Although Kornerstone, Inc. in Shell Knob, has lost funding to provide early childcare services, the organization will continue to offer limited services to Barry Countians.
"Kornerstone is changing, not closing," said Marlene Whitham, former director, who is continuing to serve Kornerstone in a volunteer position. "OACAC is losing 54 percent of its early childcare funding so Kornerstone is no longer be contracted with them."
In June, OACAC announced that Kornerstone would lose funding for 11 infant childcare slots and four staff members contracted to provide Early Head Start services. The contract for those services ended on June 30.
Even though the OACAC contract has ended, Kornerstone recently received a $28,817 General Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention grant from the Children's Trust Fund (CTF) to provide doula services through its Teen Mom Program. The grant will allow Kornerstone to continue to serve expectant teens, young moms and infants 6 months of age and younger throughout Barry County.
Kornerstone directors are currently discussing options regarding the facility located in Shell Knob. The program could either continue to operate out of the facility or relocate to the Shell Knob School, which has offered space for Kornerstone programs.
If the organization continues to operate at its facility in Shell Knob it will continue to offer GED programs through Crowder College. Whitham is currently researching grant opportunities available for the NovaNet Academic Credit Recovery Program, which has also been offered at the Kornerstone facility for a number of years.
Shell Knob residents receiving WIC (Women, Infant, Child) services through the Barry County Health Department will also be impacted by the changes at Kornerstone. Over the last few years, the organization has offered space at its Shell Knob facility for WIC services.
The Barry County Health Department plans to relocate Shell Knob WIC services to either the Central Community United Methodist Church or the Central Crossing Senior Center in Shell Knob.
"We want people to know that we are not closing our doors," said Whitham. "Kornerstone is not going away."
In addition to the CTF grant, Kornerstone receives funding for its Teen Moms Program through a Mercy Caritas grant and the Thrifty Closet in Shell Knob.
Kornerstone accepts donations from individuals, businesses and organizations.
For more information, or to make a donation to the Shell Knob organization, call 417-858-2887.