TTTA grant recipients announced

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Home-TTTAIn June, we announced that the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation would be awarding $75,000 each to Grafton and Matewan to projects proposed by teams in each community. The process was a competitive one where teams of at least three people submitted proposals with action plans for projects to benefit their communities.

We are excited to announce the grant recipients in each town. The projects are divided into Mini Grants ($2,500 max.) and Pre-Development Projects.Read More

10 foods at your farmers market in August and new ways to eat them

peachesThis week is National Farmers Market Week. Seeing all of the fresh produce at the local farmers market always inspires me to try to adapt my cuisine to seasonal cooking.Towards the end of the summer, the berries and lighter vegetables are waning, and some of the heavier fall foods are starting to make an appearance.

Here are 10 ways to celebrate the August season with seasonal foods.

1. Brussels Sprouts – My sister makes these savory Mustard Bacon Brussels Sprouts at family celebrations, and they are always a hit.Read More

Seven things WV legislators say you need to know to make your idea state policy

Home-PolicyWorkshopsOn Tuesday, July 22, about 125 West Virginians gathered in Clarksburg at the Our Children Our Future Northern Regional Policy Workshop to learn about state policy advocacy and get advice on how to advance their ideas to help end child poverty.

Tim Miley (D – Harrison), Speaker of the House; Jeff Kessler (D – Marshall), Senate President; Senator Bob Beach (D – Monongalia); and Delegates Barbara Fleischauer (D – Monongalia) and Linda Longstreth (D – Marion) came out to meet the community representatives and offer advice and support during a lunchtime panel.  When asked what tips they would give to the policy advocates in the room, the legislators had several pieces of advice.Read More

Morgan County woman works to keep family services in Eastern Panhandle

Morgan County sees about 20 pregnancies in young people between the ages of 10 and 19 every year. For each of the last two years, the Middle School has had a pregnant student.

For Audrey Morris, who has been the Director at the Morgan County Starting Points Center since 1999, those statistics are outrageous.  “Whenever I hear of 11-year-olds, who are pregnant, or children being abused, it makes me angry, and that’s why I’m still here,” Morris says. “People don’t understand how if you are abused as a child it impacts the rest of your life.”


Audrey Morris

Morris applied to the Governor’s Cabinet on Children and Family, for the original grant to fund the Morgan County Starting Points Center after someone told her it would be a more effective way to work on the issue of teen pregnancy prevention. At the time, Morris, a Morgan County native, had been working on the issue with the WVU Extension Service because the county had the third highest rate of teen pregnancy.Read More

How regular physical activity for youth became WV school policy

Home-PolicyWorkshopsShortly after Laura Dice moved back to West Virginia in 2012 and took a job as the Coordinator for Keys 4 HealthyKids  in Charleston, she attended a Kanawha County School Wellness meeting, where a parent came forward to say that his son wasn’t getting any exercise at school.  His complaint was just one of many that Dice was hearing. Keys 4 HealthyKids advocates physical activity for children, so Dice began to really look at the claims.

What she found was troubling. Overall there was a lack of data about activity for students in the state’s public schools. For example, statewide, there is no requirement for recess, and sometimes it is taken away during testing periods.  With no data, there was no information about which schools had recess and which didn’t. Anecdotally, Dice heard when there was bad weather, students wouldn’t go outside, even if they did have recess, for months at a time. Meanwhile West Virginia is the fourth most obese state in the nation, and about 18.5 percent of its young people age 10-17 are obese.Read More

WV mother of three became spokesperson for increasing minimum wage

Home-PolicyWorkshopsWith three children, Jamie Gudiel knew the value of family resource services for the health and development of children, so she became a member of the board for the Family Resource Network in Monongalia County. While on the board, she was working two jobs. Her husband was working too.

But three jobs weren’t enough to keep the family with three children off of food stamps. Gudiel feels like legislators often think people just want to take advantage of the system, but in reality her story is more the norm for people relying on government assistance.Read More

Meet Martha Snider: Community Health Activist in the Lewisburg Area

Home-PolicyWorkshopsOn August 23, last year, Martha Snider from Caldwell, just outside of Lewisburg, found herself at the Our Children Our Future policy workshop in Bridgeport, listening to West Virginia Senator John Unger (D – Berkley) tell the story of visiting his wife’s third grade classroom. He said he asked students if they would rather have more recesses or two lunches. One student told him he wanted two lunches, so he could take one home to his brother, who didn’t have any food at night. As Unger talked about his awareness of child hunger and involvement with the Feed to Achieve Act, Snider was inspired.  As a result of the act, public school students will now get breakfast and lunch by the fall of 2015.

For Snider, the Northern Regional Policy Workshop was a revelation. Everyday West Virginians had access to legislators and were invited to partner with them to create state policy. Snider, a nurse, who is doing clinical work towards her doctorate degree through Walden University at the Rainelle Medical Center, was already working on health issues related to nutrition and exercise when her supervisor, Dr. Patricia Lally invited her to go to the workshop.Read More

Notes from WV First Local Business Beat at Joe n’ Throw – Fairmont

Home-WVFirstThe Local Business Beat!  A place where local business owners come together to network, share information, and enjoy good food and drink in one of our locally owned businesses.  Our first business beat was held at the Joe n’ Throw in Fairmont.

Some of our business attendees were:

Accessible West Virginia
Adams Office Supply
All In Stitches
Appalachian Gallery
Arts & Treasures
Bridgeport Farmers Market
C.L. White Photography
Crosby Construction
Gaddis Group
Gaddis Event Planning
H.E. Neumann
Hermosilla’s Deli
Home Style
Joe n’ Throw
Mountain Craft Productions
Mountain People’s Co-op
Urban Farmhouse

We also had representation from:

City of Fairmont, WV
Mainstreet Fairmont
What Fairmont Needs Is, Community Group

Insurance Agencies
Public Relations