Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Students in the greater Bluefield area once again have a safe after-school destination for help with homework, computer training and enrichment opportunities in the arts and music thanks to the long-awaited reopening of the Wade Center.
After a year-and-a-half of renovations, and a successful community campaign to keep the doors open, the Wade Center welcomed back students Tuesday. Between 50 to 55 kids are expected to attend the Wade Center this week, and initial enrollment is being capped off at 75 students in order to meet budget requirements of the Department of Health and Human Resources, according to center director Jessica McDaniel.
Many of the after-school programs being offered at the Wade Center will be familiar to parents and their children. For example, when students arrive at the site, they will receive a healthy snack. They will then be taken to classrooms where teachers at the center will help the kids with their homework assignments from school. After that the students will have the option to attend elective programs, including offerings in art, music, drama, computers and sports. The center also provides devotional and worship opportunities for the students.
The Wade Center is also starting a new program to help provide a positive influence for children.
“We are focusing on drug education and prevention, especially with our middle schoolers,” McDaniel said. “We want them to stay away from that temptation. I think it is a big issue for our kids, and it is critical we get in good, strong role models to mentor these kids. We will be doing role-playing with them and giving them the skills and language they need to face these situations and say no. They need these role models not just for this, but to give them an example to follow both within the walls of the Wade Center and when they see these role models out in the community.”
The facility’s reopening was made possible through the help of a caring community after a campaign to raise $81,000 to keep the doors at the Wade Center open met its goal. A $10,000 contribution last month from Grant’s Supermarket helped to push the campaign over the top.
McDaniel says the center will continue raising funds to help make the program self-sufficient.
Keeping the Wade Center open, and the after-school program in operation, is important to families across the region. The center is designed to help children and teens grow physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. The programs at the Wade Center also give kids a chance to interact with role models and mentors who teach healthy living, peaceful conflict resolution, good decision making, goal-oriented behavior and more.
We are thrilled to see children back at the Wade Center. And we applaud our community for coming together in support of this endeavor.