Saturday, March 8, 2014 - The Jackson County Learning Center held its second annual Polar Bear Plunge.

This year’s event drew a crowd of about 20 participants and dozens of their friends and families to cheer them on. Plungers made the trek through the snow and ice still on the ground to line the beach at Jacksonport and face the chilly waters of the White River to raise money for the JCLC Building fund. 

The event had fewer plungers this year due to the recent snow and ice. “Last year we had a little over 40 participants take the plunge.  Unfortunately, the weather played a big part in the decreased number of participants this year,” Director Glenda Rutledge-May said.  “Even though our numbers were down by almost 50-percent, those that took the challenge, raised over 80-percent of what was raised last year.  We are thrilled that everyone helped us raise over $7,300 this year for our building fund.  We want to thank everyone that participated in the plunge this year and all those who sponsored  them.”  

Several organizations around Newport put together teams for the event.  

Congratulations goes out to the Arkansas Steel team for being the top fundraising team and to Matt Tickle of Harris Hospital for being the top individual fundraiser.  Other organizations that participated included:  Iberia Bank, C & C Distributors, Walmart, Lindley Healthcare, Merchants & Planters Bank, M&P Insurance, Sudbury Broadcasting, and Jackson County Learning Center Staff.

After exiting the cold waters of the white river, plungers and their cheerleaders were treated to grilled hot dogs, chips and drinks provided by Merchant and Planters Bank & M&P Insurance.

In 2011, the Jackson County Learning Center purchased the land beside Kroger with plans to build a new facility when funding became available.  The estimated cost to build is between $1.2 and $1.4 million.  To date, JCLC has raised over $200,000.  

To find out how you can volunteer or give to the Jackson County Learning Center, please call 870-523-8488.  The Jackson County Learning Center has been providing supports and services for those with developmental disabilities since 1959.