Nonprofits accused of endangering children



ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - WFTV found out three central Florida nonprofits have been under investigation for endangering kids.

The organizations market themselves as nonprofits that help kids in central Florida's most dangerous neighborhoods. But the state found that Tenacious Teens of Florida was illegally using 11-year-olds to sell candy and other items on the streets.

"I consider that as still being a baby…very young, too young," said Orange County resident Velder Parker.

State officials said the kids did not have any supervision as they approached strangers. Tenacious Teens was fined $3,000.

Teens Against Drugs and Teens Against Drugs and Alcohol were also being investigated for similar allegations.

Their addresses took WFTV reporter Tim Barber to a UPS store in Orlando and to an Apopka apartment where no one answered the door.

Barber talked to Ezekiel Dolcide, who started Tenacious Teens.

"A lot of people think these are scams, like, 'You guys just making money off of 11-year-old,’” said Dolcide. "They are not in the program so they don't know."

Dolcide said Teens Against Drugs and Alcohol helped him growing up.

"Selling stuff door-to-door… how does that help kids?" asked Barber.

"Um, it keeps them out of trouble, it gives them something better to do, it keeps them occupied," said Dolcide.

Dolcide said he can't pay the $3,000 fine, so he's shutting the charity down.

"It's a good idea to help the kids to get off the streets, but as far as them going door-to-door selling products for a company -- I don't think that's right," said Orange County resident Dana Archie.

Tenacious Teens was investigated after the Orlando Police Department filed a complaint.