Voices of Everyday Leaders

by Bobbi Dempsey | May 1, 2020 6:06 pm

Our Future West Virginia: New Name, Same Passion for Supporting WV Residents

West Virginia residents might not yet recognize the name of an organization dedicated to improving the lives of people in their state, but they have likely seen the significant impact of their efforts over the years.

The entities previously known as The West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition and Our Children Our Future are now jointly known by one name: Our Future West Virginia.

“We wanted to consolidate work we were doing,” says Andrea Tyree, Communications Director and Digital Organizer at Our Future West Virginia. “We had different branches. Healthy Kids and Families was our main organization, and Our Children Our Future had been created to focus on policy work. It got confusing since both arms were doing similar work. As we transitioned away from policy work, it made sense to rebrand. This makes it more clear and easier to see our focus. We want to shift power, not just policy. Give power to real West Virginians.”

They unveiled their new name in February, and organization leaders say it better aligns with the scope of their mission today. “This had been in the works for a while,” says Tyree. “Our focus wasn’t just work around issues involving kids and families anymore. It had expanded to so much more. We had people doing some incredible work in many different areas that were all important.”

Their current focus is on initiating and supporting opportunities for public involvement related to several core issues: economic justice, educational justice, racial justice, and civic engagement. The high priority initiatives right now involve housing justice, parent engagement in education justice, and 2020 Census engagement.

The organization has a new name and a refined mission statement, but the passion for supporting state residents is still just as strong as ever. “We’re helping all West Virginians,” says Tyree. “We want to help impoverished people across the state, especially including disenfranchised people of color and the young people.”

The secret of OFWV’s success is the passion of not only its staff and organizers, but its army of everyday citizens who want to try and make the state (and the world) a better place. “We want to support those who want to make a difference in the state,” Tyree says. “It’s real grassroots stuff. We want people to come to us if they want to enact change—to come to us with ideas, and then we can support them and help make those things happen.”

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