Teen Court of Sarasota undergoes a makeover with the help of Gulf Coast Builder’s Exchange member: Service Contracting Solutions.

When Teen Court of Sarasota, Inc. reached out to the Gulf Coast Builder’s Exchange (GCBX), the not-for-profit trade organization delivered. Mary Slapp, GCBX’s executive director and a Teen Court of Sarasota board member, surveyed the GCBX’s over 400 members in Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte Counties with Teen Court of Sarasota’s request of donated office furniture.

Service Contracting Solutions stepped up to the plate but in a different capacity. Burt Whitenight, the executive vice president of Service Contracting Solutions, didn’t have furniture to donate, but he did offer to paint the nonprofit’s office, which had not seen a fresh coat in over 20 years.

“We got contacted by Mary with GCBX, and we heard that there was a need in the community to help out Teen Court with freshening up the offices and a new paint job, and we were glad to volunteer,” says Burt.

During the painting day, held on Feb. 13, over 40 individuals, including staff, students and volunteers from Sherwin Williams and Service Contracting Solutions, along with Burt and his family, chipped in to refresh the nonprofit’s walls.

“It’s a wonderful community project – thanks to the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange and their executive director, Mary Slapp, who connected Teen Court to this wonderful painting company – Service Contracting Solutions,” said Katie Self, the former executive director of Teen Court of Sarasota.

In one 8-hour day, the volunteers used paint donated by Sherwin Williams and coated the walls in a pretty taupe-grey color on the walls with light green, light blue and darker blue accents. By the end of the day, the entire office, including five office spaces, common space and a conference room, received a much-needed facelift.

“This opportunity would not have been possible without GCBX connecting a nonprofit’s needs to a solution,” says Heather Todd, who leads Teen Court of Sarasota as its executive director.
The fresh and clean space is not only a benefit to the nonprofit’s staff and volunteers, but most importantly, to the teenage lives the Teen Court of Sarasota touches and changes. The nonprofit reduces juvenile crime in the community through its unique intervention services for juvenile offenders and through opportunities for teen volunteers to learn about and work in the legal system.

“I think that we’re all looking for a really fresh start and kind of getting this year off to a good beginning,” says Susan Krinsk, a licensed mental health counselor at Teen Court of Sarasota assists with the co-op program and individual counseling. “All of these kids have the potential to be something really important, and the diversion program allows them to go forward with no record. It’s really important to me that they go forward with a good mental health attitude. So I’m thrilled to see my office coming together. It’s starting to really look comfortable and inviting, which is the most important thing for me. I just want everyone to be here and feel safe and happy.”

Through its programming, Teen Court of Sarasota introduces area youth to activities and services that promote feelings of self-esteem and self-improvement when they develop a healthy attitude toward authority. All organizational activities instill and teach the benefits of law and abiding citizenship and civic engagement.
This community project is not the first nor will it be the last that the GCBX members help with. Made up of some of the most respected contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, service providers and businesses in construction affiliated industries, its membership is a generous and operates under the philosophy of “members working with members” to help individual members and the community grow.

“Mary Slapp and GCBX see a need in the community, and they reach out to their members to provide a solution,” says Heather. “They are doers, and they make things happen. We once were in need of an obstacle course, and GCBX and their members came to the rescue by clearing the land, donating the materials and building the obstacle course.”