Project L.I.F.T. and the Michael Shields Memorial Fishing Tournament

How Project L.I.F.T. works

Project L.I.F.T. combines job-training, community service and behavior modification with pioneering community solutions during difficult economic times. “At-risk” youth members of Project L.I.F.T. have the opportunity to literally affect the lives of hundreds of individuals in a positive way through innovative interventions and service learning experiences.

This sense of self-management and community responsibility will equip at-risk youth with problem solving capabilities to provide insight into why they choose certain negative behaviors and how to successfully intervene to avoid those behaviors in the future.

Each day, members of Project L.I.F.T. receive the opportunity to learn hands-on job skills, guided by professionals in designated fields. The projects that members work on and learn from are then made available to families in need. Surrounded by positive mentors, members are also provided with a safe and healthy environment to build valuable and meaningful relationships, which help them grow mentally and develop skills to prevent relapses. During this process, members are given opportunities to work on their “self” through structured behavioral interventions led by state licensed mental health professionals.

The product of the Project L.I.F.T. experience is not only a “Restored Youth,” but a youth who is better prepared to live and work independently.

We provide intensive 14-week sessions and continued after-care with small groups of teens ages 14-19 who have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, academic failure or delinquency.  In these sessions, we combine occupational and service industry skills, job readiness, job placement, mentoring, tutoring, skill development, and substance abuse treatment in group and individual sessions, providing both intervention and prevention for these at-risk teens.

Our key staff are supported by dedicated volunteers.  Thanks to community volunteers our teens learn new skills like auto repair, boat building, plumbing, tiling and more – earning a small stipend while participating in evidence-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interview Therapy. 

IT Works!  Results Driven……

We are proud to say there is an 83% success rate of teens who have completed Project L.I.F.T. living sober and on a positive path of employment success.  This year we have watched our waiting list grow to a point of triage.  More than just the teen is benefiting.  In fact, over the last 5 years our teens have completely gutted and renovated 5 small structures in Martin County, given away over 300 bikes to needy individuals and families, done 400 no cost auto repairs, and given away 58 restored vehicles to families in need, through collaborations with community partners such as House of Hope and Mary’s Shelter.  Our teens are the backbone of these accomplishments and they reap the reward of giving!


Current Funders

The past several years Project L.I.F.T has cultivated a network of funders that strongly believe in our mission and have a strong desire to solve problems.  Key funders who currently support Project LIFT and are committed to long term funding and support are: The United Way of Martin County, Children’s Services Council, Hobe Sound Community Chest, Loblolly Foundation, Martin County Community Foundation, and the Lost Tree Foundation along with other numerous fund raising events throughout the year.  We are excited to say that the Michael Shields Memorial Inshore Fishing Tournament is one of our largest fundraisers of the year!

How Your Donation Makes a Difference!

Project LIFT continues to grow, and we are expecting to almost double the amount of teens we serve in this fiscal year.  Our intended goal is to treat 120 teens with addictions per year and expanding services to females.  Future goals include expanding services to reach teens who are challenged economically to realize their ability to learn a trade and work for a living wage, thus utilizing the model to work with non-offenders and non-addicted clients.

Thanks to the generous sponsors, donors and attendees of the last 2 year’s MSM tournament we established a building fund with over $93,000 to go towards the purchase of our new facility!  Not only that, we were able to pay off the mortgage with additional support received!  We invite you to come take a tour to see what your support has made possible!

This year’s Proceeds

This year Project LIFT, with the help of many dedicated donors, has expanded their focus to include girls. This new cutting edge program under the leadership of our Girls Program Director, Nicole King, utilizes Licensed Psychotherapists, Professional Female Business Leaders, and the skilled trades to elicit change.

Aptly named The Willow Project this program is designed for young ladies of middle and high-school ages 12-19 who have chosen unhealthy behaviors as a result of trauma they have experienced, poor decision making and/or substance use issues. The girls will develop skills to strengthen their character and become empowered with the strategies to make healthy choices into the future.

Our intention is to create a positive therapeutic environment where these ladies can experience, for maybe the first time, authentic relationships that foster trust, acceptance, and respect. These ladies will be guided through a curriculum that empowers them to make healthier choices. And, again utilizing highly professional women in our community that provide a variety of internships fostering skills they can use in life and propel them into the future.

We want to thank Dr. and Mrs. Shields, the Entire MSMIO Executive Committee, and the Current Chair Shannon Anderson for committing this year’s funds to The Willow Project the girls program of Project LIFT!