Building Opportunities for Veterans and Youth

Join Eckerd Kids, Home Builders Institute, and Trevi Design in its efforts to provide Central Florida youth with a second chance.

Showing the power of networking, four organizations have come together for the first of what is hoped will become many small projects advancing the interests of our veteran and transitional youth communities.

Eckerd Kids and Home Builders Institute (HBI) have teamed up with property developer VJR Properties (owners of the Sawmill Center, better known as the First Colony Bank building) and Trevi International Design Studio to bring practical experience and ‘on the job’ training during a one day improvement and beautification project.

On January 23rd, 2016 the teams from Eckerd Kids and HBI will descend upon the Sawmill Center to tackle small improvement projects tapping into various skills which can be developed into career opportunities. From landscaping to light carpentry and commercial painting, the Sawmill Center will serve as a living classroom for the 20 youths and veterans, under the supervision of 15 trade experts.

“This learning project will allow the veteran and youth community to gain the marketable skills necessary to obtain employment in the building industry,” says Jamacan Penny-Vassey, HBI Military Services Program Manager.

Susanne Sabbatino of VJR Properties adds: “We are so excited by this collaboration. We have this kind of work all the time at the building and to think we can give this opportunity as training is fantastic. And as we start developing our next project, The Sawmill Market, we hope to come across some of these participants as craftsmen and builders earning a living from the skills they practiced here…!”

For more information about Eckerd Kids or HBI, or to learn how you can provide future second chances, please visit or For more information, contact Laurie Stern, 407-205-4376,