Center for Community Engagement & Leadership Development to Host Our Children, Our Future Forum

Friday, March 8th, 2013

West Virginia Wesleyan College’s Center for Community Engagement & Leadership Development (CCE) will be hosting Our Children, Our Future, a community meal and conversation, on March 15 at the Stockert Youth Center in Buckhannon.

According to West Virginia KIDS COUNT Data, 30.5% of Upshur County children are living at or below the federal poverty line.  All West Virginians – parents, children, elected leaders, policy advocates, service providers, religious leaders, labor and business leaders  – are invited to participate in the forum to discuss child poverty.  The forum will include a cooking demonstration and tasting followed by a conversation about child poverty initiatives at the state and local levels.

At this event, families and community participants will learn how to cook healthy meals on a budget with cooking stations setup by CJ Maggie’s restaurant.  Everyone will take home recipe cards and knowledge about how to cook their favorite sampled dishes.  Community members will ask legislators to make public commitments to the Our Children, Our Future policy platform, including issues like Medicaid Expansion and Healthy Food in schools.  This statewide platform was developed and voted on through a process of 47 community meetings and outreach to more than 250 stakeholders, including chambers of commerce, labor unions, legislators, faith leaders, and government agencies.

The Upshur County forum is one of 12 happening all around the state, each advancing the same statewide issues that aim to alleviate child poverty in our state.  Following the conversation around statewide legislative issues, everyone will be invited to participate in a conversation around initiatives to support children and families locally and whether more can be done in the future.

In Upshur County, this forum is being organized by WV Healthy Kids and Families, Mountain CAP of WV, Inc., Create Buckhannon, WVWC’s Center for Community Engagement & Leadership Development, New Community Church, Upshur Cooperative Parish House, Upshur County Family Resource Network, and many other organizations.

“There is no quick fix to our child poverty crisis, but by organizing our communities and presenting real solutions to our legislators, we can start to make a difference,” stated Katie Loudin, coordinator of outreach and leadership development.  “We invite everyone in the Upshur County community to join us in this campaign.”

For more information on Our Children, Our Future or the CCE, please contact Katie Loudin at 304-473-8165 or loudin_k@wvwc.edu or LeeAnn Brown at 304-473-8161 or brown_l@wvwc.edu.