Children and family organizations merge to create Our Future West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — In front of partners, public health officials and friends, a new organization was launched Wednesday in Charleston combining the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition and Our Children Our Future.

The singular organization is now being called Our Future West Virginia.

“This moment is allowing us to not only rebrand the organization, to give it a fresh new look and draw more people in, but to streamline the initiatives we have been working on under a title that is suitable and fits,” Jennifer Wells, the Executive Director of Our Future Our West Virginia told MetroNews.

Our Future West Virginia (OFWV) is a nonprofit organization based in Charleston with organizers working across the state on four main initiatives: economic justice, educational justice, racial justice, and civic engagement.

During the event on Wednesday at the West Virginia State University Economic Development Center on the city’s West Side, the organization introduced to the public the work that has started in the past couple of months. That includes housing justice, 2020 Census campaigns and parent engagement in education justice.

Jennifer Wells

“From now until the end of June is really building community leadership around census involvement,” Wells said of the 2020 Census project.

“Putting people in the community in a leadership role of informing their neighbors and their family of how important the Census is and actually taking the Census when it launches April 1.”

The organization handed out a nuisance ordinance informational sheet as they press for housing justice. OFWV defines a nuisance ordinance as a local regulation that attempts to pressure landlords to either surveillance, evict, or not renew leases of tenants that have been deemed as problematic by the city.

Ordinances of that nature have been passed at multiple locations around the state and Well said OFWV has a local campaign currently running in Morgantown.

“On a state level, we have created a nuisance ordinance tool kit to inform community leaders and elected officials, magistrates and others in the community about what nuisance ordinances are. And then in certain situations, how they can be detrimental to the most vulnerable people in the population,” she said.

During the event, Wells encouraged anyone that has a project they would like to start in their West Virginia community to go to to see how to get started. She said Wednesday was much more than a name, it was a call for more justice.

“The importance of today (Wednesday) is we are reintroducing ourselves to our West Virginia and we are asking them to take action,” Wells said. “Action can be as simple looking at our website and signing up to learn more about our organization and the work we are doing.

“There are several actions folks can take according to the issues.”

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