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July 31--  The day before officially opening its doors, the new Cornerstone Children's Center held a ribbon-cutting for the $1 million-plus, nearly ten-thousand square foot building adjacent to the Vidalia First United Methodist Church.

Local officials, including Vidalia Mayor Ronnie Dixon, were on hand to applaud the effort.

"We're excited. The City of Vidalia wants to congratulate the First United Methodist and Cornerstone.  This is going to be a great asset to our community," the Mayor said.

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Vidalia native Cassie Neal (holding the scissors) is Cornerstone's Director and says the church decided to build the center because, "The need in the community for care for children from infants all the way to children in an after-school program where they'd be in a loving, Christ-centered environment.

"I was amazed at the faith people had. Before we ever broke ground, I had people saying 'I'll sign my child up,' and that speaks volumes about the faith of people.

"The other thing I think is amazing for us is we have certified teachers on the staff.  People with years of experience and people with a few years of experience, so we have a wide range of experience as far as our staff is concerned."

Cassie says the center is employing 27 people to care for and teach 120 children in a faith-based atmosphere.

"When they're learning the alphabet, they'll learn scripture verses to go with each letter of the alphabet.  We've taken the everyday ABC's and numbers and all that and incorporated the spiritual aspect of it as well.  There's scripture that goes along with everything we're doing because God created all that for us," she says.