West Virginia has historically been one of the poorest states in the nation, and has been particularly economically challenged in recent decades. Per the U.S.
Census, 17.5 % of West Virginian's fell below the poverty line in 2015. When looking at just children, the rate is higher, 24.6% of children. Effective strategies to address poverty in WV rest squarely with improving health, educational attainment, and innovation, per the West Virginia Center for Budget and Policy.
Work carried out by the VISTA will address health and education by supporting local programs that work to improve health and education outcomes in WV communities. It is challenging for communities without much staff and/or resources to find the data they need to support their applications for grant funding or even programmatic development. We will help these local organizations by building a database of local data available through a website portal and dashboard.
We have collected the data and are documenting it, but we would like to be able to share this data with other organizations so that we are not the only ones benefitting from it. Once we have the data and dashboard prepared, we will reach out to networks of non-profits and local governments to tell them about the availability. We also will develop a tutorial to show them how easy it will be to access the data that they need to strengthen their arguments, improve programs, and apply for more grant monies.
There are numerous organizations, agencies, and local and national foundations working to address poverty and health in West Virginia; however, most of them to do have the data analytic skills to find and analyze data. True grass roots efforts also require access to data that most small organizations and individuals do now know how to gather. The Department of Sociology and Anthropology is well suited to this task given their awareness of how systems and social contexts shape individual behaviors within communities.
Permits working at another job during off hours , Permits attendance at school during off hours . Service Areas :
Education , Health , Community and Economic Development . Skills :
General Skills , Team Work , Computers/Technology.