Wylam Library, Faith Chapel Christian Center Partner on Summer Push, Vittles for Vitality Programs

L-R: Debra Blaylock, community liaison with Faith Chapel, and Connie Tolbert
and Selina Johnson of the Wylam Library
For nearly a decade Faith Chapel Christian Center has been a strong community partner with the nearby Wylam Branch Library.

Leadership at Faith Chapel, which began in Wylam in April 1981 in the home of founder Pastor Michael D. Moore, feel it is a part of their “responsibility as a church to be an active partner and supporter of community initiatives at Wylam Library,” said Debra Blaylock, community liaison with Faith Chapel.

“We feel that helping to build our community and families is something that requires collaboration and support from everyone in the community,” Blaylock said. “When everyone does their part, then success is much easier to accomplish and it’s not a burden on any one agency, church, or business.”

Wylam K-8 student participants of 2018 Summer Push program at Wylam
Library with Wylam K-8 teacher Constance Blaylock

Since 2009 Faith Chapel has provided monthly financial support to Wylam Library. Wylam Library branch manager Selina Johnson said Faith Chapel’s assistance plays a vital role in helping the library provide valuable services for their patrons, from after-school snacks to a summer program that helps kids retain their education by reading during the summer.  

Funding is not always what we would like it to be, so partnerships are essential to continuing a quality program,” Johnson said. “Partnerships provide libraries with resources and expertise that help expand Wylam Library’s impact by engaging and empowering the community.  This has been a great experience and we look forward to the continued success of current and future collaborations with Faith Chapel.”

Constance Blaylock and her 2018 Summer Push students

One program Faith Chapel helped bring to life is Summer Push, a reading initiative held the past two summers that focuses on helping students on break from Wylam K-8 School avoid the so-called “summer slide,” a phenomenon in which students forget much of the knowledge gained during the previous school year. During Summer Push, founded by Wylam K-8 teacher Constance Blaylock, students get free tutoring from her and reading assignments of books in the Wylam Library that help them retain knowledge while on summer break. Constance Blaylock holds the classes weekly at Wylam Library.

Debra Blaylock said Faith Chapel is excited at how successful the program has been over the past two summers in helping children avoid the summer learning slide.

Selecting more books to read!

“We have had great attendance and the parents have been very supportive,” Blaylock said. “The kids seem excited about reading and coming weekly to the library to talk about their books. This summer, we had kids coming throughout the week to get new books before their weekly meeting with Miss Blaylock. In fact, this summer we had a larger number of students reading more books over the summer.”

Each Tuesday during the months of June and July, the instructor, Constance Blaylock, required students to check out library books, read at least one book a week, and complete a weekly book report. Summer Push helped students gain and retain reading skills over the summer, Johnson said.

Parents and students alike were committed to the program,” Johnson said. The parents brought the students on time or early and the students were always prepared when turning in their assignments. They also were eager to claim their prizes for reaching reading goals.”

Debra Blaylock said everyone can agree that reading is critical to the success of kids in mastering other subjects. “Anything that Faith Chapel can do to assist them in improving their level of reading proficiency is a must,” she said.

Faith Chapel also filled a need in 2010 by providing funds to create Wylam Library’s Vittles for Vitality Program, Johnson said. Many students at nearby Wylam K-8 School are provided lunch quite early and come in hungry while visiting the library after school until closing time.

Afterschool learning activities
Faith Chapel provides this program a monthly stipend to purchase snacks for these students during the school year and a pizza party to celebrate reading accomplishments at the culmination of the library summer reading program,” Johnson said.

Faith Chapel is truly an example of the positive impact of spiritual outreach in the community and we commend them for their unwavering commitment to faith and community.  This has been a great experience and we look forward to the continued success of current and future collaborations with Faith Chapel.”