Meet Susan Deems, Executive Director of Children’s Learning Center in Camdenton, MO.
What is the Children’s Learning Center (CLC)? Glad you asked!
CLC is a not for profit, charity that is dedicated to providing quality inclusive programs & experiences to children with special needs and developmental delays. Children of ALL skill levels participate in quality inclusive programs.
Children’s Learning Center vision and passion for helping children has driven them to accomplish incredible things! What started in 2002 has grown substantially – now helping dozens of children each year.
CLC specifically provides support services to children with special needs and developmental delays, helping them develop skills and work towards a successful future. They provide a multitude of fun, interactive activities that children of all ages and skill levels can participate in! Check out their Facebook Page here for a glimpse behind the scenes at all they do!
This is truly a company on a mission to change lives. Learn more about their story below with our Q&A Interview.
Give us a brief introduction to who you are and to your business (what you do):
My name is Susan Deems, I have lived at the lake for 40+ years. I am the executive director of Children’s Learning Center. I have worked for this not for profit for 13 years.
Tell us about how your business got started:
Children’s Learning Center (CLC) was established in 2002 to provide family centered early intervention services and quality, inclusive, educational programming for children 2-6 years of age in the Lake area. CLC is a not for profit, charity that is dedicated to providing quality inclusive programs & experiences to children with and without special needs and developmental delays. Children of ALL skill levels participate in quality inclusive programs. The mission of Children’s Learning Center is to promote child development through friendships and family. CLC provides support services to children with special needs and developmental delays guiding them towards a successful future by meeting and enhancing their intellectual, social, and physical needs in a supportive, developmentally appropriate manner. CLC provides community integration, social skills and self-help/adaptive improvement for children.
Why do you do what you do?
Working with children in an inclusive setting, with and without special needs brings with it a host of unique challenges and opportunities. However, the children at CLC make every day fulfilling, and I know our program is making a positive impact and helping each individual to grow, gain life skills and become more independent. After working at CLC for the past 13 years, I personally have seen the ways our program has directly impacted each child and helping to making a difference.
Approximately how many children do you serve?
For 2020, we have provided services for 71 children thus far.
What are some things that help you stand out as a business?
CLC is a Missouri Accredited center. We are the only center in the local area that is accredited, which means we achieved meeting a higher standard of quality. CLC is also the only center that provides services to children with special needs and developmental delays within 60 miles. CLC strives on low teacher to child ratios, so every child gets the assistance they need for their development. Additionally, all staff are First Aid & CPR certified and receive 18 hours of specialized continuing education each year.
What do you envision for the future of your business?
CLC has a few objectives for the future. We plan to maintain our accreditation. We also would like to find more funding opportunities for low income families, as well as seek additional funding opportunities from other nearby counties. CLC is also a partner agency with Missouri First Steps, which provides in home therapy to children birth – 3 years of age. CLC currently has 3 independent providers (Speech Therapy & Physical Therapy) and we hope to expand our providers to be able to see additional children.
What is something that inspires you each day in your work?
I am inspired daily that I am part of helping a child’s life. Each day is different, we are all constantly challenged, and every day you learn something new.
What are some great things about the local area?
The lake area community is amazing! The support for all the fantastic not for profits in the area is incredible. Our center relies heavily on donations, grants, and fundraisers and our community never disappoints! I feel the lake area is so supportive and generous!
How can customers and consumers support local businesses like yours?
There are many opportunities to help our charity. We have at least 2 big annual fundraisers each year and we need sponsors, donors, and of course, supporters to attend our events! We sometimes have volunteer opportunities at our center, as well as at our events. We are also always looking for donations to use at our center. For example, diapers, wipes, paper towels, toilet paper etc.
In addition, we are part of the community rewards program through Kroger/Gerbes. You can sign up for community rewards and every time you swipe your Kroger/Gerbes plus card, it donates money to our center.
Where can we connect with you? (Share website, social channels, contact information)
Next Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/
Discover LOZ profile: https://discoverloz.com/small-business-directory/1042/childrens-learning-center/
Show your support by plugging into their social media channels, and their Discover LOZ profile here and interacting! Sometimes small support is all businesses need to continue to thrive. A follow, like, or share can go a long way and possibly help shape future children’s lives in the lake area community!
Another great way to give back is to reach out to Children’s Learning Center about donation opportunities and needs!