A husband and wife come to realize that waves of change can begin with a single ripple in the Hallmark Channel Original Movie “Safe Harbor,” premiering Saturday, May 30. Based on a true story, “Safe Harbor” stars three-time Golden Globe Award nominee Treat Williams (“Everwood”) and Nancy Travis (“The Bill Engvall Show”) as a sea-loving couple who forgo their long-planned retirement to help troubled teens turn their lives around.
Christians Doug Smith (Williams) and his wife Robbie (Travis) are a month away from embarking on their dream retirement: Exploring the world on their boat, the Molly Marie. An unexpected visit from Judge Roberts (Orson Bean, “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman”), an old friend of Doug’s, leads the couple to reluctantly look after some kids for a few days, until room opens up for them in juvenile hall.
For Luke (Reiley McClendon, “The Flyboys”), David (Charlie McDermott, “Frozen River”) and Billy (Sam Jones III, “Smallville”), living and working on a rich couple’s boat doesn’t seem all that much better than juvie. But as a few days turn into a few months, Doug and Robbie help the boys get back on track, and the boys show their mentors that the real treasure isn’t buried on some faraway island – it’s right there in the harbor.
The story behind the script
The real Safe Harbor Boys Home, located in Jacksonville, Fla., is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary. The Smiths utilize the waterfront as a residential and educational facility for boys ages 15-to-17, and welcome participants from all over the country.
“In 1982, when Doug and I took in our first boys for a short-term stay, we had no idea that this would become our life’s work. But what we were doing with the boys was working. God seemed to have a plan, so we decided to commit ourselves to the boys for one year,” wrote Robbie in a letter commemorating the organization’s anniversary. “ God has been faithful. For 25 years, through the time, talent and treasure of countless individuals, organizations and businesses, He has blessed Safe Harbor and all of the boys and families we have served.”
Many of the boys are troubled, fatherless or have lost one or more parents.
They have few privileges when they arrive, but gain their desired rewards, along with self-respect and camaraderie, by accumulating ‘points’ for proper behavior. They also earn points by maintaining or repairing the boats, engaging in community service and continuing their education to earn a diploma.
Although the program started out on the Smiths’ boats, now, Robbie writes that, “Sixty-plus donated boats of all sizes fill the docks and the landscape. The vessels serve as housing for the boys and staff; training vessels for marine industry-based skills and play an important role in the vocational education and character development programs.”
By providing the boys with a variety of vocational training, spiritual encouragement, education, life skills and male mentorship, the program prepares the boys for a fulfilling and productive future.
According to an NBC interview, the volunteers spur the young men on by reminding them that, “What you did yesterday is your reputation. What you do today is your future.”
“People often try to praise us for the work we have done. But as Doug says, ‘God does the work. He just lets us hang out here,'” Robbie also wrote. “We have been blessed beyond imagination. Each boy, each family holds a special place in our hearts, and we are deeply appreciative of the sacrifices of the donors and volunteers that have brought Safe Harbor Boys Home to our 25th Anniversary.”
For more information, visit HallmarkChannel.com.