Center for disabled children spared for now

By Nicole Johnson  bio | email

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A center for special needs children gets the temporary help it needs to stay open. The Charles Webb Center off Highway 17 in West Ashley was set to close Friday, but they have called it a miracle getting some last minute donations.

Charleston Mayor Joe Riley says over the past few days the community has stepped up with donations, and they've gotten enough to spare the center for now.

"If this place closed today I'd have to take off work to pick my son up and care for him personally," mother Mindy Miller said.

Parents and caregivers of these children have dealt the burden of the possible closure since November. Now they breathe a sigh of relief.

"I have a new admiration and faith in our system here," Miller said.

"Just grabbing everyone and hugging them and being happy. That's all I can do," Mother Stola Hart said.

The state cut funding to the center this year, and that money was supposed to run out on January 30th and the center was supposed to close. Instead the Mayor made a different announcement.

"Because of this wonderful teamwork and the generosity of people we have been able to meet this short term challenge" Mayor Joe Riley said.

He says for now there's enough money to stay open, but the children need continued support until federal or state money is available.

"I'm going to just let god take care of it. He's been doing it since we first found out. We got one more month at least we got that," Hart said.

The Mayor is challenging the community to raise $30,000 in 30 days to keep the center alive for another month. State Senator Robert Ford also came to the center and made a donation, asking other state legislators to do the same.

It costs more than $300,000 a year to run the center. Children who attend have physical and learning disabilities, autism or other health problems.