Cisco Center Back in Business Soon
Community support has propelled the rebuild along but more is needed for full recovery.
The Cisco Learning Center is slated to open in a few weeks, thanks to plenty of community support and some help from local youth groups. A fire ripped through the center on Feb. 3, just after a blizzard tore through the area.
Teens and adults from Our Shepherd Lutheran Church and Severna Park United Methodist Church descended upon the Cisco Center on Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard last month for some outdoor sprucing around the building.
Since the fire, what were once ashes and dust have slowly been transformed into the makings of a new home for the 50 plus special needs students enrolled at Cisco Nachera's learning center. The school is temporarily operating out of the Vineyard Childcare Center in Millersville.
Led by Julee Legnard, youth group director at Our Shepherd, the middle and high school-aged teens came with garden tools and big hearts full of enthusiasm as they spruced up the outside of the brick schoolhouse.
All of the work, the rebuild included, is due to work by local contractors, Cisco alumni families, friends,, youth groups, strangers and Nachera's counterparts in the special education field. " Wonderful people have mentored us throughout this process," said Nachera. "When the fire happened, everyone started showing up," added Nachera's wife, Carla Nachera.
Alex McKeague a youth leader at Our Shepherd Lutheran Church surveyed the clean-up at the outside entrance. "From where this was to where it is now- these kids have worked hard," he said. Standing close-by, Carla Nochera was thrilled that a purple mum had somehow survived the devastation
"We hadn't thought beyond just getting the building back," she stated as she viewed the neatly cleared area.
The couple is hopeful that the center will re-open by Christmas. Students come to the school from all over, from Glen Burnie, Pasadena, Crofton and Annapolis to points south in Davidsonville and Edgewater.
"It feels really good to help out," said Benjamin Bates, 18, who came with his twin brother Richie to work outside.
Nochera is a well-known educator with over 30 years teaching children with special needs. He retired from the Anne Arundel County school system in 2008 to turn his passion of helping children into a reality at his center in Severna Park.
To see a list of items that are still needed, visit www.ciscocenter.org, email Cisco at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 410-647-1503.