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Rockford teen mowing lawns to raise money for Children’s Safe Harbor

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — Keelan Young is just a few weeks away from turning 13 years old.

He's like a lot of teenage boys.

Fully focused on sports now that school is out for summer and taking care of the typical chores like mowing the lawn.

However, the grass Keelan is cutting serves a more important purpose.

A few weeks ago, Keelan started advertising his yard work services to raise money for Children's Safe Harbor.

CSH provides a safe place for families to use when exchanging children for visitation and provides supervised visitation services.

While Keelan's family never directly used CSH'S services, the organization helped them navigate some systems and eventually his mother Karly started working with the group.

"I became involved with them and their fundraising for their yearly gala dinner benefit. This year we couldn't do it obviously because of COVID," Karly Jones said.

Jones was on the phone one day brainstorming how to fill the fundraising gap.

A conversation Keelan heard and decided he wanted to take matters into his own hands.

"He called Megan Brechon, who's the director at Children's Safe Harbor, all by himself out of blue and offered to do this. I was really proud of him," Jones said.

Keelan's efforts paid off quickly.

He's made close to $1,000 in just a couple weeks, all of which will go back to Children's Safe Harbor.

"A lot of people normally go to the benefit and those people would still like to donate to children's safe harbor," Keelan said.

"If they can see something in return they're probably more willing to donate."

It's really a simple idea.

People need to mow their yards in the summer.

However, it's creating a much bigger impact than just a summertime task which couldn't make Jones more proud of her son.

"Parenting is hard. Parenting right now is especially hard. It just makes you feel good, makes you feel you've done something right," Jones said.

"I'm a very lucky mom, he's a great kid. It was really cool to see him come up with this all on his own."

Despite his early success, Keelan isn't satisfied.

He is dedicated to helping CSH make up the difference from not having its annual gala.

"Right now I'm just focused on doing what I can to help them," Keelan said.

Click here to learn more about Children's Safe Harbor.

If you would like to reach to help Keelan's cause, you can call 815-316-7772 or send an email to

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Evan Leake

Evan Leake anchors for 13 News Today and 13 News at Noon. Evan grew up in Darien, Illinois, a south-west suburb of Chicago. He came to WREX in 2017 and worked his way to the anchor desk in May of 2019. He coordinates both the Teacher of the Week and Inspiring 815 series for 13 News. You can connect with Evan at or Evan Leake on Facebook.

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