One of those collaborative efforts is a BEST partnership between Affordable Income Tax and Bookkeeping Solutions and Valley View Elementary School.
BEST, an acronym for Business & Education Serving Together, is a program of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce that partners a business and a selected school to enhance the quality of life for our community and provide business support for our educational programs.
“We are a hometown business,” Teresa McCoy, Affordable Tax, explained. “All of the staff are born and raised in Bradley County.”
“When Dianne [Wilson] opened the business on Spring Place Road, we all wanted to give back to the south Cleveland community,” she said.
Both McCoy and co-worker Julie Staton attended Valley View as elementary school students and now have children enrolled at the school.
“Valley View has a lot of great kids,” McCoy noted. “Dianne wanted to support the children that her employees support.”
Principal Sherrie Ledford welcomed the new neighborhood business as a BEST partner.
“The staff and students at Valley View are very excited about Affordable Tax joining our learning community as a BEST partner,” she declared. “We realize this business is relatively new to our community, but they have already demonstrated their eagerness to serve the community.”
Valley View, located at 5607 Spring Place Road, is itself community oriented. In 1951 it became the first consolidated school in the Bradley County School System when it brought four tiny rural schools — Zion, Union Grove, Number Four and Liberty— under one roof.
Because of the school’s distance from town, Valley View historically has been a gathering place for activities for the south Cleveland community.
“We believe our school will have something to offer our business partner too as our relationship develops,” Ledford said.
Ledford noted their newest BEST partner supplied dividers for new leadership notebooks at the beginning of the school year. They continued ongoing support for the school’s Fall Festival.
“For the last six years, Julie Staton has baked cakes for our Fall Festival — as many as 25 delicious cakes for our Cake Walk,” the principal explained. “We think she is Super Woman.”
McCoy also helps coach one of the school’s basketball teams.
Affordable Tax also conducts a food drive for the Valley View Food Bank and helped a family at Christmas that is experiencing “hard times.”
“We have been blessed in our business, and we want to bless others,” McCoy summarized.
Sherry Crye, director of workforce development for the Chamber of Commerce, coordinates the BEST partnership program.
“We have been especially excited that several of our ‘community’ schools are now partnered with businesses in their respective neighborhoods,” Crye said. “Affordable Tax has already proven to be a good neighbor to Valley View. Affordable Tax has been a Chamber member less than a year, and already they have stepped up to support one of our workforce development programs and are making a difference in the south Cleveland community.”
According to Crye, 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.