Safe Harbor Boys Academy (Florida)
Safe Harbor admits boys age 14-17 who are experiencing behavior problems at home and at school and need an alternative home setting. The purpose of Safe Harbor is to assist the boys in becoming responsible, mature and independent young men through spiritual, educational and vocational training.
Safe Harbor Academy is a lower-cost Christian academy for troubled boys in Jacksonville, Florida, using the waterfront and maritime activities as the backdrop for helping teenage boys who are struggling. Safe Harbor provides a safe, stable, structured, alternative home, school and behavior therapy. Boys learn responsibility and experience behavior modification through seamanship, mentoring, counseling and a spiritual focus, while also studying for a high school diploma. Safe Harbor has been featured in People Magazine, and on CBS This Morning, NBC News Today, CNN, and CBN. The story of the unique boarding school for at-risk boys is featured in the Safe Harbor movie, starring Treat Williams, on Hallmark Channel.
As a water-based program, the boys live aboard boats, learning seamanship skills. The Safe Harbor program is structured and centers on teaching a work ethic and helping the boys understand their behavior is leading them into less and less freedom. We develop positive character traits by exposing the boys to many vocational education opportunities including carpentry, welding, boat maintenance & repair, gas and diesel engine repair, and some basic electrical concepts. Character traits such as dependability, follow-through, focus, and attention to detail are taught in these courses.
Counseling is offered individually and through groups by both licensed mental health professionals, and pastoral counseling. Professional staff conducts individual sessions with families and their sons including conversations over the phone, and staff sends frequent emails to keep family updated. Additionally, short weekly phone calls along with encouraged letter writing helps restore family relationships.
Safe Harbor admits boys age 14-17 who are experiencing behavior problems at home and at school and need an alternative home setting. Referrals are accepted from the professional mental health community, judiciary, pastors, relatives, and friends. The purpose of Safe Harbor is to assist the boys in becoming responsible, mature and independent young men through spiritual, educational and vocational training.
As a maritime program, the boys live aboard boats, learning seamanship skills. All boys must be able to pass a swimming exam as a condition of admission. The boys receive Vocational training in a variety of disciplines on-campus. Lifestyle competence such as driver education, job-seeking skills (interviewing, resumes, appropriate dress), banking – including establishing and maintaining a checking and savings’ account, the correct use of credit, and every boy graduates from Dr. Robbie’s FHA club (Future Husbands of America) learning basic nutrition, cooking and grocery shopping skills, laundry and housekeeping skills.
The boys must maintain academic success in order to be eligible for extracurricular activities that may include SCUBA certification, windsurfing, boating activities, fishing and a myriad of off-campus activities. Responsibility for one’s actions is taught and reinforced on a daily basis. Privileges come only with an increased demonstration of responsibility for one’s self and toward others.
The goals of our educational and vocational programs are to prepare the boys for entrance into and success in the workplace. The foundation principles used include a focus on INTEGRITY and GOOD CHARACTER, teamwork, listening and speaking ability, problem-solving, ability to instruct and lead others, ability to allocate one’s time and money, reasoning and personal integrity, honesty, self-management, and social ability.
The philosophy of Safe Harbor is to provide a caring, loving, disciplined atmosphere, to instill self-esteem, responsibility, and reliability in the boys. To teach them to live and work in harmony with others, to be accepting and tolerant of their fellow man without compromising the truth, in a word to become mature. To this end we believe this is maturity:
- To know God and enjoy a personal relationship with Him.
- To be able to stick with a job until it is finished.
- To be able to bear an injustice without wanting to get even.
- To be able to carry money without spending it.
- To do one’s duty without being supervised.
Since its inception, the Safe Harbor program has provided each boy with the mental, physical and spiritual strength to succeed in life. The water and boating have always played an integral part in our lives. Life on the water provides serenity and peace, but also unequaled opportunities for life lessons. For these reasons, they utilize the waterfront and vessels as the foundation of the residential, academic and vocational education program.
Sixty-plus donated boats of all sizes fill the docks and the landscape. The vessels serve as housing for the boys and staff; training vessels for marine industry-based skills and play an important role in the vocational education and character development programs. They have kept the unique residential, integrated academic/vocational program, guided by the Christian foundation the same throughout the past 25 years, the vehicles through which the goals are achieved are constantly changing, never stagnant. Safe Harbor will incorporate any medium to excite, inspire, teach and bring hope to boys we serve.
Cost-Effective: Safe Harbor is funded exclusively by the private sector (we receive no government funding). We understand that families may have to sacrifice in order to see their son admitted to the program and moving toward a successful outcome.
Academics: The Safe Harbor academic philosophy is built on the belief that education is a lifelong process and occurs in every area of life. At Safe Harbor, the foundation to a balanced education is the understanding that varied and unique learning styles exist, and identifying the particular style of a student ensures he will achieve maximum success. Integrating a student’s unique learning style with traditional and active learning, hands-on and critical thinking skills, developed in an atmosphere seeking and requiring excellence, empowers students to achieve maximum success. Thus, learning becomes fun, stimulating, and its own reward.
Academics are a core component of the overall Safe Harbor Academy program. Due to behavioral challenges, many new students come to Safe Harbor academically delayed. The academic and overall program helps students recover from these delays and regain lost ground. The curriculum combined with the unique and creative learning approach supports students who previously have not experienced success in the academic setting.
The overall program, including vocational and maritime elective credit classes, reinforce “real life” learning. Key academic and life lessons are melded into the overall program helping students discover their true interests and abilities while strengthening and helping students develop positive character qualities in their lives.
Many fun and exciting activities exist at Safe Harbor such as; scuba certification, engine shop, fishing, sailing, surfing, Spike Reef Project and many more.
Associations & Organizations
Students by Grade
Teachers on Staff
Photo Source: School's Website and/or Social Media Data Source: NCES: 00939414
Other Boarding Schools in Florida
Lakeland Girls Academy helps girls with behavioral or rebellion issues, low self-esteem, or depression. We provide a unique atmosphere with personal attention to help each girl get back on track and develop positive life strategies. Our students learn the necessary skills to prepare them for the future while they become confident and secure.The progress of students is based on a collaborative and collective effort of the child's counselor, staff, and parents. Counseling is provided through a faith-based holistic approach and is unique…9 - 12All-girl30 StudentsTeachers
Lake Wales, FL
The Vanguard School is a unique boarding school located in Lake Wales, Florida. The Vanguard School specializes in creating an environment that targets each student's individually exclusive educational needs. Students with specific learning differences are able to get the education and the academic attention they deserve at Vanguard. The Vanguard School's exemplary campus is full of extracurricular activities for students with varied interests. Some students enjoy playing beach volleyball or going on a canoe adventure, while others find solace in joining one…4 - 12Coed100 Students25 Teachers
Florida Prep is a private college preparatory school for girls and boys in grades 5-12 located in Melbourne, Florida and was founded in 1961 by Jonathan Dwight. Academics at Florida Prep is their top priority. They offer Honors, Advanced Placement, Aventa Online courses, or Dual Enrollment courses to all students. Since 1978, this academy has had 100% college acceptance rate for all graduating seniors. In addition to the outstanding academic program, FAA has several other programs available to the student body. They…5 - 12Coed300 Students35 Teachers
St Petersburg, FL
Admiral Farragut Academy is a private coed school in St. Petersburg, Florida. In terms of religious orientation, Admiral Farragut Academy is a nonsectarian school. The academic school years lasts 179 calendar days and each day students spend 7 hours in class. In 2011, 99% of the graduating senior class went on to 4-year colleges. 53.3 full-time equivalent teachers are on staff to educate the student body of 369 students in grades PK-12. That's a student-teacher ratio of 6.92. We look more closely…12Coed383 Students56 Teachers