Nine new projects have already been awarded this year in Southern WV - check out our "Minigrants" page to learn how you can add your project to the list in June!

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Try This had a select round of minigrants in February 2022 for Southern WV. These nine projects are underway, with statewide applications opening in May for our annual June cycle. Keep an eye out for more information!

2022-2023 MINIGRANT PROJECTS:

KANAWHA COUNTY

 

Basketball Court Repair (SPRING):

This Eagle Scout project from Elias Whitaker gets a group of intergenerational volunteers tackling repairs on 4-H Camp Virgil Tate’s basketball courts. These two courts are in disrepair and in desperate need of updating. First, the basketball hoops and poles will be repainted and repaired. The project team will also dig up weeds on the two courts then fill the cracks to make the courts safe and usable. Lastly,, the team will also use stencils to paint the lines on the fully sealed court, and also help paint a green 4-H logo centerpiece on one of them. All in an effort to have healthy campers.

Project Lead: Elias Whitaker, eliaswhiteaker@gmail.com

 

It Takes a Village (SPRING):

This project will focus on the at-risk youth in the Marmet and London areas of Kanawha County, WV. These communities are hard-hit by the opioid epidemic, and a group of dedicated volunteers have stepped up to make a difference. Now they want to take their next steps by starting a health-focused program for young folks and their families. Youth will have opportunities to participate in outdoor recreation including baseball, softball, hiking, and fishing from experienced mentors to support both physical and mental health. Families will be referred to resources to increase access to basic needs such as food, clothing and hygiene items through a partnership with the Booker T. Washington Community Center. Each child will receive an Adventure Journal and their own hiking stick to customize to empower them to continue their health journey at the end of this project.

Project Lead: Cathy Schrader, executivedirector@regionalfrn.org

 

LINCOLN & LOGAN COUNTIES

Lincoln-Logan Winter Healthy Food Initiative (SPRING):

Through a partnership with WVU Extension, this project team will be hosting 25 local gardeners with two food-preservation and three winter-gardening workshops. Lincoln and Logan County participants will be taking home food they’ve preserved at the end of the class, as well as the experience necessary to continue their skills at home. Some topics to be covered include: how to regrow partially used produce, how to grow in mason jars, how to grow cold weather crops through the winter, to be able to successfully harvest them well into January and February, and how to make those well-earned foods last.

Project Lead: Marta Pate, mpate@stepbystepwv.org

The Big Ugly Youth & Teen Gardeners (SPRING):

This intergenerational collaborative project will pair youth and teens with experienced gardeners in the community who have the skills, knowledge, and a love of gardening to pass on in Lincoln and Logan counties. The young folks will then take what they learn and plan, plant, grow, and harvest their own yield at the local community center. In turn, these efforts will provide fresh produce for families through the summer food backpack program that provides food at-need families each week. In the process, these young folks and experienced gardeners will be encouraging themselves and their community to try produce prepared in new and healthier ways, creating active participants in food preparation in the community.

Project Lead: Tami Boling, tboling@sttepbystepwv.org

 

 

MASON COUNTY

 

Mason Walk/Run/Cycle Route (SPRING):

A team of community volunteers are planning to make it easier for citizens of Mason to access consistent, safe physical activity by installing three bike racks and weather-resistant signage to point locals in the right direction. This route will connect the local library, town park, and town hall by way of a designated trail. Through engaging programming aimed at getting people on the new trail, the project team plans to organize at least four community bike rides with Bend Area Sprocket Spinners, and a 5K walk/run event with their partner Pleasant Valley Hospital. This small town will soon be connected to the larger efforts across Mason County, including the Point Pleasant Fitness Trail project below, to increase access to walking, hiking, and biking opportunities and to create a healthy-minded community.

Project Lead: Lisa Crump, lisacrump1980@yahoo.com

 

Point Pleasant Fitness Trail (SPRING):

Youth-designed and youth-led, PATCH-21 will help support students at Point Pleasant High School build a fitness trail for walking, hiking, and mountain biking on school property. The Take if From Us student group will spearhead the effort, getting parent, faculty, and community volunteers to create a space for healthy activity. The Strava fitness app, with data tracked by PATCH-21, will help students encourage use and will give them data to present and market their efforts to various community partners and organizations. This project, along with the above Mason Walk/Run/Cycle Route project, is one piece of a larger effort to get folks out on the trails in Mason County.

Project Lead: Katie McCutcheon, kjmccut2@stu.k12.wv.us OR dmccutcheon@patch21.org

PUTNAM COUNTY

Beyond the Vale Empowerment Garden (PUTNAM & KANAWHA) (SPRING):

To state it boldly, this project says: “We will teach the Charleston-based [Exploring ME Girls Group] how to turn one tomato into 100.” To accomplish this, the Beyond the Vale (BtV) community will level ground and construct a high tunnel to double their fruit and vegetable production with the goal of providing food growing and preservation education opportunities. At least two-dozen community members in person, as well as an online group with more than 500 members, will benefit from these efforts. Partnering with Dr. Shannequa Smith and the Exploring ME (My Emotions) Girls Group in Charleston, this empowerment garden will help expand awareness and access to healthy foods by providing produce biweekly for three months, as well as hands-on growing and harvesting opportunities to at least eight young Black women.

Project Lead: Johnna Bailey, Johnna.bailey@gmail.com

 

YETS: Youth Elevate The State (SPRING):

Mountain View Elementary School’s student population is over 50% low socioeconomic status, meaning these youth are at higher risk of many health-related issues now and in the future. To help support these students, local mentors will train 25-40 3rd-5th grade students in holistic and community wellness through a specialized couch to 5K program integrated with mindfulness lessons and a focus on social-emotional skills. The students will learn the life cycles of plants, how to harvest produce, how to make healthy food choices, and more. The youth will even have the opportunity to design, build, and use their own garden at Mountain View Elementary School! Lessons in STEAM, gardening, and physical activity will also empower students in life skills, interpersonal skills, and the confidence to become a fierce leader.

Project Lead: Cadence Young, cadance.childlawservices@gmail.com

 

WAYNE COUNTY

Grow Kids Wayne County (SPRING):

Twelvepole Trading Post, in partnership with ACCESS WV and Grow Wayne, a product of Berea College’s Grow Appalachia Program, is developing a community garden next to Wayne Park. The Town of Wayne Community Garden will be available to neighbors, visitors, youth, and families of the community. These raised beds will be donated and improved upon by various community members. It will also be a space for a GRo fellowship to collaboratively host gardening workshops aimed at youth and families to expand their knowledge of how to produce their own grown food. All food will be available for picking, sharing, and enjoying. Through surveys the project team also hopes to learn more about participants and the needs of their community to ensure this project is successful for years to come.

Project Lead: Leah Fitzgerald, lamason@hsc.wvu.edu