Free Tax Preparation Courtesy of United Way of the Florida Keys/VITA and FKCS

By | Events, News


The Children’s Shelter is proud to partner with the United Way of the Florida Keys on the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program. VITA provides tax preparation services for qualifying individuals and families at NO COST!

Please bring the following documents:

1) Government issued Photo ID (Both spouses must be present if filing jointly)

2) Original copies of your Social Security Card or ITIN for all members of your household

3) W2 from employers / 1099s / Interest statements / Unemployment

4) Form 1095-A if you had coverage with the Healthcare Marketplace (Obamacare)

5) Direct Deposit Information – checkbook

6) Any tax-related documents
**It is helpful if you have last year’s tax return with you**



Paradise Paint Out 2017 Raises $71,000 For Florida Keys Children’s Shelter

By | Events, News, Past Events

The nine-day cultural event brought 20 of the best Plein Air artist from across the country and the pond to raise awareness and much needed fund for Monroe County’s at-risk children and families.

The Florida Keys Children’s Shelter (Children’s Shelter) hosted the Paradise Paint Out 2017 (PPO) on January 11-19, 2017. This first time event for the Children’s Shelter raised $71,000 which directly benefits their five programs serving the at-risk children and families of Monroe County, Florida. Bill Mann, Co-CEO, Children’s Shelter states “We are grateful for the community support as the monies raised helps to provide the much needed free programming we make available to all residents”. The nine-day paint out featured three cross-county wet room galleries drawing more than 600 visitors and 20 of the top Plein Air national and international artists. The one-of-a kind event, sponsored by Ocean Sotheby’s International Realty, was the perfect backdrop for the artist to paint “En plein air” or in open air of some of the iconic sceneries of the Florida Keys.

“Ocean Sotheby’s International Realty is proud to support the Florida Keys Children’s Shelter through our sponsorship of the Paradise Paint Out,” said Russell Post, Broker of Ocean Sotheby’s International Realty. This event provides an incredible opportunity for art lovers to watch and meet some of the finest Plein Air painters from around the country while also supporting some incredible causes within our community.”

Some highlights included a Full Moon Nocturnal Paining at the Florida Keys County Club in Marathon, Artist demonstrations at Grimal Grove in Big Pine Key and Little Basin Villas in Islamorada, the Mid-Way Finale at the 15th annual Mayors Ball in Key West, Florida Bay Preservation Day from the land and water, and the Finale & Preservation Night reception, a partnership with Florida Bay Forever.

The Finale & Preservation Night reception drew upwards of 160 attendees at the stunning new gallery, Our Place in Paradise in Islamorada. Guests viewed 250 pieces of art using mediums ranging from water color, pastel, oil and acrylic, enjoyed entertainment by Dave Feder and catering by A Little Taste of Paradise. The evening also featured a $500 cash prize People’s Choice Award that went to Jason Sacran from Fort Smith, AK and a $1,000 cash prize Artist’s Choice Award that was a tie between Haidee-Jo Summers of Lincolnshire, England and Jason Sacran. The proceeds for the evening benefited both the Children’s Shelter and Florida Bay Forever.


“Florida Bay Forever was thrilled to partner with the Florida Keys Children’s Shelter to create the Paradise Paint Out. Our mission includes bringing awareness to the Florida Bay as it supports a vibrant Florida Keys,” said Elizabeth Jolin. “The Florida Keys is enhanced by a healthy resource and healthy kids. We were honored to be a part of bolstering support for the undeniably critical role the Children’s Shelter provides to our community.”


Children’s Shelter Executive Council Member, Betsy Keteltas and Children’s Shelter Volunteer, Paula Friedman, co-chaired the philanthropic event.

“It was an honor to work on the 2017 Paradise Paint Out with such an extraordinary team. The artists embraced the Keys through their paintings as well as their full immersion in our wonderful communities. The hospitality and generosity of the locals barred none. It will be a tough act to follow in 2018, but we accept the challenge,” says Keteltas.

“I am proud to have been a part of the 2017 PPO success. Making the Paint Out a Keys wide event and including the Florida Bay Preservation Day inspired the artists to new heights. I have heard from several of the hosts who housed our artists what a satisfying experience they had. The artists could not have been more appreciative of our efforts on their behalf and of our extraordinary little piece of Paradise,” says Friedman.

“For being a first time event for the Children’s Shelter, we are so pleased with the awareness it raised for the organization in the community,” says Ben Kemmer, Co-CEO at the Children Shelter.

The event was made possible by a Monroe County Tourist Development Council grant and sponsors Ocean Sotheby’s International Realty, Florida Bay Forever, Little Basin Villas Islamorada, Islamorada Beer Company, Plein Air Magazine, Our Place in Paradise, Dave Feder and a Little Taste of Paradise, Shell World and 25 hosts that housed the artists.

About the Florida Keys Children’s Shelter

The mission of the Florida Keys Children’s Shelter (Children’s Shelter) “Safe Kids, Strong Families, and a Healthy Community” drives every facet of its programming. Serving Monroe County for almost 30 years, the private not-for-profit Children’s Shelter touched more than 500 lives last year through its no-cost programs; emergency shelter, group homes, community-based counseling, respite services and drop-in center for homeless and run-away youth. For more information on services or learn how to get involved, please go to or call (305) 852-4246 ext. 222.

15th Annual Mayor’s Ball in Paradise

By | Events, News

Oh YES, of course, the 15th Annual Mayor’s Ball in Paradise. I must put that on my calendar! It is a wonderful event and helps take care of me and all my friends at the Florida Keys Children’s Shelter. You better hurry! It is sure to be a sellout again this year!

Saturday, January 14, 2017
6:00 Reception – 7:15 Dinner and Dancing with Prime Movers
Casa Marina Beach Resort, Key West
$160 per person or $1500 for a table of 10

Call Janey at 305-731-4741 or email her at

Tables are filling up fast. See you there. Thank you SPONSORSHIPS are available.

Visit invite on Facebook

15th Annual Mayor's BALL in Paradise

Save the Date! 14th Annual Mayor’s Ball in Key West

By | Events, News

January 16, 2016
Casa Marina Beach Resort, Key West
Kick Up Your Heels!

MB Sponsors 2016

FKCS opened its doors in 1989 to protect children from abuse and homelessness. We do this through shelter care, counseling and education. Thanks to our partners in this work, together, we have served over 23,000 children, teens and families. Help us continue caring for children in need by attending the 14th Annual Mayor’s Ball in Key West on January 16, 2016. Kick up your heels and show you care about kids!



For an outstanding evening of fun, dinner and dancing, all benefiting the children, teens and families served by the Florida Keys Children’s Shelter.

Saturday, January 16, 2016
Casa Marina Resort and Beach Club
Key West

Don’t be Late to Save the Date! Space is limited!
Purchase your table of 10 now while tables are still available!

Table of 10 — $1400
Individual seats — $150
Black Tie

Call Janey @ 305-731-4741 or 305-852-4246 ext. 222.
You may also email

View Facebook invitation

Sponsorship Opportunities

* Dinner Sponsor – $3,000 (we are hoping for 4)
* Table Sponsors – $2,000 (8 would be great)
* Reception Sponsor – $2,500 (just 2 needed)
* Entertainment Sponsor – $3,000 (spotlight on 1)
* Silent Auction Sponsor – $1,000 (3 is perfect)
* Print Sponsor – $800 or product (2 gets it done)
* Beverage Sponsor – $1,500 or product
* Decoration Sponsor – $1,500 or product
* Donate something fantastic to the silent Auction!
* Help!
* Bring a car load of your best friends to CELEBRATE!

James Hardin V. Memorial Fundraiser

By | Events, News

The James Hardin V Memorial Fundraiser The James Hardin V Memorial Fundraiser will be held this Sunday, June 14 at The White Street Grill in Key West. The proceeds from the event will benefit Project Lighthouse, a Florida Keys Children’s Shelter (FKCS) Street Outreach program located in Key West. Tickets are still available, call 305-928-5589.

James lost his life tragically in February 2014. James drowned after falling into a pond near the Key West Police Station. He was 24 years old and had a full life of caring for and helping others. His mother, Tracey Parker, along with family and friends, has chosen to remember James by helping others as he did in his life. The dinner will begin at 6:00 PM at White Street Grill located at 1110 White St. in Key West. There will be a great meal, silent auction, Karaoke and door prizes.

Although James was still a young man, he had made helping others his life’s work. Friends and family say James was a great help in raising his younger siblings and he was always ready to help a friend in need. James moved from managing McDonald’s to owning his own computer support company, J. Tech Company Service. He was also the Director of Operation for One Call Construction.

James’ mother, Tracey, hopes this memorial event will be a big success and that the proceeds will help young people. “James would like that.” said Tracey. Project Lighthouse, an FKCS program, serves runaway and homeless youth. Every year over 300 youth seek help through Project Lighthouse. “We are very grateful and honored by the kindness of Tracey and her family. We can’t imagine their heartache. We are deeply moved that they want to help our kids as a memorial to James.” said Janey Wawerna, Chief Development Officer for FKCS.

13th Annual Mayor’s Ball

By | Events, News

The Mayor’s Ball held at the Casa Marina in Key West on January 17, 2015, set new records for the Florida Keys Children’s Shelter. Thanks to Mayor Craig and Mrs. Cheryl Cates and the Events Sponsors, Joel and Deborah Meisel of Meisel Holdings, Jeanie Hernandez of Comcast and Ken and Malinda Gill of CPI, located in North Carolina, new records were achieved. The event hosted a record number of guests with 327 in attendance and hit a new record high raised in revenue.

A highlight of the evening was the live auctioning of a Super Bowl Package. The Super Bowl Package was generously donated by Ken and Malinda Gill of CPI. The Gill’s donation raised $8,500 at the auction. Joshua Horton was the proud bidder that won the Super Bowl Package which included 2 Super Bowl tickets and a 4-night stay at the Hampton Inn and Suites located across from the Stadium in Phoenix, Arizona. Josh was greatly pleased to win the tickets and help our kids. Josh said “it is an honor to help those less fortunate.”

All of us at FKCS are deeply grateful to have so many people in our community and across the country that support our children, teen and families in such a tremendous way. Your investments have a positive impact the lives of hundreds, thank you!