Bike safety

In 2016, Try This West Virginia awarded a minigrant for Making Mt. Hope a Bicycle Friendly Community.Andy Davis, then pedestrian and bike trail coordinator for Active Southern West Virginia, fourth from right, talks with children in Tammy Darnell's second grade class at Mt. Hope Elementary School, during a bike safety rodeo, which was one of the goals of the grant.

(Editor's note: Try This West Virginia has provided seed funding and support for 16 Fayette County projects since Try This began awarding minigrants in 2014. Try This West Virginia has presented $750,000 to 347 teams around the state since 2014. Following is a rundown of the Fayette County projects.)

2014

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, learning 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

Girls on the Run: About 50 area 3rd to 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 area walking trail map. Partners: Fayette County Family Resource Network and the Fayette County Living Well Work Group; Lead Contact: Jean Evansmore

2015

Fayetteville Outdoor Adventure 4-H Club: This team will provide scholarships and equipment to take low income high school kids on active adventure trips they might not otherwise be able to afford, to expose them to the outdoor recreation opportunities available in their area. They will provide at least 10 scholarships in the 2015-2016 school year and will buy outdoor equipment that can be loaned to trip participants. Partners: Fayette County FRN, Active Southern West Virginia, Office of Child Nutrition, Fayette County Resource Coordinator, Fayette County Living Well Workgroup, Fayetteville 4-H, WVU Fayette County Extension; Lead Contact: Joe DeGaetano

Fayette SALS: Second year. This funding will help create a program for youth ages 12-16 to teach them about growing produce, canning produce, raising bees and harvesting honey, and raising other animals. Youth will work in the garden 10 hours a week and sell products at the Fayette Farmers Market to learn about entrepreneurship and help sustain the program. Partners: Southern Appalachian Labor School, Fayette County Farmers Market, Ross IGS, WVU Fayette County Extension, United Bank of Montgomery WV; Lead Contact: John David

Fayette Compost Pilot Program: This funding will pay for a pilot vermiculture composting program in two county schools. Children will learn to reduce food waste through composting and chemistry. Valuable organic compost will be created for the Farm To School gardens. Two teachers and at least 50 students will participate in food waste recycling. Waste hauled from New River Elementary will be reduced by 35 pounds per week. Food waste hauled from Valley High School will be reduced by 75 pounds per week. More than 70 pounds of organic compost for Farm To School will be created every three weeks. Partners: Fayette County Solid Waste Authority, WV Department of Education, Fayette County Board of Education, Fayette County Resource Coordinator’s Office, WVSU Extension; Lead Contact: Gabe Peña

The Great Tomato Giveaway: Mount Hope children will learn about gardening and growing food by giving out tomato plants to elementary school children. Gardening lessons will be given in spring 2016, then grape tomato plants will be given to 250 Mount Hope Elementary School students to plant and grow through the summer, and nutrition education classes will be conducted in the schools. Partners: WVU Institute for Community and Rural Health, Adolescent Health Initiative, Mount Hope Elementary PTO, WVU Fayette County Extension, Youth Development Office, City of Mount Hope; Lead Contact: Donna Bush

2016

Fayette Compost: This team will expand its two-school composting program to Mount Hope Elementary. Students will continue to turn cafeteria waste into salable compost by depositing cafeteria waste in bins full of worms and compost. They will build nine new raised beds at Valley Elementary and host three trainings during the year for area schools and the public about the “how-tos” and benefits of composting. They will video at least one workshop. Partners: Fayette County Solid Waste Authority, Fayette County Resource Coordinator’s Office, Fayette County Board of Education – Farm to School, Mt. Hope Elementary School, WVU Tech Upward Bound, and Valley Elementary School; Lead Contact: Gabriel Pena

Food in Place (High Five): The Fayette County SALS after-school program will add a greenhouse to its community garden and build three handicapped-accessible raised beds. In the fall, they will present two classes on preservation of fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy cooking to community members. They will open their outdoor track weekly to the community and allow the public to participate in indoor activities in cold weather. Partners: Fayette County SALS (Southern Appalachian Labor School), Jarvis Hardware, Fayette County Farmers Market, Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church, and Davis Tire & Muffler; Lead Contact: John David

Making Mt. Hope a Bicycle Friendly Community: This team will create a Mt. Hope Bike Club and hold two bicycle education events, including a bike rodeo. They will install at least one bike rack and a bicycle repair station for public use in Mt. Hope. They will apply for Bicycle Friendly Community designation from the League of American Bicyclists so they can receive a list of the further steps the town needs to take, to receive that designation. Partners: Active Southern West Virginia, West Virginia Connecting Communities, Fayette County Living Well Workgroup, New River Health Association, City of Mt. Hope, Energy Express; Lead Contact: Andy Davis

NRGLC Community Service Program: The New River Gorge Learning Cooperative will hire a VISTA who will work with NRGLC staff to develop the Community Service Program (identifying and securing organizational partnerships, setting up programmatic systems, organizing transportation, etc.). They will organize one service opportunity per month for NRGLC students for the 10 months of the 2016-2017 school year that relates to physical activity and healthy eating. Partners: New River Gorge Learning Cooperative, Fayette County FRN, Active Southern West Virginia, Plateau Action Network, Fayette County Solid Waste Authority; Lead Contact: Jenny Becksted-Smith

2017

Healthy Food Prescriptions Project: This project team aims to pair diabetes education with increased consumption of healthy food. They will hold a Chronic Disease Self-Management training in the fall and a Healthy Eating and Cooking program in the spring. They will provide seven CSA boxes for up to 25 participants for 14 weeks (1 CSA box every two weeks). The team will provide 25 participants with seven preparatory cooking classes that use WVU Extension recipes and SNAP Education recipes. They will evaluate and track 25 participants on a bi-monthly schedule to quantify food consumption and food preparation satisfaction. They will track the 25 CSA participants to see who wants to remain with the CSA and/or continue to use fresh produce from the farmer’s market. Partners: WV Food and Farm Coalition, New River Health Associates, Fayette County Resource Coordinator's Office; Lead Contact: Tammy Stein

Workplace Wellness Physical Activity Project (Fayette, Raleigh, Nicholas, Summers): This team will provide digital physical activity signage to 10 Beckley city departments. They will do the same at three new worksites in Fayette, Nicholas, Raleigh, or Summers counties. They will develop a “how-to” infographic and deliver an informational session by June 2018 and will also offer Workplace Wellness workshops / meetings for at least five city government teams, schools, and/or employers. They will work with each to institute at least one other wellness action beyond the signs. Partners: Active Southern West Virginia, West Virginia Physical Activity Plan Business and Industry Sector Team, WVU Extension, Department of Education, WV Physical Activity Network, Bureau for Public Health – Division of Health Promotion & Chronic Disease. Lead Contact: Melanie Seiler Hames

2018

Farming with Solar: The team will install two 400-watt solar systems in their farm and garden and heat lamps in the high tunnel and chicken coop. They will create a duck/fish pond and install pond liner. The team will track their progress and create a “how-to” guide to share with other communities wishing to easily replicate the program. They will also conduct pre- and post-testing to establish baseline and ensure at least 10 students gain/increase knowledge, and integrate the program in at least one other school. Partners: Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church, Southern Application Labor School, Jarvis Hardware, SALS. Lead Contact: William Austin

2019

Farmers Market Expansion (Fayette, Fayetteville/Oak Hill): The Fayette County Farmers Market provides access to SNAP Stretch and Senior Voucher programs. The Oak Hill market currently meets in a large, open-air pavilion with no walls. making it appropriate for use from spring through fall. The Market Expansion Project will pay to enclose half of the pavilion with roll-up doors, making it usable most of the year. The grant will also pay for increased marketing of the SNAP Stretch and Senior Voucher programs at the market, drawing more customers; Lead Contact: Angela Perry

— Courtesy/Try This West Virginia

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