At nine years old, Jamie was breaking into homes to steal money. Anna was stealing cars and taking part in other illegal activity that would earn her fast money. They are just two of six youth who admittedly made mistakes when they were younger and have managed to turn their lives around thanks to Eckerd Connects’ Project Bridge, a program that helps troubled youth transition from the juvenile justice system back into their home communities. On November 3, GTE Financial will recognize all six youth at a leadership banquet where they will speak to their peers about their past, and now, their much brighter future. The event takes place at 11:30 a.m. at GTE Financial (711 E Henderson Ave., Tampa).
“We’re so proud of these youth for not only learning from their past but making the right choice to get back on track with their lives and use their experiences to help others,” said Brian Best, CEO of GTE Financial. “We commend their efforts and the strength it takes to recover from a difficult past. We are especially honored to support Eckerd Connects and all it does for the families and children in our community.”
Project Bridge was developed in partnership with the State of Florida Department of Juvenile Justice to serve youth in Central and South Florida. At the event, Best will share advice and offer his personal insight about what it takes to be a leader and make a difference.
“These are young people who have worked extremely hard to leave the past behind and start a new chapter in their lives,” said Curtis Campogni, program manager for Eckerd Connects’ Project Bridge. “Eckerd Connects’ Project Bridge program strives to help them achieve stable and successful lives and reduce recidivism. We’re thrilled to partner with GTE Financial to spotlight some of the remarkable success stories that we see unfolding every single day.”
About GTE Financial
GTE Financial is a not-for-profit financial cooperative with more than $1.8 billion in assets and 22 Community Financial Centers located throughout West Central, Florida. Chartered in 1935, GTE Financial is locally owned and operated in the Tampa Bay area and serves more than 255,000 individuals and businesses. More information on GTE Financial can be found at www.gtefinancial.org.
ECKERD CONNECTS | PROJECT BRIDGE
Eckerd Connects’ Project Bridge program provides transitional services to boys and girls ages 11-21 reintegrating back to their home communities from juvenile justice residential commitment programs. Through an innovative collaboration of organizations, Project Bridge provides educational, mentoring, vocational and transportation services to help these youth achieve stable and successful lives and avoid re-entry into the criminal justice system.
Project Bridge was developed in partnership with the State of Florida Department of Juvenile Justice to serve youth in Central and South Florida in 2013.
Eckerd Connects was founded in 1968 by Jack and Ruth Eckerd with the belief that everyone deserves the opportunity to succeed. The national nonprofit organization has connected more than 200,000 children and families to the help they need through programs in family and child services, workforce development, and juvenile justice services. To learn more please visit www.eckerd.org.