My Experiences as a Student Ambassador for the Marvel Center

This is part of an ongoing series regarding issues in southern West Virginia.


Aliyah Painter

The Marvel Center caterpillar logo Greenbrier West Cavtalk 2020 Lee Cline

Lee Cline, Writer

My name is Lee Cline. I’m a junior at Greenbrier West, and in 2018, I was asked by Patricia Lally MD, to be a student ambassador for the Marvel Center. I went to the “Make a business” convention in Lewisburg with Ruth Caruthers, the secretary of the Marvel Center, and handed out flyers to help spread the word that a new childhood early learning center was coming to the Meadow River Valley.

Information board for the Marvel Center
Marvel center poster board.

That December I helped decorate a float for the Rainelle Christmas Parade with Linda Wykle, an early childhood educator and member of the Marvel team. We walked in the parade and handed out more flyers and talked to people about what Marvel wanted to do for the community. Most everyone I spoke to was excited because Western Greenbrier County was in dire need of a childcare center. For many years the Meadow River Valley has lacked sufficient child care programs. Because of this, it is much more difficult for the western end of Greenbrier County to flourish, in contrast to our eastern end counterpart, Lewisburg, WV.

For the past several years, the Marvel team has been working tirelessly to raise funds and find and develop a property suitable for housing the center. In January of 2020, the Greenbrier County Board of Education approved the former Rupert Elementary building to be repurposed to house the Meadow River Valley Early Childhood Learning (MARVEL), as well as the Rupert Volunteer Fire Department, and a health clinic operated by Robert C. Byrd Clinic.

Fast forward to September 2020, I was asked to come and sing at the Marvel grand opening, and again this week at their Christmas op

Marvel center grounds.

en house. They had photo-journalist, Anna Saab, from WVU come down to help create a promotional video for the center.

Lee Cline with child
Lee Cline and child at the Marvel center.

The Marvel Center is centrally located in the western end of Greenbrier County, in Rupert. Their goal is to continue development of early childhood center in the Meadow River Valley, providing enrichment opportunities for healthy family development, create an early childhood workforce development center for quality education and resources related to early childhood, and continue participation in recovery and revitalization efforts through community engagement in the development and implementation of quality early education and recreation services for young children and their families (The Marvel Center, 2020 PDF file)

High-quality early education and child care for young children improves physical and cognitive outcomes for the children and can result in enhanced school readiness. Preschool education can be viewed as an investment (especially for at-risk children), and studies show a positive return on that investment. Barriers to high-quality early childhood education include inadequate funding and staff education as well as variable regulation and enforcement (AAP, 2018 PDF file). The Marvel Center is working to create a safe and enriching environment for children from 6 weeks to 12 years old.
The interior of the Marvel Center is beautiful. It’s filled with toys, games, learning opportunities, and most importantly, love from their dedicated and certified staff members. The impact of such a wonderful and safe childcare facility for working families on the western end is incalculable.

If you would like to enroll your child, donate, or learn more about the Marvel Center.
you can contact them at 681-262-2016, or join them on Facebook:

Visit their Website!