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 of things you can do, to 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! Six annual conferences featured 30 – 40 “how-to” workshops, more than 100 presenters and an average of 424 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 $750,000 in minigrants to 336 community teams. Many communities used their minigrant as seed money to get matching funds, donated resources and volunteer time.
The 2017 evaluation of the first three years of Try This found that, for every grant dollar they were awarded, the community teams leveraged an average of $11 in additional contributions, donations and volunteer hours.
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. Since 2016, Try This has sponsored ten regional meetings and has sparked the statewide Mindful West Virginia 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 partner organizations.
6. Incubator. Try This is a big incubator for big ideas that an only be accomplished through collaboration.
Here is advice about ways to navigate and use this Web site.
Here’s a handy flier you can use to tell people about the Try This Web site.
And here are Key Findings from the Try This evaluation.
Who are Try This Partners? Try This is a partnership between local people who want to create healthier communities and a coalition of state-and-regional-level groups who can help them do that. The regional state-level partners include:
The West Virginia Alliance of Family Resource Networks, West Virginia Community Development Hub, West Virginia Bureau for Public Health, West Virginia Association of Counties, Future of Nursing West Virginia, WVU Extension Service, WVU Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Health; WV School of Osteopathic Medicine, Center for Rural and Community Health; WVU Parkersburg Wellness Program; PATCH 21; Grow Ohio Valley; 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, Active Southern WV. American Friends Service Committee WV, West Virginia Council of Churches, Mindful West Virginia, Step by Step, West Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, West Virginians for Affordable Health Care
Who has funded Try This? The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, WV Office of Child Nutrition, WV Bureau of Public Health, Unicare, The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, The Highmark Foundation, Sisters Health Foundation, The Pallottine Foundation of Buckhannon, The Pallottine Foundation of Huntington, 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 Try This conference registration dollars and sponsorship dollars.
Adam Flack, Co-Director: firstname.lastname@example.org (304) 389-2500
Kate Long, Co-Director: email@example.com (304) 343-1884
Administrative Assistant: Melissa Young Melissa@trythiswv.com
Co-founders: Kate Long & Stephen Smith
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.
At the same time, West Virginia is #1 in the nation in depression and opioid addition.
We know we can lower the risk of all those things. 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 Center
- A Statewide Movement improving West Virginia Main Streets. Main Street America
- Small victories adding up in the Try This movement. The State Journal
- Try This makes strides towards a healthier West Virginia. The State Journal
- Running gaining popularity as a way to combat obesity in West Virginia. The Charleston Gazette-Mail
- West Virginia healthcare professionals expand Try This movement. West Virginia Executive
- Try This makes its way to the Eastern Panhandle. Local DVM
- 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 WV to host faith-based healthy lifestyles conference in Buckhannon. WAJR
- 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
Media reports on minigrants
- Wheelie Good Food cart, Barboursville
- New updates on Harrison RailTrails, WDTV
- 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
- 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. For a good discussion of that model, see “Translating Social Economic Theory into Guidelines for Community Health Promotion.”
Try This supplies 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.
Adam Flack supplied the technical expertise that brought the site together. Hundreds of people supplied information and insight. The site is built on Origins, an adapted WordPress template.
Try This (c) 2015 and Trademark 2017 Kate Long