Resilient Retreat reaches construction milestone on new facility opening in Sarasota

Resilient Retreat celebrated a whirlwind two years with a topping-off and wall-signing ceremony on June 15th that marks the construction halfway-point for the nonprofit's new facilities. Construction is slated for completion by November in  2022. 

Located on 84 acres of conservation land in east Sarasota, the organization's mission is to provide free, evidence-based and trauma-informed wellness services for adult survivors of child abuse, domestic and sexual abuse, and populations who experience trauma in the workplace such as emergency first responders, nurses, teachers, and law enforcement. 

Treatment modalities currently offered at Resilient Retreat include PATH-certified equine therapy, neurofeedback therapy, trauma-informed yoga, meditation, and journaling. More than 150 volunteers assist staff with Resilient Retreat programs. Epic Polo and Van Wezel partner with Resilient Retreat in offering equine therapy and sound meditation.

Resilient Retreat reports treating more than 400 trauma survivors since launching its pilot program in summer 2019. A January 2021 survey indicated participants saw a 91% decrease in days missed from work due to stress, a 36% decrease in clinical depression, and more than 40% decrease in suicidal ideation. 

The organization saw a 196% increase in the number of participants seeking mental health treatment in the last year, says Resilient Retreat Executive Director Lisa Intagliata. 

"COVID-19 added fuel to the fire, so-to-speak, in terms of needs. The first few months after we were in lockdown, we started to get a lot of calls not only from people who needed support, but also from a lot of for-profit and nonprofit agencies who said, 'our staff are struggling.'  … It was everything from banks to nonprofits to social workers to teachers -- a lot of teachers -- who were calling saying they needed staff support and didn't have robust enough EAP [employee assistance programs] available," Intagliata says.

In addition to offering programs for its target populations, Resilient Retreat bolstered its virtual support network through the pandemic, and offered trainings over Zoom and Microsoft Teams on topics including compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and establishing peer support networks in the workplace. 

"Thanks to COVID, because we had to go to an online platform so quickly, we're now able to serve people all over the United States and even internationally," Intagliata adds. 

Resilient Retreat broke ground on an 18,000-square-foot facility in summer 2020 and is scheduled to open in November 2022. Intagliata says the facilities will sleep up to 30 people during monthly retreats featuring treatment offerings personalized to the individual's needs. 

The facility's design by Schimberg Group of Sarasota is rooted in the Danish concept of "hygge" (think: calm and cozy), says Intagliata. Visitors will share access to a state-of-the-art community kitchen, dining and living rooms and outdoor respite spaces -- including a community garden, meditation pond, porches and loggia, and walking paths. A separate, 5,000-square-foot community hall for workshops and events is also under construction. 

"The idea of the retreat center is that we will once a month offer three- or five-day retreats where people can sample from a variety of the mind, body, and spirit programs we offer in coordination with our Wellness Director and our Community Wellness Educator. [Resilient Retreat staff] can carve out a custom, concierge-level program for guests based on what they've tried during the retreat that really works for them -- and our hope is they can go home and use that in their daily lives. Our main mission is building a supportive community," Intagliata says. 

During construction by Tandem Construction of Sarasota, Resilient Retreat continues to offer confidential, evidence-based programs for adult survivors of abuse, first responders, and other helping professionals. Qualifying individuals can complete a short online application to access Resilient Retreat's free services. The organization also offers a "Kind Line" open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., for anyone seeking support. Reach the Kind Line at 941-343-0039.

Interested in learning more, volunteering, or supporting Resilient Retreat services and facilities construction through a charitable donation? Visit the Resilient Retreat website
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Read more articles by Jessi Smith.

Jessi Smith (she/they) is a freelance writer who is passionate about sustainability, community building, and the power of the arts and transformative storytelling. A fourth-generation Floridian, Jessi received her B.A. in Art History and English from Florida International University and began reporting for 83 Degrees in 2009. When she isn't writing, Jessi enjoys taking her deaf rescue dog on outdoors adventures, unearthing treasures in backroads antiques and thrift shops, D.I.Y. upcycling projects, and Florida-friendly gardening.