One to Watch: Ken Hair
Ken HairChildren’s Champion
By Lori Hutzler Eckert
With a 28-year career in the United States Air Force and a master’s of business administration, at first glance, Ken Hair appears to be an unexpected advocate for foster children.
But Hair, executive director of the local non-profit organization Children in Crisis Inc., has put his educational and professional training, as well as his heart, into creating a safe place for abused and neglected children on the Emerald Coast through the establishment of the charity’s Children’s Neighborhood.
In early December, Hair and the Children in Crisis 23-member board will open the doors to the first phase of the Children’s Neighborhood on Hurlburt Field Road in Okaloosa County. The project, which broke ground in December 2006, will include an emergency shelter home, four six-bed foster homes, a neighborhood center, a recreation center, a pavilion and a playground.
The driving need behind Hair’s efforts is the startling deficit of available foster homes on the Emerald Coast, causing children admitted into the foster system to be placed in homes beyond the recommended capacity and out of the Emerald Coast counties, as well as the separation of siblings.
As the center readies to open, Hair said, “I think our community has show through their support that we want to do better than that. I see us helping hundreds of kids every year and I see the community continuing to support us with feeding, clothing and providing a home for these children. We will be establishing hope for children who would not have a home without us.”
To learn more about Children in Crisis and the Children’s Neighborhood, visit childrenincrisisfl.org or call (850) 651-1537.