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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Shining brighter than a diamond

  • Community School of Cleburne County a true gem for the area.
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  • Cleburne County has more than its share of hidden gems. One of these gems shines brighter than any diamond in nature. That gem is the Community School of Cleburne County. Operating under the same director for almost 30 years, Teri Renner, and serving five counties, CSOCC is a non-profit organization that provides developmental programs for infants, children, and adults. Their official brochure states, "It is our goal to maintain the family unit within the home community by providing a specialized learning environment in which all individuals can achieve the highest level of independence possible."
    The community school, with a fleet of 15 busses, will transport children to the facility, provide them with hot meals, teach them important socialization skills and give them appropriate therapy, all with children their own age. Therapists drive in from as far away as Cabot, Conway, and Lonoke.
    Devotion to the children is priority with the staff of the Community School. In some instances, some of the staff have taken those put on a waiting list for a waiver into their own homes. "We don't want those kids going somewhere that their needs are not met while they're waiting," said Director Renner. CSOCC will not deny care because of funding issues. The primary goal of the staff is to ensure needs are met first and funding will be found to meet those needs.
    In 2005, the original building was destroyed in an unfortunate arson incident. Rising out of the ashes of that, the new 40,000 square foot facility is capable of offering so much more to those it serves. Children have access to various state of the art rooms to serve their needs, such as a library, technology center, sensory room, cafeteria, and physical therapy.
    CSOCC employs 110 people to serve the needs of 150 students. It is funded by Medicaid, state grants, federal Early Intervention Money, and by the generous donations of private individuals and organizations. On May 4, the Clint Stoerner Celebrity Golf Classic will be held at the Red Apple Country Club with all proceeds benefiting the Community School.
    To learn more about how you can help the Community School of Cleburne County, whether it through donations, volunteering, or making referrals, contact them at 501-362-0943.
    For more photos, check our our photo galleries and look for a full story, complete with photos in the Spring edition of our Lake Lifestyles magazine in May.

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