The Keys Children’s Foundation recently granted the Florida Keys Children’s Shelter $105,000 to help pay salaries of its residential counselor, assistant residential coordinator and training coordinator positions. All three are employed full-time at the 19-bed Jelsema Center in Tavernier.

The Keys Children’s Foundation provides financial support to non-profit organizations dedicated to providing programs that offer education, healthcare and recreation to disadvantaged children and their families living in Florida’s Upper Keys. These programs help youth and their families meet everyday challenges and empower them to gain a greater sense of control and responsibility for their own lives.

“We’re so thankful for The Keys Children’s Foundation gift that helps fund the gap between government grants and the salaries needed to attract and retain skilled professionals with bachelor’s degrees and the specific expertise to provide a higher quality experience for the youth ages 11-17 who live here,” said Ben Kemmer, Florida Keys Children’s Shelter CEO. “Our cost of living is higher than other areas receiving the same funding. And here in the Keys, we’re competing with tourism. You can make more money working in a restaurant or retail store than the wage that the state budgets for us to pay youth support staff.”The grant to the Children’s Shelter was among the largest distributed by The Keys Children’s Foundation. Other programs in the Upper Keys receiving grants include Take Stock in Children, the Key Largo YMCA, Key Largo School and Plantation Key School. For more information, call 305-247-6521.

If you would like to have the Weekly delivered to your mailbox or inbox along with our daily news blast, please subscribe here.