Story and Photo by Lisa Anderson
Kelly McAtee is one of the rare Ocala born–and–raised girls. Her look is timeless, her love for the community endless, and her dedication to the betterment of that community is boundless. She is one of Ocala’s gems. Perhaps, surprising to some is that this Ocala Metro Chamber and Economic Partnership (CEP) communication specialist and the mastermind behind the social media sensation Things To Do Ocala, started her adulthood with an AA in biological sciences, specializing in biotechnology and a bachelor’s in health services administration.
What she wound up doing is living life as it unfolded. After college, Kelly became a stay-at-home mom for six years. She has two boys, Kyle and Caleb, now in first and third grade. “After I started getting a little stir crazy at the house, and the kids were getting a little bit older, I wanted to start getting back into the workforce. I started [by] attending non-profit, open-to-the-public business meetings.”
The first meeting she attended on a regular basis was the Tobacco Free Partnership of Marion County. She chose to start there because her friend was the Marion County Liaison. “It was held at our local Habitat for Humanity building. So, I got to start meeting all of these non-profit entities.”
Prior to venturing out to these meetings, Kelly had started a hobby that had grown into a rather large Facebook sensation. “I had Ocala Yard Sale for Kids, and it was the largest yard sale group for only kids’ items in Ocala.”
Her group became a big asset to non-profits that attended the community meetings. The non-profits would often pass out flyers for upcoming events, and they started to request that Kelly share them with her yard sale group. “One day, at the meeting, we were talking about these upcoming events, and some of them weren’t necessarily just for kids’ events. There were related more towards adults. I said, ‘Well that’s not really going to do well on my yard sale site pertaining to the moms.”
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