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2014 minigrant teams turned $82,000 into projects worth more than $750,000

Hamlin K-8 work day-2

More than 90 Lincoln County residents helped build the new walking/running trail and playground at Hamlin K-8, which previously had only one swing set fr about 600 kids. The Try This grant was a building block that helped the community get others.

2014 grants:  $82,000 to 42 community teams.


Our 42 teams rose to the challenge in 2014!  The 2014 Try This minigrants ranged from $3,000 to $450. By October 1st, 66 percent of them had already exceeded at least one of their goals.

When we award a minigrant, the team agrees to secure local match. By year’s end, the 2014 teams had used their minigrants as leverage to secure $708,000 in donations, contributions, other grants and volunteer hours.

By the end of the cycle, the 42 teams had used their grant to leverage:

* $126,283 in cash contributions

* $142,702 in non-cash resources

* $439,187.38 in volunteer hours (using the volunteer scale)


Berkeley County

Healthy Berkeley: It’s Up To Us! Healthy Berkeley used the money to pay their share of a full-time AmeriCorps VISTA worker for a year. The VISTA is starting regular community conversation meetings and helping carry out Healthy Berkeley coalition activities. Healthy Berkeley is a countywide coalition of groups collaborating to promote healthy living programs and maximize effectiveness, create awareness, reduce duplication, and develop effective programs. Partners: The Berkeley County Health Department; Catholic Charities West Virginia, Healthier Berkeley County Lead Contact: Dana M. DeJarnett /    


Health and Wellness of RAPP EOP Community.  The grant will help create an extensive health training and coping skill for people caring for disabled relatives. Fun learning activities and healthy snacks for children will be provided during the workshops.  Partners: United Way of Eastern Panhandle, RAPP OEP, WV North American Council of Adoptable Childre, West Virginia’s Promise.  Lead contact: Betty McDonald /


Braxton County

Braxton County: G.P.S. (Grow. Plant. Share.) The grant will fund a community garden and home gardens and three months of gardening and nutrition workshops free to the public in summer 2014. Sutton Elementary will help select families for their pilot home garden project, designed to encourage family gardening, which will run throughout the school year. The project will be completed in one year. Partners: Sutton Elementary School, the Town of Sutton, Braxton County Health Department, City National Bank, and the WVU Extension Office Lead Contact: Dot Gioulis /


Brooke/Hancock Counties

Weirton Community garden Weirton Community Garden The funds helped pay for a community garden in Brooke and Hancock Counties, a family canning class and community garden space in Weirton. The team managed to leverage enough donations to build a second garden. The gardens  supplied fresh produce to about 24 families and local food pantries. Partners: Healthways and WVU Extension services, the Weirton Christian Center and the Brooke Hancock Family Resource Network Lead Contact: Aerika West /  


Cabell County

Fairfield Community Foodshare Project.  Five community gardens were created on vacant Huntington lots donated to the Build It Up! program by Huntington’s Land Bank Program (HURA). Community residents and homeless people helped grow the food, which was distributed among those who helped grow it and the local food pantry. Area youth in Build It Up! grew produce on one vacant lot. They took it to the Wild Ramp for sale, to keep the program going. Partners: KEYS 4 HealthyKids, West Virginia State University Extension Services; Build it Up! WV Lead Contact: / Cadance Young /  


Try This Huntington (Cabell) The grant launched monthly healthy community events that promoted better Try This Hiuntingtonnutrition and/or increased physical activity. The team targeted young area families and offered zumba classes for adults and children, Mommy and Me Yoga, Supper in a Sack-Budgeting and Healthy Meal Preparation workshops, water aerobics classes, and couponing and homemade baby food events. Partners: TEAM for WV Children, Valley Health, Cabell County Family Resource Network, Partners in Prevention, MISSION WV, YoungLives, Cabell County WIC Program, Cabell-Huntington Health Department, Change the Future WV, and Create Huntington Lead Contact: / Laurie McKeown /


Fayette County

High Five: Area youth learned how to grow and sell food by actually doing it in a STEAM learning environment. They worked in the High Five community garden 10 hours a week, learing to harvest and can their produce. They helped sell the produce and canned goods at the Fayette County Farmers Market and learned how to keep books and manage sales. A walking trail was created and a zumba class offered. This project helped re-establish the Young Farmers program, and continue already-established programs, such as the afterschool program and Energy Express. Partners: The Southern Appalachian Labor School (SALS), the Fayette County Farmers Market Association and the United Bank of Montgomery Lead Contact: John David /


Fayetteville GOTRGirls on the Run: About 50 area 3rd – 5th grade girls will participate in the Girls on the Run    program at Fayetteville Elementary School. Sponsors aim to accept all girls who apply, with all participating girls attending and completing an end-of-program 5K run. Family members will coach and will help other Fayette County Schools create Girls on the Run programs. Partners: Fayetteville Elementary School (FES), with the support from Fayette County Family Resource Network and the Fayette County Living Well Work Group Lead Contact: Lauren Weatherford /    


Mt. Hope Children’s Health Council Nutrition Education and Physical Activities Projects: Youth will grow produce for seniors and shut-ins on two community gardens they will also refurbish. They will also go through a nutrition education program during National Nutrition Month at Mount Hope Elementary School, ending in a tomato-growing competition for the kids. Partners: The West Virginia Southeastern Area Health Education Center, the Adolescent Health Initiative, Mt. Hope Elementary School, New River Health, and West Virginia University Extension Services Lead Contact: Donna Bush /  

Mt. Hope on the Move: Mt. Hope on the Move created a walking/running club for residents and distributed an Mt. Hopearea walking trail map. Partners: Fayette County Family Resource Network and the Fayette County Living Well Work Group Lead Contact: Jean Evansmore /  

Greenbrier County

SNAP Up Local Foods SNAP Up Local Foods will offer five nutrition and cooking demonstrations, targeting Seniors and SNAP recipients, at Greenbrier Valley farmers’ markets, with the goal of doubling the dollar volume of SNAP and Senior/WIC benefits redeemed at each market per week. The WIC and Senior Centers will be working to spread the word, along with Public Service Announcements on Appalachian Mountain Radio. Partners: Alderson Community Food Hub, Appalachian Mountain Advocates, the Lewisburg Farmers Market, the City of Lewisburg, the Greenbrier Valley Local Foods Initiative, and West Virginia University Extension Services Lead Contact: Laura Bozzi /  


Get Out, Get Active, Get Healthy This youth program included a three-month walking program, healthy cooking demonstrations, pool parties with physical and nutritional activities, and fruit/vegetable fairs throughout the county, with an aim of increasing usage of state parks, walking and biking rails, the Greenbrier River, swimming pools, and farmers markets. Their goal is to have 50 youth and 100 adult participants countywide. Partners: The West Virginia University Extension office, the Greenbrier County Health   Department, Rainelle Medical Center Lead Contact: Nikki Dolan /  


Jackson County

Caption One Step At A Time:  Jackson County’s Moovin’ and Groovin’ – Taking Steps For Life – The coalition identified and measured every public trail in Jackson County. They made trail maps, distributed them to the public and planned events that bring people to the trails. The ultimate goal was to connect/create trails to allow bikers and hikers to travel the whole county and into other counties on trails. Partners: Jackson County Healthy Department, KEYS 4 HealthyKids, the City of Ravenswood, WVU Extension Services, and Wirt County Health Services Association, Inc., Lead Contact: Wendy M. Crawford /  

Kanawha County

Butterfield Memorial Natural Playground After a year of negotiation with the Corps of Engineers, volunteers are creating a natural playground across the street from the Clendenin Public Library to increase physical activity for children in the area, with the help of a landscape designer. Partners: KEYS 4 HealthyKids, Cabin Creek Health Systems, Work or Play Travel, and A New Clendenin Lead Contact Information: KC Lovin /  


Bouncin’ In the Garden The grant paid for yoga balls and associated equipment for children to use iyoga balls Ruthlawnn the classroom and gardens to help with retention of information, fine motor skills, hyperactivity, posture and focus. Ruthlawn will become a demonstration center for use of yoga balls. WVU Extension provided technical advice and made Master Gardener volunteers available. Taylor Books provided a meeting space for learning about gardening, exercise, and fitness. Partners: WVU Extension Services, KEYS 4 HealthyKids, and Taylor Books, Ruthlawn Elementary School Lead Contact: Rachel Milner /  


Community Garden The Vista View and Southmoor Hills Neighborhood Network Learning Centers will build ten raised garden beds in three low-income communities for at least ten families that will use them to raise vegetables each growing season. Partners: Ten South Management Company LLC, KEYS 4 HealthyKids, and WVU Kanawha Extension, the Vista View Neighborhood Network Learning Center and Southmoor Hills Neighborhood Network Learning Center Lead Contact: Staci Ponder /  


Healthy Cross Lanes Initiative Organize at least two walking groups that will meet once a week in a variety of locations so walkers can experience the many area walking trails. The grant will finance beginning steps towards an annual Healthy Cross Lanes Day, which will consist of track and field competitions, healthy food, gardening demonstrations, bounce houses, health fairs, fitness classes, prizes, and giveaways. Partners: Cross Lanes United Methodist Church and the YMCA Lead Contact: Vikki Ballengee /  


Y-Grow Youth Gardens At least 125 youth will contribute 200 volunteer hours to refurbish and maintain the YMCA garden. They will incorporate healthy snacks all year in afterschool and summer camp programs. Community businesses will contribute 80 hours of volunteer instruction on healthy eating, food prep, and garden growing techniques. Partners: YMCA of Kanawha Valley, WVU Extension, WVSU Extension, Charleston Area Alliance, Mission Savvy, KEYS 4HealthyKids, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Pray Construction Lead Contact: Kelly L. Pruett 304-340-3527/  

Lewis County

Two Playgrounds and a Community Garden Using the mini-grant, the partners will create two natural play areas and green spaces in Weston and a gardening area across from Criss Manor for seniors and participants in the Lewis Weston park designCounty Family Resource Network Food Pantry. They will also hold a health fair at the beginning and end of each summer season. Partners: The City of Weston, St. Patrick School, Lewis County Christian Alliance,  Regional Education Service Agencies, the Lewis County Family Resource Network, Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital Lead Contact: Julia Spelsberg /  

Lincoln County

Farm to Childcare (Kanawha / Lincoln) Five different child care centers will use this funding to help their children grow fresh produce, harvest it, and use it in a healthy well-balanced diet. The project team will also arrange for at least three local farmers and producers to provide fresh produce to the local centers/schools. Partners: WVU Extension Services, Come Grow With Me, Childcare, Inc., The Growing Place, Lincoln County Schools, and the YWCA, KEYS 4 Healthy Kids Lead Contact: Laura Dice /  


HOWLS (Hamlin Outdoor Wellness Learning Site)/Natural Playground and Vegetable Gardens TeamHamlin K-8 work day volunteers are building a natural playground at Hamlin PK-8, to supply students with a badly-needed area for healthy play at a school that currently has one swing set for 160 kids. This money will pay for a bamboo tunnel and grass maze among other things. The playground will include a sensory garden where children can learn how to grow fruits and vegetables. Partners: Three Trees Design and Landscaping, staff, students, Lincoln County High students, Hamlin United Methodist members, Hamlin PTO, and other community members, KEYS 4 HealthyKids. Lead Contact: Chastidy Graham/     


Steps With Kathy: Getting Healthy In Honor Of The Person Who Inspires Us To Do Better With this grant, the team will provide six months of physical activity opportunities at the Big Ugly Community Center, including geocaching, swimming, and indoor tennis. Participants will learn about the role of physical activity in preventing chronic disease. Grow Appalachia will offer workshops on healthy food and cooking throughout the 6-month program, and West Virginia State University Extension will be providing Walk With Ease trainings. The program is dedicated to Kathy Smith, Center director, who is battling cancer. Partners: WV State Extension Services, Grow Appalachia, Step By Step, Inc., The Big Ugly Community Center Lead Contact: Michael Tierney /


Logan County

Man: Fight Poverty with Produce: The partners will start a farmers market at area community events, add two more raised bed gardens at Man Middle School, and provide Junior Master Gardener workshops in afterschool programs. The funding will pay for the construction of two beds, topsoil, fertilizer, scales, garden tools, plastic netting, and Junior Master Gardener Instruction. Materials for the first four raised beds were donated by Man Elementary, and local supply stores donated soil. Students in summer and after-school programs will raise produce in the gardens. Partners: The Man community, Man Middle School, Master Gardeners Association Lead Contact: Bea Sias /  


Rebuild Renew Unite Cora-Shamrock This funding will help launch a Celebrate Cora Coalition in one of Logan’s Cora Shamrock garden most troubled neighborhoods. The coalition will include youth, churches and other organizations, and residents. They will plan a basketball tournament, engage more families in the community garden and plan an annual “Block Party” event featuring healthy activities for kids and families & education about local food. Threading through all these activities: leadership training for young people. Partners: Recovery Group of Southern WV, Healthy Logan, WVU Extension, and BAPS Youth Leadership Group, American Friends Service Committee Lead Contact: Lida Shepherd /

McDowell County

Keep it Cool & Healthy  This grant will pay for two refrigerators to keep produce fresh at the Five Loaves and Two Fishes food bank near Welch. The food bank will also host nutrition, cooking, and exercise classes, and (with new certification!) will provide milk, eggs, yogurt, potatoes and other perishable food items that will be kept fresh with refrigeration. Partners: Five Loaves & Two Fishes LLC food bank, WVU Extension and Mountaineer Food Bank Lead Contact: Sabrina Shrader /


Mineral County

Mineral County Playscapes With the funding, the team will construct three natural playscape areas in Mineral County while engaging youth in hands-on learning and encouraging use of public school play areas. The grant will help match in-kind donations to purchase the needed construction supplies. Partners: WVU Extension, Change the Future WV, WVU Master Gardener’s Association, New Creek Elementary School, the parks & recreation department, Mineral County Health Department, and the Mineral County Family Resource Network Lead Contact: Stacey Huffman /  


Families on the Move  The partners and youth organizations will develop three family-friendly walking trails and recruit at least 25 families for weekly walking programs. This grant will help get the ball rolling by providing the funding necessary to spread awareness: create and post trail signs, promoting the trails and the project, and print publications about the trail program. Partners: Mineral County FRN, AmeriCorps VISTA for MCFRN & CASA, WVU Extension, Lifestyle Fitness Center, Change the Future WV, Girls Scouts of America, County Commissioner and Mayor of Ridgeley, Delegate Gary Howell, Keyser City Administrator, Mineral County Health Department, Mineral County Parks & Recreation Lead Contact: Gerri Mason /  

Mingo County

Bike Friendly Matewan The goal of this project is to transform Matewan into a bike-friendly community, encourageMatewan citizens and visitors to bicycle in a safe environment, and take steps toward becoming a nationally certified Bike-Friendly Community. The mini-grant award will help fund bike safety course materials, brochures, maps, advertisements, bike racks construction, and general repairs/upkeep of supplies. Partners: Tug Valley Road Runners Club & the Williamson Wellness Center, the WV Community Development HUB, the Williamson Farmers Market, the Appalachian Leadership Academy Lead Contact: Kelly M. Webb /  


Mingo hightunnel-2Coalfields Food Hub The partners will build a new hightunnel greenhouse, train students and veterans to garden, and increase production & income at the Williamson Farmers Market and Mobile Market by 2015. The grant will supply the funds to construct the hightunnel and part of teacher stipends. Partners: Mingo County Diabetes Coalition, Williamson Health & Wellness, the Mingo Development Authority, & Williamson Redevelopment Lead Contact: Maria Arnot /    

Monongalia County

Christian Help’s Token to Health The grant will be used for farmers market tokens for families using Christian Help’s Food Pantry to allot to households. This will be a way of introducing SNAP families to the farmers market, thereby encouraging them to use their benefits on fresh, local produce. Partners: Morgantown Food Market, Christian Help, WVU Extension Services Lead Contact: Laura Horning /       


Conscious Harvest Cooperative With land donated by a local farmer, this grant will help the ConsciousConscious Harvest Harvest Cooperative grow food for local pantries with no access to fresh produce. The Cooperative loans garden plots to individuals and partners with local markets. Local families volunteer monthly to maintain the garden. The mini-grant will help fund materials such as picnic tables and seedlings, as well as the construction of a parking lot for the families gardening. Partners: Conscious Harvest unites WVU students & residents of Morgantown in a strategy for alternative food sourcing. Lead Contact: Samantha Maki /  

Nicholas County

Richwood Initiative for Healthy Families and Sustainable Future (Nicholas) The grant will pay for healthy cooking classes held at the Richwood Pantry twice a month for six months. The team plans to develop a healthier food pantry by partnering with a local farmer, provide breastfeeding classes, train families to read food labels, and provide food preservation classes. Partners: AmeriCorps VISTA, WVU Extension, Nicholas County FRN, local gardener George Kinney, PAT, Richwood Pantry, & Nicholas County Starting Points Lead Contact: Barbie Ratcliff /    

Pocahontas County

Linwood: Community Natural Learning Environment (Pocahontas) The partners will use funds from the Linwood planting minigrant to purchase natural learning environment elements, fencing, plants, and garden supplies for a natural playground in Linwood. There will also be education stations for the children, which include art, music, math, science, and local heritage. Partners: Grow Appalachia, the Pocahontas County Farmers Market, Snowshoe Mountain Resort, and local construction and landscaping companies Lead Contact: Tracey Valach /  


Marlinton: Healthy Harvest Food Pantry This grant will help the Harvest House Food Pantry, which serves 350 households monthly, buy fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers market during the growing season, and canned, frozen or fresh fruits and vegetables from local retailers during the off season. It will pay for education opportunities on diabetes, making your recipes healthier, hypertension, local exercise opportunities, reading food labels, and food allergies. Partners: Mountaineer Food Bank, Lions Club, Community Care of Marlinton, Family Outreach and Education Center, Farmer’s Market, WVDHHR, Pocahontas Memorial Hospital, WV Right from the Start, Go Marlinton Coalition, Pocahontas County Health Department Lead Contact: Laura Young /

Putnam County

Hometown Elementary School: Community Based Playground The partners will build a 640’ X 4’ fitness trail on school property and install equipment on the trail that will make the trail accessible for special needs preschool students. With $29,500 contributed from other sources and an in-kind labor donation from the National Guard, this grant will fund mulching and the installation of equipment on the trail. Partners: Putnam County Schools, Hometown Elementary, ARS, WV Legislature, National Guard, Putnam County Parks & Recreation, Elizabeth Baptist Church Lead Contact: Barbara Black /  

Raleigh County

Cooking United Promoting Intelligent Decisions [CUPID Living] The Raleigh Family Resource Network will offer gardening training and canning classes for community Seniors. The team will build raised community garden beds, accessible to 800 community members. Participants will can 300 lbs of vegetables to distribute to at least 15 families. Partners will also offer healthy shopping and living classes and provide healthy recipes. Partners: WVU Extension, Keys 4 Healthy Kids, The Center, Raleigh County FRN,  Beckley VA Medical Center Lead Contact: Deborah Williams /    

Taylor County

Grafton Community Garden (Taylor) This grant will buy materials to build raised beds & fence for a community garden. Volunteers will provide at least 100 hours of service to raise produce that can be taken home or sold at the farmers market. Partners: North Central WV Community Action, Taylor County Starting Points Family Resource Center, WV Healthy Start, Regional Education Services Agencies, Preston/Taylor Parents as Teachers, WVU Extension Service, Rape Domestic Violence Information Center, Taylor County Collaborative FRN, Taylor County Medical Center, Taylor County Health Dept., Hospice Care Corporation, WV Office of Maternal, Child, & Family Health, Change the Future WV Lead Contact: Jennifer Murray / OR  

Tucker County

Hendricks Park – Let’s Play – Playground This grant will buy playground equipment for a safe playground in Hendricks. The partners have already secured the cost of landscaping. The new playground will be between the Cheat River Water Trail and the Allegheny Highlands Rail Trail. Volunteers from Hendricks, Hambleton and Parsons will contribute 250 volunteer hours to construct the playground. Partners: Town of Hendricks, Hendricks Town Park, Tucker County Senior Center, Tucker County FRN, Town of Hendricks, Tucker Community Foundation, Hendricks United Methodist Women Lead Contact: Solena Roberts / 

Upshur County

Buckhannon: Community Raised Garden Beds:  This funding will buy lumber, supplies, and signage costs Buckhannon commun garden (1 of 1) necessary to allow Create Buckhannon volunteers to construct 45 raised beds. Between 45 to 100 individuals and families will till the beds each year, providing them with produce and a hands-on learning experience.   Partners: The Parish House & The Opportunity House, Create Buckhannon, Upshur County CVB, WV Wesleyan College, City of Buckhannon Lead Contact: Laura Meadows /  

Webster County

Journey to Wellness  This grant will help the partners maintain a “Journey to Wellness” community website page and newsletter that will offer fitness DVDs through the Webster County library. The coalition also will provide equipment & incentives for 100 attendees at the Webster County Memorial Hospital’s Kids’ Health & Wellness Camp. Through the newsletter, the team will increase participation in annual weight loss contest (the Journey to Wellness Challenge) by 10 people. Partners: Webster County FRN, Webster County Health Dept., Webster County                Memorial Hospital, Webster County Fitness Center, WVU Ext. Office, Cowen Public Library, Webster-Addison Library Lead Contact: Todd Farlow /  

Wyoming County

SADD’s Got P.O.W.E.R. Wyoming County’s Students Against Destructive Decisions will organize a County Youth SADD lightroom Health Coalition that will create a community garden; create a running team that will compete in two 5Ks, and create a biking team. The project will provide opportunities for “anti-drug” choices (i.e. biking, running, gardening, sports, dance, etc. Partners: Students Against Destructive Decisions, Wyo. FRN, Wyoming Family Resource Center, Wyo. VISTA for Youth Coalition, Wyoming County Board of Education, Wyoming County Prevention Coalition Lead Contact: Kathy Brunty /  


Mullens on the Move One hundred participants will walk a total of 10,000 miles in one year. The program will sponsor two Biggest Loser contests, organize semi-annual active outdoor events for kids, and run a line-dancing program. Partners: Mullens Opportunity Center, Rural Appalachian Improvement League, Experience Works, TASC Lead Contact: Charlene Cook /  



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