About Arnette House

Our Mission: Provide safe and effective programs to strengthen youth and families.

Arnette House provides programs and services to the 5th circuit including Marion, Lake, Sumter, Citrus & Hernando Counties by caring and dedicated professionals who focus on the family’s strengths while providing skills and knowledge to help improve life at home. Our master’s-level counselors utilize various methods with the family to end conflict, improve communication, and reunite children with their families.

Our Leadership

Cheri Pettitt, LMHC
Chief Executive Officer

Jason Kasten
Chief Financial Officer

Mark Shearon
Chief Operations Officer

Nick Benway, MBA
Human Resources Officer

Shanda Hope, MSW
Clinical Supervisor

Gary Arnette

Our History

Arnette House, Inc. was formed after Gary Arnette died tragically as a result of a drug overdose in 1979.

His parents, Vernon and Sara, and the Arnette family took the initiative to ensure that the future children of North Central Florida would have somewhere to turn for help. Through contributions from friends and family to the Marion County Mental Health Association, a fund was established that would seed what was then called “The Arnette House Project.”  The project found its focus with an election of a Board of Directors and the filing of Articles of Incorporation in 1981.  In late March of 1982, the doors of the original Arnette House, Inc. were opened.  The first facility was a small two bedroom house on NE 8th Avenue and was staffed overnight by Department of Children and Family volunteers.  The house was funded strictly through local community donations and was limited to serving three youth at a time.

Today, Arnette House, Inc. is a 3 building complex on 4.8 acres in Northeast Ocala in Marion County that includes an emergency shelter, the Branan Counseling and Administration building, and the Vernon Arnette Educational Center which includes the SNAP House program.  In 2009, two foster care Group Homes were added.  Arnette House’s reach now also extends into Lake County to support its children through initiatives such as the Safe Place Program and an extensive Outreach and Prevention Program including non-residential counseling.

The first facility was a small two bedroom house on NE 8th Avenue

Arnette House is celebrating 42 years of successful service to Lake and Marion County families. Our programs provide the necessary support to end family conflicts, stabilize kids in crisis, and reunite children with their families. Arnette House has extended its reach and services through partnerships with various organizations such as the United Way, the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Florida Network of Youth and Families, the Florida Department of Children & Families, Kids Central, Inc., the United States Department of Health & Human Services, the Youth & Family Services Network, and the Administration for Children and Families.

Our Board of Directors

  • Kelly Scott, President, has been a board member since 2015
  • Braylon Cave, Vice President,  has been a board member since 2022
  • Mary Scribner, Treasurer,  has been a board member since 2017
  • Lorin Bryan, Secretary, has been a board member since 1985
  • Kerry Crawford, has been a board member since 2011
  • Brandon Crysler, has been a board member since 2012
  • JewRonda Greene, has been a board member since 2021
  • Shanta Matthews, has been a board member since 2021
  • Kay Nicol, has been a board member since 2021
  • Alethia Pantazis, MD, has been a board member since 2016
  • Ryan VanWagner, has been a board member since 2023