Northside Business Leaders

NBL Logo

Lechner Award

Jax Zoo & Gardens Info

Safe Harbor Boy's Home




2013 Christmas Wish List

Boys Wish List PDF File


April 18, 2013
NBL Safe Harbor Tour

Glenn Fowler

Shannon Elian, 1st VP and Glenn, Fowler President

On Thursday, April 18, 2013, the Northside Business Leaders were treated to a tour of the Safe Harbor Boys Home. Located next to Blount Island, it serves dual purposes: it is a school, and a place for the boys to stay. It also serves a vocational purpose. 

They have boats of all kinds donated to them, and they are taught how to work on them at all levels. This includes rehabbing them, exterior & interior maintenance, and even the inner workings of the engine room! When they complete the program, they would be qualified for a variety of jobs.

The Boys Home depends on donations and sales of the boats they rehab. The boat sales are not as strong now as they had been in the past. They are grateful for any donations received.  The tour was most enjoyable, and our members received knowledge that we had not previously known. Learning something new: PRICELESS!

Shannon Elian, First VP,
PropVoice Management

2012 Christmas

Safe Harbor Boys

Next, as every year, we were visited by Robbie Smith, Sherry Myers, and Safe Harbor boys, Tyler,  Warren, and Zane. We have a list posted on our website of their needs this Holiday Season.  They received some donations from the club members. We are very proud of our association with them, and the exceptional work they do!   



Safe Harbor Boys Home 2009

Doug Smith

Doug Smith Director

Mr. Doug Smith, director of Programs along with two of “his boys” brought NSBL up to date on current events and status of the work located on Heckscher Drive.  Sadly the home has had to lay off the staff and severely cut back to housing just 9 boys.  Mr. Smith in answering questions stated that “government money” had been made available to support the home but that the money was refused due to nature of conditions attached to the grant. He received applause from the membership for taking such a hard stand in not accepting grant money that would be detrimental to the program. Without hesitation NSBL membership demonstrated support for the home by giving food and monetary donations.  North Jax should be very proud to have this organization in our community.

 Doug & Boys

Two of Doug's boys talked about what they do and their goals.

The Northside Business Leaders have taken pride these past 8 or 9 years in supporting the Safe Harbor Boys Home. 
We have our members bring canned goods, socks, underwear, etc. (plus, of course, CASH!!)  to our December meeting as donations to the Home.  We also invite Doug and Robbie Smith, founders of the Home and ask them to bring some of their boys to that meeting.  Our club is quite proud that one of our members, John Benso of Express Printing, recently donated a Volvo automobile to the Home.

Just in case you happen not to be familiar with the Home, it is located just off Heckscher Drive, its entrance about 100 yards west of the Blount Island entrance (4772 Safe Harbor Way, 32226, 757-7918). Their web site is

The boys at the Home are NOT delinquent juveniles.  They are troubled youths, some homeless, some abandoned, some sent there by parents or grandparents for a safe alternative home environment.  They live on boats on the river, several of which they have renovated or restored after their being donated to the Home.  Ages accepted are 15 –17, though a youth may
remain there until 20 after the initial acceptance.  One year is the minimum commitment for the education and training they receive. 


Safe Harbor 25th Anniversary

Click here for more info!

Safe Harbor rolls out the red carpet!

Safe Harbor Boys Home, in cooperation with Hallmark Channel Productions, will present the movie “Safe Harbor” on Thursday, May 7, at the Omni Hotel in Jacksonville. A VIP Reception is scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. with dinner and the film’s premiere to follow.

Tickets to the benefit premiere are $125 per person and seating is limited. RSVP is required by May 1. Call 904-757-7918 to register. The film will begin running on the Hallmark Channel on Saturday, May 30. “Safe Harbor” is a two-hour drama based on the true story of Doug and Robbie Smith, founders of the residential and educational program for at-risk teenage boys on the St. Johns River in Jacksonville. The Smith’s program emphasizes strong academics while teaching troubled teens maritime vocational skills such as engine repair, electronics and welding.

JAXPORT supplies Safe Harbor with their land lease near Blount Island for $1 per year, and JAXPORT employees proudly volunteer in support of their projects. 



Isaac Jones Presents Check to Robbie Smith

Each year the Northside Business Leaders presents a donation to the Safe Harbor Boys Home.  Robbie Smith Co-founder accepted the NBL check from Isaac Jones (VyStar Credit Union).

Robbie accompanied by two young men (Kyle & Graham) from Safe Harbor Boys Home came and shared current and upcoming events for Safe Harbor.  What an inspiration it was to observe the courtesy and humbleness of these young men.  One of our guests (Michael) even commented on how Kyle & Graham stood up every time someone came to their table to introduce themselves.

Both boys have goals I'll bet they achieve.  Kyle will move to Texas (where his brother lives) and become a business man with his brother.  He's also a pretty good golfer.  Look out Tiger Woods!  Graham is already an accomplished pianist, plays a guitar and has a desire to be a youth pastor.  Look out Billy Graham! 

Laurels to Safe Harbor Boys Home!  God Bless you all! 


Doug and Robbie Smith are making many fine future young citizens.