By ANNE ELGIN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
The playground was buzzing Thursday afternoon, as elementary school students ran off some energy after school at the Wade Center.
As a faith-based learning environment, many students lined up to show off their memorization skills of a Bible verse they were given for this week and received a twizzler in return if they said it correctly.
“This place that is working so hard to affect the lives of young people in the community needs the support of people in the community,” Jessica McDaniel, executive director of the Wade Center, said.
The Wade Center is the only out-of-school daycare center in the area. Ninety children are currently enrolled and they also have a waiting list. Children come to the Wade Center Monday through Thursday after school, receive a healthy snack, get help with homework, have fitness, Bible study, choir, art projects, and acting, McDaniel said.
On Thursdays, each child is sent home with a backpack of food for the weekend, as long as funds and donations are available, McDaniel said.
“This is such a great program, we are more blessed than the kids are, we feel,” McDaniel said. “The children are extremely talented and inspirational.”
At the Wade Center employees train children in a Christian environment and teach them to be respectful, hardworking and successful, McDaniel said.
Last year the Wade Center had a goal to raise $81,000 for their “Keep the Doors Open” campaign. The center raised almost $100,000 last year. Since it was so successful they decided to try it again this year, McDaniel said.
This year’s fundraiser has seemed to get off to a slow start, and officials have only raised about $15,000, McDaniel said. McDaniel said the center has extended the deadline to October 30 to raise additional money.
“The community is a critical part of our success, without them we cannot succeed in giving these children what they need. Without the Wade Center many children would go hungry and also have little chance in graduating high school, McDaniel said. “We believe it will be the Lord to change the lives of these kids.”
Anyone wishing to help out with fund-raising efforts can call the Wade Center at 304-323-3777 or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations can be sent in by going online to wadecenter.com and clicking on the donation box or mailed in to P.O. Box 777, Bluefield, WV 24701.
— Contact Anne Elgin at email@example.com