by Chuck Seaver, South Lake Tablet

We, at the South Lake Tablet, have found that our community is the home of people with blended backgrounds, possessing an assortment of talents, interests, and experiences. Many of these unique people go far beyond their everyday routines to make life better for their families, neighbors, and friends.

Each month, the South Lake Tablet will place a “spotlight” on one of these residents who selflessly devote time and efforts to make a positive impact on his/her community.

For the month of November, the spotlight shines on Sharon Keys.

Sharon is a Clermont native with a family of seven siblings, three sons of her own, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Although her career led her to Atlanta, Georgia for a while, Sharon never lost sight of her hometown and the needs of so many in the South Lake Community. After a fulfilling career with the United Parcel Service Corporate Office in Atlanta, Sharon decided to make her way back home to Clermont after retirement in 2018.

Pictured: Sharon Keys and Paula Hoisington

In 2019, she created, along with several other founding members, and became the Executive Director of the Lincoln Park South Lake Alliance (LPSLA). The organization became an established 501(c)(3) in July of 2020 with a mission of building community through creativity, collaboration, and access to life-changing opportunities in South Lake County. The goal of formalizing the efforts started earlier by community leaders who had formed the Lincoln Park Impact Committee (LPIC). The LPIC was composed of community pastors, leaders, and citizens who had an interest in preserving the historical Lincoln Park School site that was previously being utilized to house the Clermont Elementary School.

The LPIC has now become a sub-committee of the Alliance and will focus on preserving the school building as a historical building. The preservation of the grounds and buildings is an obvious passion of Sharon. One only has to listen to her goals and dreams for a few moments to realize that her heart is sincere about the efforts that are underway. Sharon describes the successes in the Alliance thus far as a team effort with a group of great people who care about this community deeply. She is also quick to point out that she always felt that God was preparing her for something special while she was still in her career days of work. “I have been blessed to have had great jobs that helped prepare me for what I’m doing now. I love serving and helping others,” says Sharon.

Phase I of remodeling to the Lincoln Park Education Center, 680 East Highland Avenue, Clermont, is slated to begin in August of 2024 for the student portions of the campus. Lake-Tech and Lake Sumter State College (LSSC) will both phase in after the August renovations have been completed. The center will offer a flexible-day high school program along with dual-enrollment career opportunities for students to earn college credit by taking Lake Technical College and LSSC courses on-site.

Although a positive start is unfolding for the future of the campus, Sharon is not quite ready to take a break yet. Her second passion is a community center that is available to all in the South Lake Community. “There is not a single community center in the City of Clermont. We need to change that and make available a place to have community events right here in our community,” says Sharon. It was no surprise that Sharon has a vision for that project as well and the dream is directly across the street from the education center at McKinney Park, 801 Bloxam Avenue. The City of Clermont purchased the park from the Lake County Schoolboard in 2023. The property that encompasses the park was donated decades ago by Lincoln Park residents who owned portions of the land. “The land was donated to further the education of black students that attended Lincoln Park School,” says Sharon. Sharon would like to eventually see a Boys and Girls Club in the Lincoln Park area as well, possibly combined with the community center.

Sharon remains the CEO/ President of Sharon Keys Ministries, Inc., a playwright ministry that was born in Atlanta and brought to Clermont when Sharon retired. The ministry produces stage plays with a goal of compelling the people to come to Jesus while ministering through drama and the arts. Although the Covid pandemic shut down the first phase of performance, plans are underway to continue the ministry soon, according to Sharon.

Other community organizations that Sharon finds time to help with are Find Feed and Restore (FFR), where she serves on the volunteer committee for public relations. Sharon points out that Pastor Brian Broadway, Executive Director of FFR was also instrumental in putting together the “saving the school” idea that soon led to the formation of the LPSLA.

Sharon also volunteers with Dorcas’ Way, a community outreach organization that often helps those with food affordability challenges. She also volunteers time with the Kiwanis Club of Clermont, The Neighborhood Center of South Lake, The Haven- a women’s ministry with a mission to create a safe space for all women. She also volunteered time to the Orlando Health- South Lake Hospital as a greeter to guests of the facility.

When asked what she has learned about herself during this service to community journey, Sharon quickly replied, “I am grateful for the opportunity to sit at the table with anyone and I’ve always tried to treat people like I wanted to be treated. It has been an awesome experience so far, with lots still to do,” she says. Sharon goes on to express her appreciation to all of those in the community who have supported the LPSA, including pastors, community leaders and individual citizens.

The community thanks you also for your service Sharon Keys. You are a positive influence on many who might have otherwise given up or felt the cause was just too large. Visit and or the Lincoln Park South Lake Alliance Facebook page for details of ways to help support the school, the community center goal or to donate to the organization.

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