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Try This: 2019 Breakout Sessions

Many successful projects have been planned or rolled forward at Try This regional gatherings! This one was in Parkersburg. How can we strengthen regional action in the next 5 years?

28 Great Breakout Sessions coming right up!


Register now!

                                                                See the conference schedule here.


Friday, June 7. (1:00 – 2:15)        


  • Yes, it’s economic development and yes, it’s healthy. These four West Virginians started small businesses that help people stay healthy and add to the local economy. Want to see healthy small businesses spring up in your area? These young businesspeople will stir up your ideas. Evan Young, Appalachian Boarding Company (Hurricane); Kyle Weaner, Jivaka Wellness Center (Elkins); Traci Phillips, Fun Fitness Kids Club


  • Mindfulness in Motion, all over town. The Mindful WV network started with a Try This grant. In Parkersburg, they’re providing training to the schools (mandatory training for teachers), drug recovery, fire department, afterschool, schoolbus drivers and lots of kids… any group that needs to de-stress. Aiming for prisons. This is an info and advice session for anyone who wants to explore ways to put mindfulness to serious use all over their community. Amy Snodgrass and Pam Santer, Mindful WV founders.
  • If Kids Grow It, They’ll Eat It. Want a gardening program at your elementary school? The Garden Learning program has taught thousands of WV kids to love gardening and fresh food. Come hear about their grade-school curriculum for hightunnel gardening. WVU Extension is adopting it statewide, so jump on! Doug Penn, Tim Sayre, WVU Extension Service (Putnam); Kristen McCartney, WVU Extension Service (statewide).


  • Prevent and control Type 2 diabetes! Literally thousands of West Virginians die of diabetes-related causes every year. Tens of thousands more are pre-diabetic. Your physical activity and healthy-food projects can literally save lives. You’ll hear about programs you can offer in your area. And you’ll get tips for organizing a diabetes coalition for your city or county. Susan Sims, Quality Insights; Mark Cucuzzella, MD, WVU Medical School East, Judy Crabtree, Kanawha County Diabetes Coalition organizer


  • Feeding hungry people: Three inspiring stories. How can we help people who are hungry in our communities, and how can we make sure that we’re offering healthy food, not food that leads to diabetes and heart problems? These three wonderful programs have found creative ways to make it happen. And WVU’s Food Justice Project is creating tools that will help them all. Cheryl Laws, Café Appalachia (South Charleston); Angi Kerns, Loving Intervention for Families in Transition; Grace Food Pantry and Community Church (Huntington), Bradley Wilson, WVU Foodlink.


  • Active Afterschool: Off the couches and off the streets!  An active afterschool can lower a child’s risk of depression, drug abuse,

    Girls on the Run. We did it!

    and future chronic disease. Hear about creative ways these programs keep kids active and discuss ways to boost afterschool in your area.  Richard Williams, afterschool coordinator (Barboursville); Rachel Byrne, Girls on the Run (Morgantown area),  David McCutcheon, PATCH 21 (Roane, Jackson,Mason) 


  • Local food: rapidly growing piece of our economic puzzle. Four great examples of the growing importance of local food in the West Virginia economy. Learn ways to tie your community into our state’s rapidly-expanding local foods networks. Stephanie Tyree, WV Community Development Hub; Danny Swann, Grow Ohio Valley; Gail Patton, Unlimited Future (The Wild Ramp); Spencer Moss, WV Food and Farm Coalition; Kevin Johnson, Appalachian Beekeeping Initiative


  • Sowing the Seeds of Change: Changing policy. Bad policy has led to many of WV’s problems. From lack of diabetes services to food deserts, from addiction to unsafe drinking water…the list goes on and on. Learn how to grow a movement for policy change and build a team from the roots up. Carey Jo Grace, Amy Jo Hutchison, Justin Raines, Our Children Our Future organizers




Friday, June 7.  (2:35 – 3:45)


  • Create a rockin’ kids event. These three presenters know how to get kids moving and laughing! Imagine hundreds of children running an obstacle course … children’s parties full of activity and healthy food kids love … a traveling van (The Fun-Raiser) full of fun stuff that brings kids’ activities to your part of town!  Come get inspired and dream up your own idea!  Mark Cucuzzella, MD, WVU Medical School East; Traci Phillips, Fun Fitness; Kate Marshall, Grow Ohio Valley Fun-Raiser


  • Benefits of Incorporating Physical Activity Throughout the School Day. Students who stay active throughout the day are likely to do better academically, research says. Two top experts on physical activity in schools share ideas about ways to weave physical activity through every hour of the day in your community schools. Emily Murphy, WVU Extension Obesity Specialist; Eloise Elliott, Professor, WVU College of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences
  • Tai Chi: Catalyst for Change. Tai Chi master Ron Wilkerson and his students have taught tai chi moves and philosophy to thousands of children and adults. Now several former students teach with him, including the student in this session. By popular demand, you’ll get a chance to try out tai chi and talk about ways to bring tai chi to people in your community.  Ron Wilkerson, tai chi master (Charleston) and Anthony McCorkle, former student. Rick Wilson, American Friends Service Committee.


  • Successful community models for your next steps! In the Wheeling area, Grow Ohio Valley has sparked an area-wide blossoming of local foods. The Greenbrier County Health Alliance created community councils that work together on county-wide projects, but have their own projects too. Amanda Workman will tell you about other communities and about resources that can help you do long-term healthy-community planning in your own community. Amanda Workman, WV Community Development Hub; Danny Swan, Grow Ohio Valley; Cassandra Childers, Greenbrier Valley Health Alliance


  • Telling Your Story!  OK, you’ve worked hard. Your project’s going well. So how do you let people know about it? How do you make people care about it or want to use it? Come hear Emma Pepper’s tips about storytelling in communities and across social and traditional media. Her latest campaign is #NewStoryWV, a collaborative effort to document the true spirit of West Virginia. Emma Pepper, communications director, West Virginia Community Development Hub
  • Kids growing greens for fun – and profit! In Spencer’s PATCH 21 program, students raise lettuce and greens through their hydroponics lab and sell the greens to the school cafeterias through the federal Farm to School program. Students who run the lab learn a marketable skill and are paid. Some of them will be there to talk with you. David McCutcheon, PATCH director and three students


  • Enjoy gathering info you need for grant reports! This is a chance to spend an hour with two experienced, down-to-earth researchers who start with curiosity and love of story-telling. Evaluation may sound boring, but they say it doesn’t have to be! Almost every grant requires it, and funders love it. Traci Jarrett and  Leesa Prendergast, West Virginia University


  • Instant Stress busters! Research says that stress is one of the leading causes of chronic disease, depression, and drug abuse. Nurse Aila Accad literally wrote a book on small things you can do to ease the pressure in stressful moments. This session will arm you with a choice of tactics.  Aila Accad, Director, The Future of Nursing



Saturday, June 8  (10:20 – 11:30)  


  • Prescribing Prevention: Minigrants available specifically for this! How can we make it easy for medical providers to collaborate and link with community programs? How can we encourage them to prescribe prevention by referring to community programs and resources? Our panel will give you a look at several models and will tell you how you can apply for these minigrants.  Aila Accad, The Future of Nursing WV; Jessica Wright, WV Bureau for Public Health; Jill Fields, Cabin Creek Health Systems


  • RUN! Kids, middle school, adults! Running is one of the healthiest activities you can organize in your community and one of the most affordable. And it’s so much more fun when you have people to run with!  These three presenters tell you how to organize programs for all ages. Caitlin Thomas, WE Run! Morgantown, a DIY group with 600+ members; Ryan McCarthy, How to start a middle-school running program; Rachel Bryne, Girls on the Run, Northern WV

  • Yes! You can change the rules. We all fume about regulations and rules that make it hard to create or grow healthy programs. But we can find some allies, get organized and change the rules!  It can take time, but these people have done it, and they’ll tell you how. Jenny Anderson, Families Leading Change; Rick Wilson, American Friends Service Committee; Jamie Jeffrey, KEYS for Healthy Kids


  • Physical activity as an anti-drug tool! Research says kids who are involved in regular physical activity with others are less likely to abuse drugs. Three excellent projects in three counties. Hear about elementary school anti-drug/active school programs in Harrison County; yoga for people in recovery in Cabell County; a physical activity adventure program for at-risk kids in Fayette County. Elizabeth Shahan, Harrison County FRN; Jeannie Harrison, Karma Yoga Institute; Katie Johnson, Project Adventure (Fayette County)


  • Great gardening with kids. This session will be held in the beautiful Buckhannon community garden. You’ll go from station to station in the garden, picking up great ideas at each about ways to encourage kids to fall in love with growing their own food.  Jessica Pollitt, WVU Extension Service; Kate Marshall and three others. In the garden. Follow the road to the right of the Performing Arts Center to the community garden.


  • Workplace Wellness! Research says that hours of sitting or standing is likely to take years off your life! So how can you turn your workplace into a health-promoting place, rather than a health-hurting place? These people know how to do it and they’re teaching others how!  Joey Aloi
  • “Try This Next Steps” conversation. A chance for more in-depth discussion of ways Try This can evolve to engage even more West Virginians during the next five years. Also a chance for you to convey a helpful idea or let us know what your organization (or you) can do. A chance to talk directly with Try This founders and long-term planners about what you’d like to see happen in your part of the state. This conversation will continue through both sessions.



Saturday, June 8 (11:50 – 12:50) 


  • Dancing in your community! In Spencer, Groove dancing has taken hold! It’s inexpensive, healthy and easy to set up.  Come ready to move and dance and de-stress. Then find out how you can make it happen in your own community.  This is an income-producing activity for the right people. Veronica wants to get a statewide network going! Veronica Stover, PATCH 21.


  • Make your project last beyond a year. These experienced organizers can help you figure out ways to take your project to reality and make it last more than a year. Build strong partnerships along the way and document successes to keep getting funded! Jenny Totten, WV Community Development Hub; Chad Webb, Reconnecting McDowell; Nate Smith, Greyhound Youth Sports; Dana Lester, WVU Extension Service, McDowell County. 
  • Nourishing Networks for Food Justice. can help you help hungry people.  West Virginia FOODLINK is an amazing collection of Web resources that can help you make a dent in food insecurity in your region. And  WVU’s Food Justice Lab is now helping communities organize in their area – maybe yours!  If you want to do something about food insecurity in your area, you want to meet these folks.  Bradley Wilson, director of WVU Food Justice Project; Joshua Lohnes, Amanda Marple, Thomson Gross, Jed DeBruin, Heidi Gum, graduate students, WVU Geography Department.
  • Alternatives to Punishment. If we teach kids ways to control their temper, ways to cool down, and ways to work things out, they’re less likely to get in trouble. Research shows it works! These people are doing it in West Virginia schools. Jeannie Harrison, Karma Yoga Institute; Katrina Jefferson, Peacetree Center (Cabell); Stephanie Harper, elementary school mindfulness teacher (Charleston).
  • Regional Foodie Networks. Five years ago, people were concentrating on making fresh, local food available in their towns. Now, the next step is to create regional networks of people who help each other in “foodsheds.” If you’re interested in marketing food, you want to go to this session! Laura Dice, West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition; Joey Aloi, KISRA food marketing


After Lunch, Saturday

How to write a successful minigrant. Three veteran grant-writers and funders will take you step bnd y step through the minigrant process. By popular demand, the deadline for applying for a minigrant is pushed back to early August this year. That means you’ll have time to plan with your team. Learn how in this session, then go home and plan. Jessica Wright, Bureau for Public Health; Kim Tieman, The Claude Worthington Benedum Founation; Jamie Jeffrey, KEYS 4HealthyKids.


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