WARREN, Ohio (WYTV) – This week’s Hometown Hero is the founder and executive director of the Hope Academy for Autism.
Kimberly Clinkscale started the school four years ago with a dream and the money from her 401(k).
She says it’s all based on the idea that kids with autism need to be taught with special attention to what they need.
“We teach the child the way they learn, not the way we want them to learn,” Clinkscale said.
The Hope Academy would never have become a reality if she hadn’t pestered a man to try to buy a building in Warren.
“He said, ‘You’re not going to give up.’ And I said, ‘No, I’m not going to give up.’ And he ended up giving me that building for $1,” Clinkscale said.
But, she still needed to cash out her 401(k) to fix it up. Once the school was ready, it started with only two students and the motivation to help children with special needs who might slip through the cracks.
“A lot of the kids were getting kicked out of kindergarten,” she said.
But at the Hope Academy, kids get personal attention as they work. For students like Richard Robson, who is now a senior, it’s been a blessing.
“I learned a lot of things, like how to be a good student and a lot of math skills,” Robson said. “It’s so important to go to school, to learn, to get your education. Once you get that, can’t nobody take that away from you.”