The original mission of the Shorkey Center was to provide “hand and arm work and locomotion for crippled and spastic children.” In September 1944, Lockhart and Lightner purchased a house on Broadway to include residential placement and an academic program; the agency was renamed The “James K. Lightner School.” In September 1946, the agency was incorporated under the name “Beaumont Crippled and Spastic Children’s Foundation” and became a Community Chest recipient in 1949. Margaret Snyder, a physical therapist and registered nurse, and registered nurse became Executive Director in 1951 and remained director for thirty-four years, during which, the occupational therapy and physical therapy departments were added. In 1954, the agency became “The Cerebral Palsy Foundation” and the speech therapy department was added. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the agency served approximately ten residents and provided therapy for an average of forty to fifty outpatients annually.
In 1964, the City of Beaumont gave the property known as Central Park to the foundation. The gift was restricted in that the property could never be used for “private or commercial purposes” and all future use must be “for charitable purposes in the medical field.” A major fundraising campaign raised over $300,000 to build the present structure at 855 South Eighth Street. In 1991, the agency’s name was changed to the CP Rehabilitation Center.
In 2001, the agency was renamed the “Richard L. Shorkey Education and Rehabilitation Center” after retired medical director, Dr. R. L. Shorkey. The Center’s name was shortened to the “Shorkey Center” in 2003.
In 2005, the K.I.D.S. (Kids in Day School) program, a school for children with autism and other related disorders was introduced, which operates as a TEA Non-Public School. In addition to the introduction of ABA Therapy in 2008, the Center expanded summer programs to offer day care, ABA Outreach, and specialty camps in 2009.
In December 2011, the Shorkey Board Members voted that the Center change its Mission to include all children while continuing to focus on the specialized education and rehabilitation of children with special needs. In March 2012, the Center opened the Instruction Junction Preschool and daycare program. Instruction Junction Inclusive Preschool serves children with and without disabilities for ages two through kindergarten. Instruction Junction daycare program provides afterschool programs for elementary school age children.
Currently, Shorkey provides educational services as a Non-public day school, inclusive preschool, and afterschool programming. Applied Behavior Analysis works to provide educational and rehabilitation for children with special needs ages 1.5 through 12. The Center continues to offer physical, occupational, speech, and aquatic therapy for children ages 0-21.