Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

December 4, 2012

Wade Center reopens

BLUEFIELD — After a year and a half of renovations, the Wade Center is scheduled to reopen today and officials are crediting generosity from the community for making it possible.

Jessica McDaniel, executive director of the Wade Center, said students will be arriving at the center today as soon as school lets out.

“We had parent orientation Monday night at 6 p.m. and will be having it again tonight at 6:30 p.m.,” McDaniel said. “The kids will be here after school on Tuesday. We are expecting about 50 or 55 kids. We are capping off our enrollment at 75 because of the budget requirement through the Department of Health and Human Resources. We have had about 55 families say they will be bringing their kids.”

The center should be back to its regular routine by Wednesday, McDaniel said.

“The Mercer County School system couldn’t guarantee bus delivery of the students on Tuesday, but could guarantee it by Wednesday,” she said. “We haven’t been able to get a bus from Memorial School to come, but parents can call the schools and request one. The DHHR requirements say we cannot offer passenger services to students in our 15-passenger buses, so we cannot pick these students up at this time.”

McDaniel said many of the programs at the center will be familiar to the children.

“When the kids arrive here, the will receive a healthy snack,” she said. “We will then take them to the classrooms where teachers will be helping them with their homework. After that, they will go to the electives. We will be offering art, music, drama, computers and sports they will rotate through. We will also have a devotional and worship time.”

The center is also starting a new program to help provide a positive influence for children, McDaniel said.

“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.”

McDaniel said the Wade Center is continuing to fundraising efforts to keep the doors open.

“We hope to get a thrift store off the ground o help us remain self-sustaining,” she said. “We are also continuing to do bake sales and other forms of fundraisers. Sarah Hellmandollar and Four Pals Productions will be doing a performance at Westminster on Dec. 15 that will benefit the Wade Center as well.”

According to McDaniel, businesses and community members played an essential role in reopening the center’s doors.  

“The community kept us going,” she said. “It was so encouraging. We always had pictures of the kids up to remind us of what we are doing, but the community gave us so much support. They just latched on and helped us, which was so amazing. Businesses in the community like McGonalges’, Citizens Building Supply, Cole Chevrolet, Grant’s as well as numerous individuals and churches helped us reach not only the monetary goals but our goals for the facility set by the DHHR. The donated materials and time went a long way for us. It is so important the community is involved because we want the Wade Center to be a community changer.”

With the doors ready to reopen, McDaniel said she and everyone else with the Wade Center is most looking forward to seeing the kids again.

“Seeing and hearing those kids is what we are looking forward to,” she said. “We want to have them back. We only had them in the summer, and I feel like we have been working here so long without them. We have been working to reopen for about a year and a half. Whenever we see the kids out in the community they ask when we will be open. The parents have been calling to see when we will be open. I hope this process has helped us become as safe as possible and to think of every scenario.”

— Contact Kate Coil at kcoil@bdtonline.com

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