‘Our Children, Our Future’ to meet in Point

Agnes Hapka

November 5, 2013

POINT PLEASANT — Organizers of an upcoming community meeting in Point Pleasant aim to zero in on problems related to regional child poverty, and anyone who has an interest in the matter is encouraged to attend.

The “Our Children, Our Future” campaign is a statewide coalition of more than 160 community action groups, and this is one of more than 50 such meetings taking place around West Virginia. The initiative targets child poverty, and the community issues that arise as a result.

The meeting will be from 1-3 p.m., Wednesday, November 13, at Trinity United Methodist Church in Point Pleasant, and organizers hope to hear from a broad spectrum of voices — families, groups, and community leaders — and focus on concrete action rather than just talk.

Bree Ramey of Mountain State Healthy Families is organizing the meeting through Stephen Smith of West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition. Smith will attend local meetings and hear concerns and gather information for state level action.

Ramey said that Smith’s major goal with “Our Children, Our Future” has been to get a platform together of issues that affect children, and present those issues to the state senate. Last spring when the child nutrition- and education-related program Head Start was threatened, Smith and the initiative found success at the senate.

“When Head Start and childcare were going to get cut, that was one of their pushes, and the budget didn’t end up getting cut in those areas,” said Ramey.

“This year they’re working on a variety of issues,” Ramey added. “They had their preliminary meeting, a policy symposium, here, which [Mountain State Healthy Families] attended and we were able to tell them about things of local importance, which were mostly in line with the state as a whole.”

Ramey said that county commissioners and other community leaders, including delegate Jim Butler, attended the symposium.

“A lot of them felt that community revitalization was really important,” noted Ramey.

According to an article by Stephen Smith, “thirty percent of West Virginia children under six years of age live in poverty. The state also has the highest rate of 16-24 year-olds who are neither in school, nor in the labor force.”

“Everything focuses on the campaign to end child poverty,” Ramey added.

To RSVP for the meeting, or for more information, call Mountain State Healthy Families at (304) 857-0020.