(left to right): Autism Society of the Keys Executive Director Jill Campbell; Marathon High School Teacher Ryana Gonzalez and Assistant Principals Christina Rodrigues and Liz Logan; and Community Foundation of the Florida Keys’ Middle Keys Advisors Sarah Adams and Lavarski Smith.

Community Foundation Grants $10,000 for Autism Toolboxes for Schools and Child Care Centers 

The Community Foundation of the Florida Keys recently granted $10,000 to the Autism Society of the Keys, to provide sensory boxes for schools and childcare centers countywide, to help teachers and caregivers better serve Florida Keys children with autism.

“Teachers and staff receive training on how to use the sensory box. Each black toolbox contains hand-picked items like a pair of headphones, a dry erase board, a timer, and a weighted puppy, all of which will help establish a rapport with children on the autism spectrum when experiencing sensory overload,” said Jill Campbell, founder and executive director of the Autism Society of the Keys.

Campbell said the project started last year when Key West Police Chief Sean Brandenburg asked for help creating a box that officers could have in their police cars, that would contain specific items to help when they encounter children or adults with disabilities, specifically autism.

Thanks to the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys and other donors, sensory boxes continue to be available countywide at each location of the Monroe County Fire Rescue, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Key West Fire Department, and Key West Police Department, as well as in first responders’ vehicles, including ambulances and School Resource Officers’ vehicles.

Your Community Foundation of the Florida Keys,In Paradise for Good, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Since 1996, the Community Foundation has granted over $31 million to benefit residents from Key Largo to Key West through scholarships, arts and culture, beautification and preservation of the Keys, health and human services, hurricane relief, youth programs and more. The Foundation is known for its signature “Unsung Heroes” event honoring nonprofit volunteers. To create a personalized fund or find out how your donation can be doubled, visit cffk.org or call 305-292-1502.

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