Key West City staffers, elected officials and the dedicated volunteer Ploggers gathered nearly 200 pounds of trash on Earth Day, despite a variable deluge. They gathered at the Peace Covenant Church on Flagler and spread out from there. In two hours – mostly in pouring rain -- they had collected 191 pounds of trash, another 67 pounds of recycling and four gallons of cigarette butts.
The group of 30 included Mayor Teri Johnston, Commissioner Gregory Davila, three Key West Ambassadors and 12 City employees.
The following day, the Key West Sea Turtle Club descended on the nature beach off Atlantic Blvd. That group collected 290 pounds of trash off the beach and out of the mangroves.
“It’s wonderful to see our community pull together to keep Key West beautiful,” said City Manager Patti McLauchlin.
These efforts are part of a push to involve the community to keep Key West beautiful. In addition to the Early Bird cleanups, the City has kicked off an Adopt-A-Spot program and Mayor Teri Johnston has reconvened the Beautification Committee.
The Florida Keys Children’s Shelter has announced that there are limited spaces available for their upcoming free summer camp program. The “Jelsema Journey” camp is a program for Monroe County at-risk youth, ages 10-17, with several one-week sessions offered June through August at the Melvin M. Jelsema Center in Tavernier.
“We are happy to make this special experience available at no cost to qualifying youth,” said Residential Coordinator, Nathaly Milla. “The first session begins on May 27th, continued weekly all summer and the last session begins on July 22nd.” Daily outings to Marine Lab, rollerblading, water sports, ice skating, yoga, Zoo Miami, Everglades Alligator Farm and glass-bottom boat rides are partially funded by a grant from the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys. Recreation, life skills and educational programming are made possible with funding from the Ocean Reef Community Foundation. All other costs, including free transportation to and from the Lower and Middle Keys, are covered by the Keys Children’s Foundation, the Helen’s Hope Foundation, along with county, state, and federal grants.
Youth at risk of making bad decisions, or who would benefit from a supervised, structured environment are invited to apply for the free camp. For more information, contact Nathaly at (305) 906.2060 or Karen at (305) 848.3808.
About the Florida Keys Children’s Shelter
“Safe Kids, Strong Families, and a Healthy Community” drives every facet of the Florida Keys Children’s Shelter programming. Serving Monroe County for 35 years, the nonprofit changes the lives of more than 500 youth annually with its free programs including an emergency shelter, transitional living programs, community-based counseling, and drop-in center for homeless and run-away youth. For information, visit www.FKCS.org or call (305) 852.4246.
The City of Key West is launching a new way to team up with the community to keep Key West beautiful.
Key West Adopt-A-Spot is here, and we need your help. We are seeking businesses, professional organizations, or volunteer groups to adopt a specific spot in Key West to take care of in the coming months.
You can pick up trash or monitor cleanliness in your Adopt-A-Spot area, or ensure plantings are trimmed and the area is kept neat and clean. City staff will assist with large projects, but the key to success is a volunteer corps that monitors the various areas, helps with simple maintenance and clean-up, and reports potential problems.
The City will provide work gloves, trash bags and pick-up tools, and high-visibility vests for workers. Volunteers will provide the people power, which is key to the program’s success. We need volunteers and recommendations of spots and areas that need special attention.
We urge businesses, civic organizations and even individuals to take a look around and find the spot you want to adopt!
Please contact Dorian Patton at 305-809-3782 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer or submit suggestions of areas that need attention.
Together we can keep Key West beautiful!
The City Commission has proclaimed January 20th as Keys to Be the Change Mentoring Day. The commemoration falls in a month set aside nationally to recognize all mentors who work to guide our youth to success.
Keys to Be the Change was established in 2014 and is aimed at helping at-risk students succeed. The program provides education, awareness and opportunities that empower children, youth and adults to improve health, wellness and skills for success in school and in life. “Mentors play a vital role,” said Executive Director Heidi Golightly,” by providing crucial support and guidance to high-risk youth as they grow and develop into our next generation of productive citizens.”
The proclamation notes that Keys to Be the Change collaborates with volunteers from the community as well as the Key West Police Department and the Joint Interagency Task Force (JIAFT) South, which includes the U.S. Coast Guard, Navy, Air Force, Army and Marines. “These mentors offer our high-risk youth academic support as well as promoting pro-social behavior,” said Golightly.
Golightly brought with her some of the mentors from JIAFT, noting that their guidance is making a huge difference in children’s lives. “We have -- even with Covid -- a 75 percent success rate of these students passing their classes,” said Golightly. “The kids are eager to come to school and meet with their mentors.”
In the Photo: Mentors from JIAFT South join Keys to Be the Change Executive Director Heidi Golightly and the entire City Commission to receive their recognition.
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