only completed the eleventh grade, April knew she needed to start by completing the GED. This led her to Eckerd Connects.
Going into the program, April’s self-confidence was low, but she was a hard worker and her career coach knew she had a bright future. After a short time of studying, she passed the GED tests with flying colors on her first try. This encouraged her to take the next step toward her dream career — nursing. “I always wanted to be a nurse ever since I was a little girl, but I didn’t know how to get there.” April’s career coach helped her enroll in a CNA program at her local community college and find funding to afford it.
Through the workforce program, April was able to work at a local daycare facility, gaining work experience and having an income while she completed the CNA program. April graduated with her CNA last October and has since been hired by a local nursing home. She also has been accepted into a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program.
Jessica faced many challenges in her life that led her down a path of addiction. One night, she decided that her life and self-worth were more important than drugs.
When Jessica first came to Eckerd Connects, she resided in a sober living house. Now, Jessica is 20 months sober, steadily employed, and has regained custody of her 4-year-old son. Today, Jessica is working as a registered medical assistant serving the homeless population, with the hope of becoming an addiction counselor.
Through the Eckerd Connects Housing Program, Jessica and her little boy moved into their new apartment in March of 2018. “The Eckerd Connects' staff are the first people who have not judged me. Even in rehab, people were judgmental, but here they only cared about my future and helping me succeed.”
With supporters like you, Eckerd Connects is able to offer opportunities for people to take charge of their lives and redefine their futures.
We are good financial stewards. Every penny given to us by agencies, corporations, parents, donors and foundations is precious. Consequently, administrative overhead is kept reasonable so as to maximize resources on providing quality services.
The opportunity for a safe and secure future is not a privilege - it’s a birthright.
Eckerd Connects’ mission is to extend that right to the thousands of children, young adults, and families who have been deprived of it through no fault of their own.
It is by working with you that we are able to empower thousands of people to strive for stability and prosperity in their lives. Here’s to the achievements of our past and the triumphs yet to come.
In 1968, Jack and Ruth Eckerd founded Eckerd Connects as a way to help 25 children and their families get a second chance. Since that day, Eckerd Connects has helped hundreds of thousands of clients get the second chance that everyone deserves.
Help us keep Jack and Ruth Eckerd’s legacy alive by making a difference in the lives of thousands of children and families. Go to eckerd.org/donate to make a gift today!
Together, we can give children, young adults, and families the opportunity they deserve.