Notice: Due to Covid-19, appointments are required.

Contact Us: (941) 361-6210

Youth Thrive

About Us

We provide onsite youth educational and life enrichment programs to youth age 5-17 who reside in public housing. All Sarasota Housing Authority’s Youth Thrive programming is on public housing property and free-of-charge to Sarasota Housing Authority families.

The fact that we are always present onsite, our programs are in walking distance for our families, and we are able to build strong relationships with our youth and parents makes Sarasota Housing Authority’s Youth Thrive the main source of academic support and life-enrichment opportunities for public housing youth.

Our Purpose:

The purpose of Sarasota Housing Authority’s Youth Thrive program is to engage young people, enrich their lives, inspire them to dream and empower them to set and work toward goals that will enable them to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty.

Financial Support:

Our Youth Thrive staffing and programming are made possible by the generous financial support of our major funding partners:

  • Sarasota County – Contracted Human Services
  • Community Foundation of Sarasota County
  • First Horizon Foundation
  • Sarasota Bay Estuary Program

Kids and Teens Love Us!

Our After-School Program

Two portable buildings that include classrooms, computer lab, small libraries, a kitchenette and a teen lounge.

Our after-school program operates from 2:30-6:30pm, Monday-Thursday, through-out the academic year. The program serves an average of 23 students daily, grades K-10th, all of whom deboard their school bus and come directly to the Sarasota Housing Authority Learning Center for homework help, access to the computer lab, or other youth classes such as Art with The Ringling Museum, Social Black Belt with Our Y, BINGO/ Games with North Sarasota Library, financial literacy with Iberia Bank, and Healthy Kids, Happy Kids cooking classes

Sarasota Housing Authority employs one certified Sarasota County teacher to work with students, in addition to the Sarasota Housing Authority Youth Thrive Program Manager, the Youth Thrive Academic & Attendance Coach, and volunteer tutors.

Hands-on Learning

Our Garden

African American boy holding a vegetable in the garden

Full Day Program

Our Summer Enrichment Program

Summer Enrichment Program is a full-day program offered Monday-Friday through-out summer break. Sarasota Housing Authority partners with Patterson Foundation’s Suncoast Grade-level Reading Campaign, The Ringling Museum’s “Where Everyone Belongs” program and Sarasota County Libraries to provide summer learning and enrichment opportunities to 20 public housing students.

The emphasis of the program is on improving reading skills. Students read daily, either independently, one-on-one with a reading tutor, or in book groups facilitated by an adult. Students earn exciting field trip opportunities once they’ve reached their reading goals.

  • Recent field trip destinations include Mote Aquarium, Bishop Science Museum, InStride Equine Therapy, The Ringling, Myakka State Park, and Busch Gardens.
  • Summer students have received onsite weekly nutrition and cooking classes, weekly “Mindful Kids” yoga classes, and free weekly swim lessons at the YMCA.
  • The Learning Center is also an All Faiths Food Bank Summer Hotspot, providing free hot breakfast and lunch every weekday of summer vacation to our students and any area youth looking for a meal.

Partners: Ringling Museum’s “Where Everyone Belongs”, Van Wezel, Sarasota County Libraries, Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast’s “Youth in Nature”, Girls Inc, Home Depot, Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.

Group of boys and girls at an indoor swimming pool
Two girl teenagers learning in the hospital
Children touching horseshoe crabs at aquarium
Teenage girls enjoying coffee and smiling
Adult with two teens smiling in the garden
Two boys kayaking in the mangroves

Explore in Nature

Our Youth in Nature

Research indicates that contact with nature is important for children’s cognitive, emotional, social, and educational development. Youth growing up in Sarasota Housing Authority’s public housing will typically never get to visit and experience the natural wonders of our region but with valuable partnerships, we are working to change that.

Through a partnership with Sarasota Bay Estuary Program and Mote Aquarium, our teens experience morning kayaking on Sarasota Bay and afternoon admission to Mote Aquarium multiple times per year.

Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast’s “Youth in Nature” program exposes SHA youth to a range of experiences in our region’s spectacular parks and preserves.

Selby Gardens generously welcomes SHA youth both for summer enrichment and their annual “Lights in Bloom.”

Book Events

Book Rich Environment

Each summer, Sarasota Housing Authority partners with Sarasota County Libraries to hold three Book Rich Environment events:

  • Summer Kickoff event
  • Books & Badges street convoy event (in partnership with Sarasota Police Department)
  • Back-to-school books and school supply event


At each event, Sarasota Housing Authority Youth Thrive and Sarasota County Libraries distribute new books to all youth in Housing. Sarasota Housing Authority is one of only 37 housing authorities nationwide to participate in the Book Rich Environment program.

Click the image to download and learn more about the program.

Click the image to download and learn more about the program.

Children getting books from the back of a truck
Four children smiling and holding up books with an adult
Toddler in classroom

Parents love us!

Early Head Start -
Children First

Sarasota Housing Authority partners with Children First to provide four onsite Early Head Start classrooms on public housing property to promote healthy development for our youngest children.

Children First
1723 N. Orange Ave.
Sarasota, Florida 34234
Call: (941) 953-3877
Fax: (941) 954-8047

Police Partnership

Shop with a Cop:

The Sarasota Housing Funding Corp, Sarasota Housing Authority’s 501(c)3 affiliate, partners with the City of Sarasota Police Department and Target each year to provide underprivileged youth with a unique holiday experience. This December the Sarasota Housing Authority will be hosting our 12th Annual “Shop with a Cop” event at the local Target.Sarasota Police Department logo with palm trees and dolphin

The Annual “Shop with a Cop” event is an initiative designed to help build positive and respectful relationships between law enforcement and children living in Sarasota Housing Authority communities.

The Sarasota Housing Funding Corporation through grants/donations received from local business organizations and individuals. This past year’s event was made possible through donations by Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Communities Unified, Target, First Horizon Foundation, Knights of the Eagle Widows Sons Riders, Gary Dornbush, United Universalist Social Justice Committee, and other private donors.
100% of all Shop with a Cop donations are utilized to purchase Target gift cards ($100 per Child) for the event. Our goal again this coming year is for 150 plus children, so in order to do that we must raise $15,000.

Target logo with red bullseye

Donations can be made at our Sarasota Housing Funding Corporation’s donation page. We hope you are willing to sponsor this special event. Should you have questions and/or concerns regarding the event, or sponsorship opportunities, please feel free to contact us at (941) 361-6210 ext. 221 or email

Two African American kids shopping with two Sarasota Cops
Sarasota cop helping a girl pick a toy in Target
Sarasota police officer shopping with three kids

Get In Touch

Contact Us

We are working to ensure that today’s public housing youth can envision and reach a future of opportunity that is otherwise rarely tangible to them.

General Inquiries

Sarasota Youth Thrive
1912 N. Orange Ave
Sarasota, FL 34234
Phone: (941) 361-6210 ext. 252
Fax: (941) 366-4661

If you are a looking for additional information please use the contact form on this page or email us at:
Youth Thrive Logo in Blue and Green

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