An introduction to Try This ™
Parkersburg has added bike racks, bike lanes, colored crosswalks, trails and has even established an alternative transportation council to get more pedestrians and bicyclists onto the street. And once a year, when the city closes some streets to cars, local groups get into the act! (photo, courtesy The OPAM)
This Web site is packed with hundred of do-able, practical ideas and great West Virginia examples. It can help you turn dreams of a healthier community into reality.
Our mission statement: “to help knock West Virginia off the top of the worst health lists, community by community.”
Our motto: “It’s up to us!”
There are many parts to the Try This movement:
This Web site is one! Available 24/7 with hundreds of ideas, “how-to” resources, and great West Virginia models. A wonderful online way for West Virginians to trade ideas and help each other! Combine that with our facebook page and other social media, and you get a powerful online resource that helps West Virginians help each other.
2. An annual conference for local people who want to build healthier communities. It’s the Web site come to life! The 2016 conference featured 40 “how-to” workshops and 128 presenters and drew more than 550 participants from all over West Virginia!
3. Minigrants for community teams that want to carry out healthy lifestyle projects in their communities. In our first three years, Try This distributed more than a quarter of a million ($280,000) in minigrants to 153 community teams. Many communities used their minigrant as seed money to get matching funds, donated resources and volunteer time.
Our 2015-16 minigrants averaged $9 in donations, additional grants and volunteer time for every $1 we put into them.
4. Year-round program: Workshops, social media and on-the-ground organizers to help local people plan projects, carry out longterm planning, find resources and get training. In 2015-16, we sponsored six regional meetings and incubated the fledgling WV Healthy Bodies Healthy Spirits network.
5. State-level coalition. Try This is a coalition of partner organizations who recognize that we can get more done together than we can get done apart. Our aim is to pool resources to help local teams. See below for the list of partners.
6. Incubator. Try This is a big incubator for big ideas that an only be accomplished through collaboration. The WV Healthy Bodies Healthy Spirits network is one example.
Here is advice about ways to navigate and use this Web site.
Here’s a handy flyer you can use to tell people about the Try This Web site.
Who are the Try This Parters? Try This is a partnership between local people who want to create healthier communities and a coalition of state-level groups who can help them do that. The state-level partners include:
West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition, West Virginia Community Development Hub, West Virginia Office of Child Nutrition, West Virginia Bureau for Public Health, KEYS 4HealthyKids, West Virginia Association of Counties, WVU Extension Service, West Virginia Family Resource Networks, West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition, WV Farmers Market Association, Our Children Our Future, Healthy in the Hills, 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, West Virginia School-Based Health Assembly, West Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, West Virginia Healthy Bodies Healthy Spirits
Who funds Try This? 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 Highmark Foundation, Sisters of St. Joseph, Generous Promise Grant, The Bernard McDonough Foundation, American Heart Association, WVU Rural Health Initiative, WVU Health Sciences Center, WV Development Office, Flex-E Grant Program, Appalachia Funders Network, plus the Try This conference registration dollars and sponsorship dollars.
Kate Long, Co-director: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephen Smith, Co-director: email@example.com
Matthew Thompson, Assistant Director: firstname.lastname@example.org
Joshua Sowards, Healthy Bodies Healthy Spirits coordinator: email@example.com
Cassie Kile: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jenny Anderson: email@example.com
Emily Birckhead: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why are we doing this?
West Virginia tops many awful chronic disease lists …
but it doesn’t have to stay that way.
Our children are at risk. In 2012, nearly one in four West Virginia fifth- graders already had high blood pressure, according to West Virginia University measurements of thousands of children. One in five kindergartners were coming to school obese. Almost one in three adults were obese.
All these things put them at high risk of future type 2 diabetes, heart disease and a wide range of other chronic diseases.
We know we can change that. It’s up to us!
This is about economic development too:
The cost of treating these diseases is busting our state, local and family budgets. A recent legislative report said seven out of 10 of our health care dollars are spent treating preventable diseases. Let’s prevent them!
As we build healthier communities, we make them more attractive to businesses and people who might like to locate there.
Two things will lower our chronic disease rate, doctors say: daily physical activity and healthier diet. Click on the blue letters for a list of research studies on the impact of physical activity and healthier diet.
This Web site is stuffed with practical, affordable ways to make it easier for people in your community to move more and eat healthy food.
People are not born knowing how to build high-tunnel greenhouses or create running clubs or school-based health centers. To help you, we’ve assembled high-quality “how-to” resources from around the country and world.
Every picture on this site is taken in West Virginia. We made sure that each activity we recommend is already working in West Virginia. That makes it harder to say, “Well, maybe it worked someplace else, but it won’t work here!”
The Try This checklist : make a long-range plan!
The checklist gives you a handy way to make a long-range healthy lifestyle plan for your community. It helps you prioritize projects in an efficient way.
Take a look! Tell other people about it. Bring interested people together and use it!
- Try This conference: A movement for change. West Virginia University Health Sciences Ceenter
- Try This makes strides toward a healthier West Virginia. The State Journal
- Try This West Virginia creating a healthier state. WBOY-TV
- Try This program awards more than $100,000 for healthy living projects. The Charleston Gazette
- Try This West Virginia focusing on solutions to state’s health problems. MetroNews
- Try This group aims for healthier West Virginia. The State Journal
- Try This conference aims to improve diet, exercise habits. The Charleston Gazette
- Try This grants target healthy community changes. The Charleston Gazette
- Try This: Building healthy communities. West Virginia Public Radio
- Coalition awards $80,000 to communities. The Charleston Daily Mail
- County projects get grants. Williamson Daily News
- Launching of a statewide healthy lifestyle. Gilbert Times
Media reports on 2016-17 minigrants
- So Social child dropin center, Huntington Herald Dispatch
- Harrison Rail Trail, Clarksburg Intelligencer
- Farmacy Project, Wheeling (public radio)
- Rx Community Garden, Parkersburg News and Sentinel
- Farmacy (Intelligencer)
- Dinner in a SNAP (Wheeling), Wheeling Intelligencer
- Fayette County vermiculture – worm farms! – in the schools!
- Walking Classroom: Cabell County
- Walking Classroom, Cabell County
- DIY: Your Local Food Market
Other frequently-asked questions:
What is the Try This philosophy? The Try This site is evidence-based, grounded in the socio-ecological model of health promotion. We believe that people can make healthy changes in their lifestyles more easily if healthy choices are available in their community.
We are supplying how-to information for people who want to create those choices. Local and state government can adopt policies that promote those choices.
The Try This site also supplies how-to information on a wide variety of such policies. See “How local officials can help” in the site index.
Statistically, low-income and minority people have poorer health than higher-income and white people do. The Try This Web site is another tool for people who hope to overcome that disadvantage by creating community programs that make it easier for people to move more and eat healthier food.
How did we choose the community activities that appear on the Web site? These activities are promoted by the Centers for Disease Control and other groups that study “what works.” All these activities have been shown to increase physical activity and/or availability of healthy food. All are happening now in West Virginia. Each page includes West Virginia examples.
How was the Web site created? Kate Long created The Try This site for the children and families of her home state.
The site was funded by grants from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and KEYS 4HealthyKids. It is based with the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition and overseen by the Try This steering committee.
Charleston Newspapers has donated Web hosting.
Adam Flack supplied the technical expertise that brought the site together. Kim Coram helped research physical activity activities. Hundreds of people supplied information and insight. Liz Brunello, Andrew Acosta, and Rebecca Nunley helped keep links up to date. The site is built on Origins, an adapted WordPress template.
Copyright notice: Try This and Try This West Virginia (c) 2015