“This effort is but one of many creative ways that our businesses partner with local schools to enhance the educational process,” said Nancy Neal, vice president of communications for the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce. “School budgets don’t allow for purchasing extra hand sanitizer for elementary schools during cold and flu season. Extras like this make a difference, especially at a time when we’ve had colder-than-usual weather.”
BEST, an acronym for Business and Education Serving Together, is a workforce development initiative of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce.
“Our BEST program has been bringing together businesses and schools for the mutual benefit of both for more than 19 years,” Neal noted. “Each year the partnership efforts reflect a greater commitment to ensuring that each school, each business and ultimately the community all benefit.”
Robert Bradney, managing broker and property manager for Bender Realty, says the Bender staff is excited about their BEST partnership.
“Bender Realty has been an active community advocate since 1969 and believes the success to any business is to be an active community supporter,” Bradney said. “Becoming a BEST Partner is one our most exciting endeavors. The children of our community are our future leaders, business people and innovators. We need to invest in our futures by supporting our area schools with our time and skills.”
Bender Realty is actively involved with the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce, Allied Arts Council, American Cancer Society, Relay for Life, Creating Christmas Memories, Empty Stocking Fund, American Heart Association, The Caring Place and other community events.
“Our 30 agents also have individual involvement strategies of giving back their time to local events and organizations to make a difference in our community,” Bradney said of the Bender team. “The BEST Partnership Program offers us the opportunity to make a difference in a child’s life, whether by reading to them or working with them in a learning environment.”
He added, “Also if we can help the teachers by supporting their classroom needs, we want to do that. We are excited about working with Stuart School, Mr. Stephens, and the faculty and students. Go Bulldogs!”
Randall Stephens is principal of George R. Stuart Elementary School, which has been providing quality education in the community since 1959.
“Bender Realty has a great reputation,” Stephens said, “and we appreciate the company’s desire to give back to the community through this BEST partnership.”
The principal reported that Stuart currently has 505 students in grades Pre K-5.
“Students at Stuart are exposed to a rigorous curriculum, as well as classes in the arts and technology,” he said.
According to Sherry Crye, the Chamber’s director of workforce development, schools in the Bradley County and Cleveland City school systems have one or more local business partners as part of the BEST program. Private schools that are Chamber members may also participate in the program.
“We are always happy to find member businesses that are interested in helping our local schools by becoming a BEST partner,” Crye said. “The Chamber is a strong advocate of the education system in Cleveland and Bradley County. The BEST partner program also advocates schools giving back to businesses, and our local schools are finding creative ways to make this happen too.”
For information about the BEST partnership program, call Crye at 472-6587.