This is a  staff list for Eckerd Youth Alternatives Programs in (FL, GA, VT, RI, NH, NC, TN, TX, LA,  

(a.k.a. Eckerd Academy, E-Ku-Sumee, E-Tik-Etu, E-Ten-Etu, E-Mun-Talee (closing/closed by October 2nd, 2010), E-Ma-Etu, E-Toh-Anee, E-Hun-Tee, E-Wen-Akee (Closed in 2012--see article below), E-Nini-Hassee, E-Ma-Chamee, E-Kel-Etu (Closed in 2011, See: http://www.publicschoolreview.com/school_ov/school_id/94187) , E-Ma-Henwu (Closed***) )

(we are working to acquire the complete records for ALL years)

 

We advise current and/or former staff to report any abuses you may have witnessed while working at Eckerd Youth Alternatives' Programs.  For information on your rights and how to take action, visit www.heal-online.org/blowthewhistle.htm.  If you were fired or forced to resign because you opposed any illegal and/or unethical practices at Eckerd Youth Alternatives' Programs, you have the right to take action. 

 

If you were harmed (family or survivor) by Eckerd Youth Alternatives' Programs, please contact info@heal-online.org if you remember the long-term employees and from which years.  This will help!   Also, if you recognize any of these staff as having worked at another program, please send in any information about their past or present employment at other facilities and/or cults.

 

 

Please don’t place your loved one in Eckerd Youth Alternatives' Programs and rescue them if they are there now.

 

Name

Unit/Position

Additional Information
Jack and Ruth Eckerd Founders ALL Eckerd Youth Alternatives Programs.  Founded the program in 1968 in Brooksville, FL.  Eckerd is affiliated with the deceptive NATSAP trade organization that masquerades as an "accreditation agency".  They are also "accredited" by the very questionable Council on Accreditation that also "accredited" the confirmedly abusive and now closed Pathway Family Center programs.  Jack and Ruth Eckerd are not licensed health nor mental health professionals in Florida.  Source: http://ww2.doh.state.fl.us/IRM00PRAES/PRASLIST.ASP#theBottom
Board of Directors Board of Directors Board of Directors
Kennedy C. O'Herron Chair O'Herron is not a licensed health nor mental health professional in Florida.  Source: http://ww2.doh.state.fl.us/IRM00PRAES/PRASLIST.ASP#theBottom
David Dennis Board-member There are six David Dennis' holding various licenses in FL.  HEAL requires the middle name of this David Dennis to verify whether or not he is licensed.  Source: http://ww2.doh.state.fl.us/IRM00PRAES/PRASLIST.ASP#theBottom  President and CEO for ALL Eckerd Youth Alternatives Programs.
(Dr.) Nick Dewan Board-member There is only one Dr. Dewan licensed in Florida.  His name is Naakesh Amrit Dewan.  This may be a different person.  Source: http://ww2.doh.state.fl.us/IRM00PRAES/PRASLIST.ASP#theBottom
V. Raymond Ferrara Board-member Ferrara is not a licensed health nor mental health professional in Florida.  Source: http://ww2.doh.state.fl.us/IRM00PRAES/PRASLIST.ASP#theBottom
Nancy Eckerd Hart Board-member There are multiple Nancy Hart's with various licenses in FL.  HEAL requires Nancy's middle name to verify.  There are no Nancy Eckerd Hart's licensed in Florida.  Source: http://ww2.doh.state.fl.us/IRM00PRAES/PRASLIST.ASP#theBottom
Peter Scott III Board-member There is a Peter Lawrence Scott (no III) licensed as a medical doctor in FL.  This may or may not be the same person.  Source: http://ww2.doh.state.fl.us/IRM00PRAES/PRASLIST.ASP#theBottom
Kathleen Shanahan Board-member Kathie L Huff Shanahan is a licensed registered nurse in FL.  This may or may not be the same person.  Source: http://ww2.doh.state.fl.us/IRM00PRAES/PRASLIST.ASP#theBottom
Jay B. "Trey" Starkey III Board-member Starkey is not a licensed health nor mental health professional in Florida.  Source: http://ww2.doh.state.fl.us/IRM00PRAES/PRASLIST.ASP#theBottom
James T. Swann III Board-member Swann is not a licensed health nor mental health professional in Florida.  Source: http://ww2.doh.state.fl.us/IRM00PRAES/PRASLIST.ASP#theBottom
Francene Hazel Admissions Eckerd Academy--Brooksville, FL  We received an e-mail reporting additional staff and background information on this program.  Staff are listed below.  The message also stated, "

Here are some staff names at Eckerd Academy in Brooksville. The program is understaffed, and lacks structure. There is a ropes course and other wilderness type equipment available but not in use. There is absolutely no parent involvement, even contact between parent and child is stifled at best. "  Message Received April 1st, 2010 at 4:38am Pacific  Hazel is not a licensed health nor mental health professional in Florida.  Source: http://ww2.doh.state.fl.us/IRM00PRAES/PRASLIST.ASP#theBottom

Bart Downs Program Director Downs is a licensed clinical social worker in FL and has been since 2008.  Source: http://ww2.doh.state.fl.us/IRM00PRAES/PRASLIST.ASP#theBottom
Jacki Malone Temp Program Director There are two Jacqueline Malone's licensed under various professions in FL.  HEAL requires Malone's middle name to verify licensure.  Source: http://ww2.doh.state.fl.us/IRM00PRAES/PRASLIST.ASP#theBottom  Jacki was reportedly replaced by Bart Downs above.
Erin Cotter Program Director (former)
Cotter is not a licensed health nor mental health professional in Florida.  Source: http://ww2.doh.state.fl.us/IRM00PRAES/PRASLIST.ASP#theBottom Reportedly, "Prior to Jacki (this is all within a 6 mos period) the Program Director was Erin Cotter."

 

Robert Marshall Education Director Marshall is not a licensed educator in Florida.  Source: http://www.fldoe.org/edcert/public.asp
Cindy Ralston Nurse There are two Ralston's licensed in Florida.  HEAL requires the middle name and/or complete name (i.e. Cynthia v. Cindy) of Ms. Ralston to verify licensure. Source: http://ww2.doh.state.fl.us/IRM00PRAES/PRASLIST.ASP#theBottom  Ralston is only reportedly on-site every other week.
Athena (no last name) Eckerd Education Director HEAL requires Athena's last name to verify licensure.  Education Director for all Eckerd Youth programs, reportedly.
Jo Lynn Smith Director Smith is not a licensed health nor mental health professional in Florida.  Source: http://ww2.doh.state.fl.us/IRM00PRAES/PRASLIST.ASP#theBottom  E-Nini-Hassee--Floral City, FL  (Wilderness Program) There is no additional information regarding staff at this program.*
Bruce Predmore Director Predmore is not a licensed health nor mental health professional in Florida.  Source: http://ww2.doh.state.fl.us/IRM00PRAES/PRASLIST.ASP#theBottom  E-Ma-Chamee--Milton, FL (Wilderness Program)  There is no additional information regarding staff at this program.*
Tony Hawkins Director Hawkins is not a licensed health nor mental health professional in Florida.  Source: http://ww2.doh.state.fl.us/IRM00PRAES/PRASLIST.ASP#theBottomE-Kel-Etu--Silver Springs, FL (Wilderness Program)  There is no additional information regarding current staff at this program.*
Aaron Seymour Staff (former) Seymour is not a licensed health nor mental health professional in Florida.  Source: http://ww2.doh.state.fl.us/IRM00PRAES/PRASLIST.ASP#theBottom  Aaron Seymour worked at Eckerd from 2000-2002.  Aaron Seymour also worked for Three Springs, another confirmedly abusive program.
C. Mike Smith Director Eckerd Youth Challenge Program--Brooksville, FL  There is no additional information regarding staff at this program.*  HEAL requires the full name of "C. Mike Smith" to verify licensure or lack thereof. 
Richard Wentworth Director Eckerd Academy--Deer Lodge, TN  There is no additional information regarding staff at this program.*  Wentworth is not a licensed health nor mental health professional in TN.  Source: http://health.state.tn.us/licensure/
Tim McMahon Director Eckerd Academy--Suches, GA  McMahon oversaw Appalachian Wilderness Camp when Travis Parker (13 yrs) was killed by the program.   McMahon is not a licensed mental health professional in GA.  Source: https://secure.sos.state.ga.us/myverification/Search.aspx
Karen V. Waddell CEO in 2004 for all Eckerd Youth Alternatives' programs.  Waddell is not a licensed health nor mental health professional in Florida.  Source: http://ww2.doh.state.fl.us/IRM00PRAES/PRASLIST.ASP#theBottom
Brian Gray Executive Director E-Ku-Sumee--Candor, NC  There is no additional information regarding staff at this program.*  HEAL requires Gray's middle name and claimed licensure (i.e. Nurse, MD, Psychologist, Counselor) to verify. 
Theodore Wisniewski Director E-Tik-Etu--Elizabethtown, NC  There is no additional information regarding staff at this program.*  Wisniewski is not a licensed doctor.  Wisniewski is not a licensed nurse.  Source: http://wwwapps.ncmedboard.org/Clients/NCBOM/Public/LicenseeInformationResults.aspx  Wisniewski is not a licensed psychologist.  Source: http://www.ncpsychologyboard.org/search.htm Wisniewski is not a licensed counselor.  Source: http://www.ncblpc.org/license-info/verification
Michelle Halsey Contact Person/Admissions E-Ten-Etu--Manson, NC  Halsey is not a licensed counselor in NC.  Source: http://www.ncblpc.org/license-info/verification  Halsey is not a licensed psychologist in NC.  Source: http://www.ncpsychologyboard.org/search.htm
Mike O'Connor Director There is no additional information regarding staff at this program.*  O'Connor is not a licensed psychologist in NC. Source: http://www.ncpsychologyboard.org/search.htm  O'Connor is not a licensed counselor in NC.  Source: http://www.ncblpc.org/license-info/verification
Kathi Grenough Director E-Mun-Talee--Lowgap, NC (E-Mun-Talee is reportedly closing on or before October 2nd, 2010)  Grenough is not a licensed counselor in NC.  Source: http://www.ncblpc.org/license-info/verification  Grenough is not a licensed psychologist in NC.  Source: http://www.ncpsychologyboard.org/search.htm
Daniel Wanta Director E-Ma-Etu--Boomer, NC  Wanta is not a licensed psychologist in NC.  Source: http://www.ncpsychologyboard.org/search.htm  Wanta is not a licensed counselor in NC.  Source: http://www.ncblpc.org/license-info/verification
Karen Langley Administrator E-Toh-Anee--Stewartstown, NH
Tim Wending Coordinator E-Hun-Tee--Exeter, RI
Joel Seymour Staff (former) Seymour is a "graduate" of Rocky Mountain Academy. (A confirmedly abusive CEDU cult program)  Seymour also worked for the following: Eckerd Youth Alternatives in Rhode Island and Brush Ranch School in Terrero, NM.
Richard Boschwitz Executive Director E-Wen-Akee--Benson, VT
Francene Hazel Admissions E-Ma-Henwu--Newport, NC  Hazel is not a licensed counselor in NC.  Source: http://www.ncblpc.org/license-info/verification  Hazel is not a licensed psychologist in NC.  Source: http://www.ncpsychologyboard.org/search.htm
Keith Cartright Director Cartright is not a licensed psychologist in NC.  Source: http://www.ncpsychologyboard.org/search.htm  Cartright is not a licensed counselor in NC.  Source: http://www.ncblpc.org/license-info/verification
Mike Adamkowski Director of Statewide Operations-NH Now works at Beckett Family Services and is Chairperson of NH DCYF advisory board.
Bill Bezanson Counselor E-Toh-Anee--New Hampshire.  Now works as ER nurse at Rutland Medical Center.
     
     
*(Eckerd Youth Alternatives' Programs, like many other programs in this industry, keeps a "tight lid" on any specific information regarding their staff, qualifications, and practices.  Please contact us with the names of any staff of which you have firsthand knowledge or experience.  Thank you for your help.)
Death: Michael Spencer Wiltsie (1999)

Director at youth camp fired--May 2nd, 2009--SILVER SPRINGS - A program director accused of using older boys to threaten younger ones at a camp for troubled youth was fired Thursday, state officials said Friday.  Frank Penela, a spokesman with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, said the state agency received a letter from Eckerd Youth Alternatives confirming that Eckerd fired Emeka Virgo, a program director at Camp E-Ke-Etu in the Ocala National Forest off East State Road 40. Eckerd, a private company, runs the camp under a contract with the state.  Eckerd officials did not return phone calls Friday.  Virgo joins two camp counselors - Roscoe Watts, 30, and Dana Valentino, 32 - who were also fired Thursday for unspecified violations of company policies.  For complete story, click here.

Teens learn to face consequences at reform school--April 13th, 2008--... "Kids typically are angry when they get here, angry at their parents for sending them away, angry at us for being here, just angry," McMahon said. "We address that on Day One, asking them why they are here and helping them with their initial treatment plan, then their master plan.

Though hundreds of families rave about residential programs such as this one, others have horror stories.

Julia Scheeres, author of a best-selling memoir, "Jesus Land," will beg any parent who'll listen to not believe slick brochures and a program director's word.

Scheeres, now 41, spent a year in a religious-based reform school in the Dominican Republic along with her adopted brother, David. Her parents sent them there from their Indiana home when Julia was 17.

At the school, she witnessed physical abuse regularly and lived in a constant state of fear and depression.

"Some kids, who are deep in drugs or other bad crimes, may find these places work," she said. "But for kids like me and my brother — who simply didn't get along with our parents and were doing normal teenage rebellions — they do far more harm than good. I no longer have a relationship with my parents."

Scheeres is quick to point out that she has no knowledge of Eckerd. She just wants to tell parents to fully investigate any program before sending kids away.

Eckerd has had hundreds of kids come and go through its program over the past 40 years, but its record isn't spotless.

In 2000, 12-year-old Michael Wiltsie died at the Ocala, Fla., camp after being physically restrained by a 300-pound counselor. Though Florida juvenile justice authorities were critical of Eckerd, no criminal charges were filed.

McMahon also has first-hand experience with tragedy. He was the camp director at the Appalachian Wilderness Camp in 2005 when Travis Parker, 13, died at the state-run camp for troubled boys near Cleveland. Six people were initially charged with murder in Travis' death. McMahon was never charged. He did testify in court that his review of the incident found all the workers properly applied a restraint hold on Travis and didn't use excessive force. Charges against everyone were dropped.  For complete story, click here.

Reform school failure--February 12th, 2008-A year after the sexual and physical abuse of young inmates by Texas Youth Commission wardens was disclosed, little has improved and the  agency's leadership continues to founder.  Entrusted with the custody of thousands of Texas teenagers with  behavioral problems, the agency remains a ship adrift in need of a strong captain rather than another deck chair shuffle.  The forced resignation Monday of Acting Director Dimitria Pope by Conservator Richard Nedelkoff has key state legislators wondering  what measures are necessary to get the TYC out of crisis. Last week Nedelkoff, a gubernatorial appointee and the third person to hold the position in the last 12 months, repeatedly told lawmakers at a hearing that he had not decided who would be named full-time director. He was then embarrassed when Pope testified that he had  already ruled her out. Nedelkoff later demanded that Pope resign or  be fired, and she stepped down.  Pope was brought in from the adult prison program to manage TYC after  the previous director and board of trustees resigned. She was  criticized for expanding the use of pepper spray to subdue juvenile  inmates, ignoring a report on excessive use of solitary confinement  and approving the expenditure of hundreds of thousands of dollars for  office furnishings.  Nedelkoff's own decisions have come under fire. He receives a  $160,000 annual salary for his state position, but he also kept his  CEO position at Eckerd Youth Alternatives, a Florida company that is  in the juvenile corrections business. After becoming TYC conservator, he brought in several consultants with links to Eckerd. After being called on the issue last week, he resigned from the firm, a hollow  gesture, as he will likely return to it after the temporary  conservator position expires.  State Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, the chair of the Senate Criminal  Justice Committee, is an admirer of Pope's performance in the state  prison system and said she was in an impossible position at TYC  without the resources or administrative support to do the job.  Whitmire said a top priority should be relocating isolated youth  facilities to more urban settings, where most of the inmates come  from and where medical resources and prospective employers are more  readily available. Unfortunately, legislators where the institutions  are located resist moving them and, by making the issue a hot potato,  have delayed much-needed restructuring of the system.  Whitmire said Nedelkoff's lack of candor in dealing with legislators  last week has damaged his credibility. "To be honest, I'm not sure  what we've got in this guy, and I'm going to obviously work with him,  because the stakes are too high," Whitmire said. "This agency needs  some stability, and he's going to have to prove to me he can provide  it."  It's shocking and unacceptable that after a year of attempted reform of the TYC by the governor and the Legislature, so little has been accomplished and so much remains to be done.  (Unable to locate story at time of archiving.  Source: www.chron.com  Date: February 12, 2008)
Whereabouts of missing Eckerd camp boys still unknownJuly 11th, 2007--Six days have past since three teens went missing from Eckerd Youth Alternatives and authorities are no closer to finding the boys.  The search continued Tuesday for the teenagers who ran away from the camp last week. The Henderson County Sheriff's Office search began Friday after the teens were discovered missing.  The camp at 1079 Sky Valley Road is a private, nonprofit organization serving at-risk and troubled youth in the county. Interim Director David Boeke said it is designed to help the youths get back on the right path.  For complete story, click here.
*** Eckerd's E-Ma-Henwu program is closed.  The phone number is disconnected and it is no longer included among Eckerd's list of locations.  The E-Ma-Henwu program was located in Newport, NC.  Please let us know if you have any additional information on the closing of this facility.
Whereabouts of missing Eckerd camp boys still unknown:  July 11th, 2007--Six days have past since three teens went missing from Eckerd Youth Alternatives and authorities are no closer to finding the boys.  The search continued Tuesday for the teenagers who ran away from the camp last week. The Henderson County Sheriff's Office search began Friday after the teens were discovered missing.  The camp at 1079 Sky Valley Road is a private, nonprofit organization serving at-risk and troubled youth in the county. Interim Director David Boeke said it is designed to help the youths get back on the right path.  For complete story, click here.
Teens learn to face consequences at reform school--April 13th, 2008--... "Kids typically are angry when they get here, angry at their parents for sending them away, angry at us for being here, just angry," McMahon said. "We address that on Day One, asking them why they are here and helping them with their initial treatment plan, then their master plan. Though hundreds of families rave about residential programs such as this one, others have horror stories. Julia Scheeres, author of a best-selling memoir, "Jesus Land," will beg any parent who'll listen to not believe slick brochures and a program director's word. Scheeres, now 41, spent a year in a religious-based reform school in the Dominican Republic along with her adopted brother, David. Her parents sent them there from their Indiana home when Julia was 17. At the school, she witnessed physical abuse regularly and lived in a constant state of fear and depression. "Some kids, who are deep in drugs or other bad crimes, may find these places work," she said. "But for kids like me and my brother — who simply didn't get along with our parents and were doing normal teenage rebellions — they do far more harm than good. I no longer have a relationship with my parents." Scheeres is quick to point out that she has no knowledge of Eckerd. She just wants to tell parents to fully investigate any program before sending kids away. Eckerd has had hundreds of kids come and go through its program over the past 40 years, but its record isn't spotless. In 2000, 12-year-old Michael Wiltsie died at the Ocala, Fla., camp after being physically restrained by a 300-pound counselor. Though Florida juvenile justice authorities were critical of Eckerd, no criminal charges were filed. McMahon also has first-hand experience with tragedy. He was the camp director at the Appalachian Wilderness Camp in 2005 when Travis Parker, 13, died at the state-run camp for troubled boys near Cleveland. Six people were initially charged with murder in Travis' death. McMahon was never charged. He did testify in court that his review of the incident found all the workers properly applied a restraint hold on Travis and didn't use excessive force. Charges against everyone were dropped.  For complete story, click here.
Camp E-Tu-Nake falls victim to state budget cuts--March 10th, 2009--BLAKELY, GA (WALB) - A youth alternative camp in Blakely is closing because of state budget cuts. Camp E-Tu-Nake will close March 27th.  For complete story, click here.
Director at youth camp fired--May 2nd, 2009--SILVER SPRINGS - A program director accused of using older boys to threaten younger ones at a camp for troubled youth was fired Thursday, state officials said Friday. Frank Penela, a spokesman with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, said the state agency received a letter from Eckerd Youth Alternatives confirming that Eckerd fired Emeka Virgo, a program director at Camp E-Ke-Etu in the Ocala National Forest off East State Road 40. Eckerd, a private company, runs the camp under a contract with the state. Eckerd officials did not return phone calls Friday. Virgo joins two camp counselors - Roscoe Watts, 30, and Dana Valentino, 32 - who were also fired Thursday for unspecified violations of company policies.  For complete story, click here.
Police: Benson camp fire is arson By Lucia SuareZ and GORDON DRITSCHILO STAFF WRITERS BENSON — A Vermont State Police fire investigator said a cluster of fires Thursday night at Camp E-Wen-Akee, a former camp for troubled boys, was deliberately set. State police Lt. James Cruise said at least five different fires were intentionally set around 7 p.m. at the camp located at 878 Root Pond Road in a remote part of Benson. The fires damaged five buildings and huts on the property, causing about $25,000 in damage, he said. Benson Fire Chief Thomas Neumann said firefighters were able to save one burning building, but another enclosed structure burned to the ground and three others — two lean-tos and a woodshed — were badly damaged. Nobody was hurt. “There were two different campsites that were up there,” Neumann said. “One has a building that had just started (burning) and we got that right out. The other campsite had significant damage.” The fire chief said the fire did not appear to have spread from structure to structure, and had likely been set separately. “It was definitely suspicious,” Neumann said. “It’s an unoccupied camp.” The camp, which previously served about a dozen troubled boys in grades 8-11, has been closed since February. According to Town Clerk Daphne Batholomew, the 148-acre property on Root Pond Road is listed to the Eckerd Family Foundation based in Tampa, Fla. She said the property is assessed at $911,600 and taxed for multiple buildings. Neumann said he believed the property was being prepared for sale. Fourteen firefighters from Benson, West Haven and Orwell responded to the campsite while more firefighters from Fair Haven and West Haven stood by at the Benson station. Neumann said the crews were able to make do with less than two tankers full of water, so they did not need more than they initially brought with them. However, he said there were some difficulties locating the camp. “The smoke was coming from in the area and there are three different roads to go on,” he said. “With the engine, the road we picked got us to the smallest one first, but we got a save out of that one. I’d say we picked the right road.” Anyone with any information regarding the fire is asked to contact state police at 773-9101 or the Vermont Arson Tip Award Program at 1-800-322-7766. lucia.suarez @rutlandherald.com gordon.dritschilo @rutlandherald.com   Source: http://www.vermonttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/RH/20120818/NEWS01/708189917
Theresa H a week ago- I was there in the early 80s. A filthy place with horribly unsanitary conditions. We had 'la ca sitas;' which means little house. What it really means is holes dug in the ground for 2 and 3 seater bathrooms for girls. How the EPA allowed this is ...MoreI was there in the early 80s. A filthy place with horribly unsanitary conditions. We had 'la ca sitas;' which means little house. What it really means is holes dug in the ground for 2 and 3 seater bathrooms for girls. How the EPA allowed this is beyond me! While I was there, my group went on a canoe trip and I ended up with a tropical skin rash covering alot of my body which produced black scabs and I was ultimately sent home as there was no medical care on this trip. Zero privacy and for a young girl, that is paramount! The canoe trip was interesting as well. Began in Valdosta Georgia on the Withlacoochie River to the Little River to the Suwanee. (pardon my spelling) The waters were very high and made it impossible to swim or bathe, so just imagine the stench and unsanitary conditions of 12 menstruating girls in canoes. As an adult, I look back on my time there as one of the worst in my life. I would have never sent my child there. Alot of my belongings came up missing and were ... Source: https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=E+Nini+Hassee&lrd=0x88e80e91ad1054d5:0xbd854db952099dbf,1
 

 

 Last Updated: January 4th, 2017

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