How we began…

Project LIFT (Life Initiatives for Teens) began in March 2010 when licensed psychotherapist Bob Zaccheo struggled to find a way to connect with teenage boys in his office at a non-profit mental health agency in Martin County, Florida.  With a focus on substance abuse counseling, he found that young teenage boys refused to participate in the therapy sessions. Zaccheo recognized the key to success was to get them out of the office and provide incentives to keep them motivated toward life improvement.

Before beginning Project LIFT,  Zaccheo interviewed teenage boys and discovered they wanted to learn a trade or work on automobiles. He traded in his desk for a pair of work boots, rented a nearby garage, and spent time working with his patients repairing vehicles.   He invited five teens to participate in an intensive 14-week session combining vocational skills training, substance abuse treatment, group and individual mental health therapy and mentoring. 


2010 – Project LIFT program initiated. Under the guidance of licensed volunteer tradesman, Project LIFT participants gutted and renovated a small building which was used as a teen center. Project LIFT was located in a garage space at the Boat Museum repairing old cars and boats.

2011 – Project LIFT received a 501(c)(3) non-profit designation.  Solidified a strong visionary Board of Directors and began to expand the program.

2012 – 2014  Received funding from local foundations and supporting organizations. Hired full-time therapists, vocational instructors and volunteers. Began earned income screen printing.

2015 – Purchased an 8,000 square foot building in Palm City, Florida which is debt-free.  The potential of the increased warehouse space would afford the expansion for a girl’s program, expansion of vocational skills curriculum and growth of earned income opportunities fostering self-sufficiency.

2016 – Project LIFT expanded and created a girls program.  The girls version of Project LIFT launched with young ladies who had chosen unhealthy behaviors as a result of trauma they experienced therefore resulting in poor decision making and/or substance abuse. Vocational skills training includes sewing, agriculture, screen printing and all Project LIFT trades.

2017 –  Technology meets the trades by upgrading to industry standard equipment. The program space had been redesigned for industry standard auto repair, boat building and restoration, screen printing/graphic arts, bicycle repair, welding, carpentry, sewing, upholstery and agriculture. The industry standard equipment has attracted employers who volunteer to train the teens and seek out prospective employees.

2018 -  Created Pathway Academy of Innovation program to help teens who have dropped out of school attain their high school diploma while learning a vocational trade. Project LIFT expanded to Belle Glade, Western Palm Beach County and Dunnellon in  Marion County.  Belle Glade ranks near the top of the list for crime, unemployment and juvenile delinquency in Florida. There are neighborhood pockets of unemployment rates up to 40%.  Dunnellon in Marion County has one of the highest school drop-out rates in Florida.



Bob Zaccheo, LMHC, SAE

Licensed Psychotherapist, Chief Executive Officer

Louise Auclair, BPA, MSHRM, PHR

HR Manager

Christine Coller, CPA

Chief Finance Officer

Damien Davis

Director of Programs, Belle Glade

David O’Brien

North Florida Regional Director

Chris Jackson

Chief Operating Officer

Raquel Lumia, LMHC

Licensed Psychotherapist, Clinical Director

Garnard "Vic" Miller, B.S. 

Director of Operations, Martin County

Sarah Paulick, LMHC

Licensed Psychotherapist, Girls Program Director

Program Staff

William Allen

Small Engine Repair Instructor, Belle Glade

Denise Bardeen

Sales & Production Coordinator, HVAC Program, Martin County

Amanda Bramlett, M.S., LMFT

Licensed Psychotherapist, Martin County

Shanique Burks

Screen-printing Instructor, Belle Glade   

Keith Carson

Driver, Dunnellon

Sean Clonan

HVAC Assistant, Martin County

Tequella Collins

Strong Families Program Specialist, Belle Glade

Crystal Dethlefs

Driver, Dunnellon

Lester Finney

Screen-printing Instructor, Belle Glade

Robert Gainey

Driver, Martin County

Brent Holladay

Licensed Therapist, Martin County

Bruce Jacobs

Screen-printing Instructor, Martin County      

Betty Jacobs

Sales & Production Coordinator Screen-printing, Martin County

Gerald Jones

Project Manager, Dunnellon

Jodi McNamara

Program/Workforce Development Director

Susan Patsicostas, LMHC

Licensed Psychotherapist, Dunnellon

Matthew Storiale

Screen-Printing Tech, Martin County

Jillian Snyder

Donorbase Coordinator, Dunnellon

Kirk Tinney

Vocational Instructor, Carpentry Martin County

Autumn Thomas, B.S.W.

Program Assistant, Martin County

Preston Vickers

Carpenter Instructor, Belle Glade

Marvin Webb

Barbershop Instructor, Belle Glade

Clarence Young

Barbershop Instructor, Belle Glade


Administrative Staff

Janeen Bruce

Administrative Assistant, Dunnellon

Juliet Ciaravino

Special Events & Outreach Director

Lois Ehrhardt

Administrative Assistant, Martin County

Crainesha Vickers

Administrative Assistant, Belle Glade

Board of Directors

Richard Martinuik

Kearns Insurance

Michele F. Libman, M.D.

Vice President
Owner, Treasure Coast Urgent and Family Care

Elizabeth Gaskin

Provost, IRSC

Henry N. Libby, J.D., LL.M


RJ Ferraro, J.D.

Founding President
Ferraro Law Group

Kevin Bousquette

Jade Smith

Owner & President of Island Party Rentals 

Merry Stoyanovich, MBA, CM, MiCP

TBC Corporation - Manager Lease Administration


Collaborative Partners