Courtesy Photo Individuals participate in Refresh Appalachia, a program offered through Coalfield Development.
By Susan Hollis, Catholic Charities West Virginia Diocesan Director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development In the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) is housed within Catholic Charities West Virginia. With both organizations having missions to create positive change for people living in poverty, our work compliments each other and is motivated by love. CCHD, started by the USCCB in 1970, works with diverse organizations across the country that are addressing the root causes of poverty in innovative ways. Here in West Virginia, two organizations recently received funding from CCHD: Coalfield Development Corporation and Try This WV. Coalfield Development Corporation is a business incubator of social enterprises in Wayne County. Since 2010, they have been striving to employ would-be coalminers and other unemployed people in diversified work opportunities. Following the 33-6-3 business model, trainees work for 33 hours each week, are in the classroom for 6 hours, and receive professional and personal development for 3 hours each week. This model, developed by Coalfield, speaks to the fact that people sometimes need more than a job to keep themselves on track. Incentivizing education and personal development so concretely has led to very successful graduates of the trainee program. Try This West Virginia strives to get West Virginia off the top of the worst-health lists. They focus on healthy lifestyles and eating practices coupled with policy work to combat health issues including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. This statewide network of movers and shakers gives local communities the opportunity to learn best practices, create new initiatives, and infuse energy by funding mini-grants and hosting interactive workshops. Since 2014, Try This has awarded more than $780,000 to local West Virginia communities. They have funded 367 healthy-community projects, ranging from community and school gardens to active afterschool programs, to forming healthy community councils in city governments to supporting health-related policy statewide. Both of these organizations are doing vital work and creatively addressing issues that have been around for decades. Coalfield and Try This are working for the good of people in West Virginia. The Catholic Campaign for Human Development strives to eradicate poverty by removing barriers, supporting organizations that are made up of and for the poor, and educating all people on the realities of living in poverty. Learn more by visiting povertyusa.org or contacting Susan at firstname.lastname@example.org.