The Sky’s the Limit in McDowell County
Posted by: Rachel Huff, WV FREE Education and Outreach Manager on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 12:00:00 am
“If the ‘Sky is the Limit’ how would you improve health for your peers and community?” –This is the question WV FREE asked groups of young people across West Virginia. From building community centers with basketball gyms to cooking lessons to more comprehensive health education taught in schools, youth have been sharing their thoughts, goals, and dreams with us.
An exceptional group of young people in McDowell County took this training to a new level, transforming their ideas into reality.
With the help of stellar parents, grandparents, and community members, as well as the support of an array of coalition partners, WV FREE and youth from McDowell County have wrapped-up their inaugural season of the “Sky’s the Limit” youth summer program in Keystone, WV. The “Sky’s the Limit” summer program is focused on developing leadership and decision-making skills, healthy relationships and lifestyles, and youth who are dedicated to civic engagement. The program was open to all youth in the area who wanted to participate.
The program was built around the youth’s ideas on how they would improve the overall health of their peers and community, and what they were interested in learning about. The program included lessons on communication skills, self-esteem, entrepreneurship, writing, internet safety, and risk reduction, as well as physical activities like karate, zumba, and sports in the park. Youth were also given the opportunity to learn about filmmaking skills and create their own video focusing on community strengths and favorite areas and people in McDowell County. Amongst the favorite activities was the creation of a “pizza” garden, the launching and monitoring of a weather balloon, and the final field trip to Charleston where youth met with civic leaders, toured the State Capitol, and experienced the wonders of the Clay Center Museum for the Arts & Sciences.
The “Sky’s the Limit” program has long term goals of creating an environment that fosters healthy lifestyles and relationships, as well as sustainable opportunities for youth. The program grows out of WV FREE’s reproductive justice framework that is founded upon the notion that we should actively work toward a world in which all people have the education, opportunities, economic and political power and self-determination to make healthy decisions for themselves and their future.
We are already looking forward to next summer’s program and would like to thank the many partners who helped make it such a success: WV State University Extension Office, Case WV, Hollow Film Project, Clay Center Museum for the Arts & Sciences, WV Women’s Commission, WV Healthy Kids & Families Coalition, Green’s Feed & Seed, Kroger, WV Secretary of State’s Office, Delegate Clif Moore, Northfork United Methodist Church, the cities of Keystone & Northfork, Mary Lewis, Heide Aungst, Dr. Floyd Jones, and Rick Wilson.
To learn more about the “Sky’s the Limit” summer program please contact me at Rachel@wvfree.org or 304.342.9188.