About Us

Welcome to an organization that listens when no one listens. That cares when no one cares. That protects when there's no protection. And that provides hope when all hope seems to be lost. Our job is to help children and their families get back on track—because everyone deserves the chance to shine.

The Florida Keys Children's Shelter is more than just a place to stay. Our extensive programs—both residential and non-residential—have helped and counseled thousands of children and families in their time of need since 1985. We're dedicated to providing the best possible solutions for abused, abandoned or neglected children; and children that have run away, are truants, or are considered ungovernable by their parents.

Our services are provided at no charge. We receive funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, the Florida Department of Children and Families and Monroe County (FL) Human Services. We depend largely on private donations, including United Way.


Safe Kids, Strong Families
and a Healthy Community

  • Unconditional Love - We believe every child and every youth has value to society.
  • Protection - We believe every child and every youth is entitled to nurturing protection and a chance to develop his or her full potential.
  • Belonging - We believe children and youth thrive, or fail to thrive, in the context of families, kinship systems and communities. Our work must recognize and value these connections.
  • Integrity - We believe we have a moral and ethical obligation to serve the public, our funding agencies and our clients within the highest standards of our profession.
  • Openness - We believe—in order to ensure the public trust—we have an obligation to serve the community in a manner that is both open and democratic in decision-making.
  • Accountability - We believe that we have a responsibility to be accountable to our supporters and donors, to our funding agencies, and to the children, youth and families we serve.
  • Service - We believe we have a responsibility to serve the public good and to provide this service to the children, youth and families with whom we are privileged to work.
  • Compassion - We believe we have a responsibility to care for our clients, our community and our employees with respect and dignity.
  • Partnership - We believe we have a responsibility to accomplish our mission through effective community partnerships.

Executive Council

Brad Copeland, Chairman

Mike Puto, Vice Chairman

Jay Rourke, Treasurer

Michele Rodriguez, Secretary

- Directors -
Nikki Bussard
Linda Falk
Andy Griffiths Jr.
Marie Jacobs
Nicole Rapanos
Kurt Rockenbach
Mary Ryder

Leadership Team

Ben Kemmer
Chief Executive Officer

Alvin Bentley
Chief Operating Officer

Sebastian Rivera
Chief Learning and Evaluation Officer

Katya Andrade
Office Manager

Michelle Monday
Financial Manager

Katie Raskob
Counseling Services Coordinator

Christi Shortes
Residential Program Coordinator

Jai Somers
Project Lighthouse Coordinator

Richard Townsend
Community Training Coordinator