True to the movement's motto, "It's up to us!", Try This West Virginia is fueled by West Virginians that are taking the state off the top of the worst health lists by imagining and implementing do-able ideas and activities to make their communities healthier.
By providing "how-to" information on making healthy choices the available choices, Try This uses an evidence-based model of health promotion to enact structural and social changes at the individual and community level to make nutritious food and places to be active easily accessible to all. The goal of the Try This West Virginia movement is to reduce and prevent chronic diseases and childhood obesity as well as promote economic development in the state through ideas and activities that increase physical activity and healthier diets. The Try This West Virginia website contains ideas and success stories from West Virginians that are making themselves, their children, and their communities healthier through projects like running clubs, community gardens, and farmers markets. An annual conference is also held in June each year where people meet, network, and continue to enact positive change for a healthier West Virginia.
|Type of Organization||Non-profit|
Kate Long, Co-Founder
History of Organization: The Try This West Virginia movement began with a website created by Kate Long, a journalist, writing coach, and radio producer for the Charleston Gazette and West Virginia Public Radio. Kate wrote an national award-winning series of 70 stories entitled "The Shape We're In" describing the high cost of health care in WV, poor health outcomes of many WV residents, and most importantly, what her fellow West Virginians were doing about it. The Try This West Virginia website, based with the WV Healthy Kids and Families Coalition and overseen by the Try This steering committee, was funded by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and KEYS 4 HealthyKids.
Programs and Projects: The Try This West Virginia website contains detailed information on how to implement projects to increase access and affordability of healthier foods and reduce physical inactivity, including both structural and motivational aspects of change. Examples include information on how to get the community involved to enact change, how healthy local foods and fitness activities can positively impact the community's economy, how to write grants to fund project ides, how to establish a farmers market, increasing access to healthier foods and activity into schools, addressing diabetes and working with public officials toward long-term changes. The first Try This West Virginia Conference was held across two days in June 2014. Over 400 West Virginians showed up to learn about and work together to create healthier communities and the second annual conference held in June 2015 saw even more attendees and success stories. The 3rd annual Try This West Virginia Conference is planned for June 2016 at West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon. One component of the Try This movement is the availability of minigrants to help get community projects started. Applicants choose a project focused around eating healthier and/or physical activity as a group of 3 or more members of different groups or individual community members, complete a checklist to understand what types of activities and resources exist in their community and what kinds are needed, and provide a description of the project along with commitments for additional financial or volunteer support in addition to the amount requested from Try This. Social media campaigns and workshops are offered year-round to help communities committed to achieving a healthier lifestyle and new initiatives include "Healthy Bodies, Healthy Spirits West Virginia" and regional Try This group meetings across the state. Try This is funded by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, WV Office of Child Nutrition, WV Bureau of Public Health, Unicare Health Plan of WV, The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, the Bernard McDonough Foundation, Generous Promise grant funds, and the Sisters of St. Joseph in addition to support from conference sponsors and registration fees to cover the conference costs.
Partners and Frequent Collaborators
- WV Healthy Kids and Families Coalition
- The West Virginia Community Development Hub
- West Virginia Office of Child Nutrition
- WV Bureau for Public Health
- Keys 4 HealthyKids
- WV Association of Counties
- WVU Extension
- WV Family Resource Networks
- West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition
- West Virginia Farmers Market Association
- Our Children, Our Future
- West Virginia National Association of Social Workers
- American Friends Service Committee WV
- West Virginia Primary Care Association
- West Virginia Council of Churches
- Step by Step
- Wellness Council of West Virginia
- West Virginia School-Based Health Assembly
Future Developments for This Wiki
- New initiatives and website pages: troops and volunteers, churches, seniors, school wellness councils, and healthy child care centers