Stafford Junction, a faith-based nonprofit serving at-risk children and families in Stafford County, has received a grant from the Sunshine Lady Foundation to create an outdoor classroom near the organization’s headquarters on Truslow Road.
The $98,961 gift, announced last week, will fund the new Kelsey Memorial Outdoor Education Classroom—named after Kelsey Cartledge, son of Stafford Junction’s executive director, who died last year at age 24.
Cartledge was a member of Rotaract, the youth organization of Rotary International; founder and president of the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity at Missouri Western state chapter and a summer camp counselor.
“During his life, Kelsey demonstrated caring and compassion for young people and provided his leadership skills whenever needed,” a press release about the grant stated. “Kelsey enjoyed lifting others up, many times without their knowledge. When a group of Junction kids were treated to a special holiday movie and later surprised with gifts, they never knew who it came from. Kelsey liked it that way.”
The 30-by-50 foot outdoor classroom will provide children in Stafford Junction’s programs with the benefit of time spent outdoors as well as offering them new, engaging learning opportunities, the press release states.
Stafford Junction also received an additional $27,261 in memorial gifts following Kelsey’s death, which will also go toward the outdoor classroom.
“I want to thank everyone for being part of this project,” said Steve Aycock, president of Stafford Junction’s board. “We will have a unique opportunity to provide an outdoor educational experience to our Junction children and our community.”
A ribbon-cutting for the Kelsey Memorial Outdoor Educational Classroom will be held in late spring, according to the press release.