WV Healthy Kids and Families Coalition

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WVHKFC
Essay Contest

Read the Press Release Concerning
Essay Contest



(Click on the winner's name to read his or her essay)

$100 Winners

Elementary School
 
Nicholas Koenig
Kanawha City Elementary

Pamela Nestor
Spanishburg Elementary
Logan Campbell
Ellenboro Elementary
Middle School Brianna Elise Mayo
South Middle School

Lindsay Gallegly
Cheat Lake Middle School
Bobby Fetty
Dunbar Middle School

Leanne Anderson
Geary Middle School
High School
 

Ellen Freeman
Wheeling Park High School

Whitney Hacker-Minigh 
Gilmer County High School

Justin Harvey
James Monroe High School

$10 Target Gift Card Winners

Elementary School
 
Nicole Bailey
Lashmeet/Matoaka

Hannah Osborne
Wayne Elementary

Shelby Montgomery
Geary Elementary Middle School
Skylar Kipps
Coal City Elementary

Senaia Harris
Kanawha City Elementary

Mac Roberts
New Martinsville Elementary School
Middle School Jade Cullers
Morefield Middle School

Emily Pedigo
Spanishburg Middle School

Ethan Glover
Hamlin PreK-8

Mac Roberts
New Martinsville School
Alexis Kimbrough
Dunbar Middle School

Ashley Moore
South Middle School

Annamariah Hopkins
Jackson Junior High School
High School
 

Melissa Hope Cole
Gilmer County High School

Lauren Dittebrand
Capital High School

Raquel Fagundo
Wheeling Park High School

Nainika Nanda
Woodrow Wilson High School

Jennifer Thompson
Capitol High School

Tyler Chiplinski
Wheeling Park High School

Samantha Smith
Parkersburg High School

Nick Koenig
Kanawha City Elementary
Kanawha County

West Virginia would be a great place to be a kid if you had one or two hours of gym every day. It would be a nice place to do activities such as rock climbing, baseball, and football. If we had a more physical playtime we would be healthier because our bodies would be more fit. A lot of exercise will help you with your problems. After I exercise I pay more attention to my teacher in school. Other ways to exercise in our state include mountain climbing, kayaking, and a swimming in lakes. Other ways to stay healthy are to not do drugs, smoke, or drink alcohol. Eat healthy foods like apples, peaches, pears, plums, and other nutritious foods. Hydrogenation and foods are bad because they are unhealthy. Washing your hands is important because you will not spread your germs. Go to the doctor for a yearly checkup so you don’t get sick.  West Virginia is one of the best states to do rock climbing and kayaking. A lot of people travel from far away to do skiing in Beckley.  West Virginia is the best state to live in and I'm proud to be a mountaineer.

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Pamela Nestor
Spanishburg Elementary
Mercer County

West Virginia would be the greatest place to be a kid if schools would have more recess since recess is being cut short or even disappearing! Recess is an important part in kids’ lives, the reason being is if us kids don’t get enough exercise we could grow up overweight we could be teased and made fun of which would make us grow up not wanting to go to school. If we don’t want to go to school we might not get enough education and that would lead to getting bad grades and that could lead to getting held back which could lead to more to teasing. Kids need exercise. It’s a necessary thing in our lives. I did not write this to win. I wrote this because it should be that way!

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Logan Campbell
Ellenboro Elementary
Ritchie County

West Virginia would be the greatest place to be a kid if people were nicer to others. If people would try to keep it cleaner and neater, everyone would see how pretty the state is. I love West Virginia. It is already a great place to live. I feel safe in West Virginia because not so many people live here. If people respected one another and people could be more kind. Everybody should take turns everywhere picking up trash and litter around homes, roads, public areas, lakes, anyplace. And then stop littering. Then it would be healthy for the animals, people and fish. I think West Virginia is the best place to grow up I do not want to grow up anyplace else because I think lots of people are already working to keep West Virginia healthy and also safe and that makes me very happy.

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Leanne Anderson
Geary Elementary
Roane County

West Virginia would be the greatest place to be a kid if we knew we could always be able to feel secure about three important issues. First of all, it would be great if we wouldn’t have to worry about our parents jobs. They would make enough money to allow us to have the necessities we need such as clean water, three nutritious meals a day, and clean clothes, but our parents not having to work two jobs to achieve this. I want them to be able to spend time with me not to work all the time just to make ends meet.
Second of all, that West Virginia children would not have to worry about our education. We would be able to receive quality education from qualified teachers all the way from kindergarden through 12th grade. No matter what our parents income is, we would just have to worry about getting good grades so we can get into college, not if we have enough for it. Also, for us to know we have good jobs to go to after our education is done.
Last, but not least it would be a great if we would not have to worry about losing our state’s. beauty. That our mountain peaks would always stand tall and be visible. Also, our streams and Rivers will always stay clean. If we had this to depend on I think West Virginia would be on top of the list for the greatest place for kids. I know it would be on the top of mine.

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Ellen Freeman
Wheeling Park High School
Ohio County

West Virginia would be the greatest place to be a kid if we could to make it last longer. Our youth grows up faster each year due to technology and its need for speed. Doctor Bob Moorehead once said that society has added years to life, but not life to those years. I could not agree more. The children of our state have but one chance to live a carefree, leisurely life. We rush of them with school at younger ages, competitive sports teams, and extra curriculars. In moderation, these time consuming activities inspire and encourage success, but do we know our limits?
Kids in West Virginia have the vast advantage of our outdoors. We are surrounded by the beauty of nature throughout the state and while they are still kids, our emphasis should not only be placed towards education, but also to the beauty of mountains and wildlife. To me, West Virginia is one of the most beautiful states and I wish I would have taken more advantage of all it has to offer

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Whitney Hacker-Minigh
Gilmer County High School
Gilmer County

West Virginia would be the greatest place to be a kid if there were adequate job opportunities for our youth. West Virginia has outstanding colleges and universities for higher and vocational education, but what comes after graduation?
West Virginia is bursting with small welcoming towns; many families would love to make West Virginia their home state, but cannot because of the lack of job opportunities. West Virginia is a wonderful place to be raised. I wake up every morning with no fear of going to school. West Virginia is rich with friendly faces, but our graduating students are forced to depart to different locations of the country after graduating. These students do not want to leave the “security” of West Virginia, but are compelled to go elsewhere to make better lives for themselves as well as their family.
I’ve loved every aspect of being raised in a rural west Virginia and would have it no other way. I live in a beautiful state full of beautiful people. My only fear is what will happen after I complete my education. “Will West Virginia have a job opportunity for me?”, or “will I have to do what so many have done and leave my home state?” I know these students would return home to the beautiful foothills of the Appalachians with smiling faces if at all possible. Therefore, I do not ask for a new mall, arcade, or amusement park, but I ask for a state willing to go the distance for the next generation.

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Justin Harvey
James Monroe High School
Monroe County

West Virginia would be the greatest place to be a kid if schools didn’t focus on getting us ready for college, but focused more on getting us ready for our lives ahead. A lot of our childhood is spent in school, so school should be the place to ready us for what is to come.
It would be great if we were given a good balance of physical, social, and educational time at school. Many kids in West Virginia are suffering from obesity due to lack of exercise. Much of this comes from sitting in a desk in class for seven hours a day. During that time, your brain may be working hard but your muscles aren’t.
Another thing that a kid should have is social time. Many kids live far from town, so the only place for kids to be socially active is at school. It is fun to hang out in the classroom, but it can benefit us in many other ways as well. Many kids’ futures consist of working well with other people and there is no better way to obtain the skill than socializing at a young age.
For students to prepare for their future, schools should help them experiment and reach their goals. Physical activity at school will be fun and give us a healthy start to our life. It would also be great for kids to be experienced with others and social time would help develop the skills. West Virginia is a great place that I have grown to love and all kids should be given a fun running start to their future!

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Brianna Mayo
South Middle School
Monongalia County

West Virginia would be the greatest place to be a kid if there were more volunteer programs. This would be good because if there were more programs, children would have a chance to help out and explore the context of their community. Additionally, they would be encouraged to get involved in other more complex and widespread programs and help more than just our local community, but the entire state of West Virginia as well.
West Virginia would also be greater if we found another way to get rid of waste other than to dump it in our water, and we should eliminate trash cans altogether. There should only be recycle bins. Then, the things that can’t be of reused are burned and used as natural resources so that children can have clean air and water.
In addition, I think that schools should serve less salty foods and foods that promote high cholesterol and cause HDL levels to skyrocket. I also think schools should provide vegetarian choices and that candy should not be distributed in schools. Additionally, I think that the cost of healthy and unhealthy foods should be equivalently low so that kids will be encouraged to buy and eat foods that are healthy. These things would prevent obesity in children and reduce the occurrence of heart failure.
In addition, I believe that all schools should enforce code of conduct laws a lot better, because explicit content sometimes is displayed two young children, and is promoting the idea that violence and inappropriate contact with one’s peers is acceptable.
In conclusion, I believe that these ideas would make West Virginia and even greater place for children to grow up healthy and happy because they promote better nutritional values, citizenship, responsibility, and education which leads to a brighter future generation and a stronger West Virginia.

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Bobby Fetty
Dunbar Middle School
Marion County

West Virginia would be the greatest place to be a kid if all the kids in our state could afford health care. There are many childhood diseases that are preventable if families can afford to take their kids to the doctor. This would make our state a much healthier place for kids to live. Having better facilities for educating kids would also make West Virginia the greatest place for kids to live. Our schools need to be modernized or updated to meet the needs of kids today; not only the size to conquer the overcrowding issue that makes learning more difficult but also providing hand sanitizer outside each classroom door to help reduce absences due to illness, which in turn would promote learning. A final thought that I would like to mention is that of recreational facilities for kids of West Virginia. There needs to be more recreational facilities where kids can go to have fun and enjoy themselves during their “free time,” but at the same time feel safe. All kids in West Virginia deserve these things – affordable health care, better schools, and safe and secure recreational facilities – and that would make West Virginia the greatest place to be a kid.

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Lindsay Gallegly
Cheat Lake Middle School
Monongalia County

West Virginia would be the greatest place to be a kid if pollution wasn’t as bad. Currently, one out of every four kids have asthma. This problem could be seriously reduced by cleaning up our environment. Although mining is our biggest industry, steps of precaution need to be made. At the power plants, very serious measures need to be taken before releasing things into the air. Our air quality is already at a critical level but more power plants have been authorized to go into production. As you can see, the money these plants produce has come before the children’s health.
Another thing that would make West Virginia more beneficial to children would be the addition of recreational areas. The addition of swing sets and jungle gyms would be a great place for kids to burn off energy. Also, these parks would help in trying to reduce the ever increasing problem with child obesity.
As you can see, a few simple precautions could be taken that would greatly improve our health and allow us to have more fun. So what will you choose, health or wealth? It’s your choice.

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Melissa Hope Cole
Gilmer County High School
Gilmer County

West Virginia has been the greatest place to be a kid because being surrounded by: honest, hard-working people, rolling mountain tops, and a great education have molded me into the appreciate it if, hard-working, ambitious person I am today. I wouldn’t change it for anything.
I have lived in a small college town in rural, central West Virginia my whole life. From a very early age everyone around me has cultivated me to understand and appreciate the feeling of a job well done. I have also instilled in me off the value of being an honest person no matter where I go or what I do. These are qualities that you don’t always find in people from other parts of the country.
The rolling mountains that I call home have taught me to appreciate the beauty of the landscape. This great state has shown me the value of the land through our natural resources. I believe that the scenic beauty of West Virginia is one of the most memorable things about growing up here.
When people think about West Virginia they probably don’t think about education. I know differently. The most important things about West Virginia are the safety of our schools and the value of education. I never wake-up scared to go to school and in my school not a day goes by without teachers pushing the value of education for everyone.

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Lauren Dittebrand
Capital High School
Kanawha County

West Virginia would be the greatest place to be a kid if it could accomplish three goals: safer neighborhoods, increased healthcare for all, and allow more recreational activities and facilities that we could all enjoy. Let’s face it, the world today is not as safe as we would like, so trying to keep our neighborhoods safer would only help to make things better. For example, no one should feel unsafe about walking the streets of Charleston. In order to ensure this, things like lighting, neighborhood watches, and law enforcement in the community should be increased. In addition, West Virginia’s healthcare should be available to lower social economic groups. The issue is that no matter who you are, any kind of healthcare is expensive. For example, those who are of lower class often give up their healthcare in order to pay for other necessities like eating or electricity. No one should be denied decent healthcare based on social status. This is why since cessation programs, free clinics, and other healthcare centers should be opened to better accommodate everyone’s needs. One final goal to make West Virginia more enjoyable would be to provide more accessible facilities for teens. In my opinion, Charleston is small, a little too small and progress is a good thing. These days there is not a lot to do in Charleston, and I can speak from personal experience. In other states there are always raging activities for teens, but here, it is not the same. Building things like museums, music halls, teen clubs, sports complexes, and even an amusement park would certainly give us somewhere to go and keep us off the streets. All of these changes would not only make West Virginia a more enjoyable, but more “wild and wonderful” as well. These would benefit not only adults, but teens as well, who are the future of our great state

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Raquel Fagundo
Wheeling Park High School
Ohio County

West Virginia would be the greatest place to be a kid if we changed the eating habits of our state. Everywhere you look there are people, both young and old, who are overweight or obese. West Virginia has one of the highest obesity rates in the country and I think that if you want to have a better better future for the state, there needs to be people in the future.
Our eating habits grow progressively worse every year. I know that the state has begun to take measures to make our schools healthier by requiring physical education and banning the sales of soda and junk food within the schools. However, I think you should have started with the school distributed food.
The first thing that needs to be changed is the meat grade. That meat that is one of the lowest grades and could very possibly contain E. coli. The chicken that the schools distribute could possibly contain salmonella. Both E. coli and salmonella can cause very serious illnesses that could lead to death. I’m not asking for gourmet meals at lunch. I just don’t want children getting sick from food that the state approves. Not only does the child gets sick, but it makes the decisions of the state look bad.
I know the obesity issue has been a big problem lately. I know that the government has been trying to solve the problem. The resolution needs to start in the school. If they are not learning healthy eating habits at home, they should learn them where they learn everything else: at school. By helping the children learn to eat right, we will be saving lives of their lives in the future and our population.

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Nainka Nanda
Woodrow Wilson High School
Raleigh County

West Virginia would be the greatest placed to be a kid if it had more ways to teach children about the state’s history, had more sources of entertainment, and had more environmentally friendly industries. West Virginia is a wonderful place to raise children. It is low on crime, low on pollution, and children can have much exposure to wilderness and natural resources. Even though West Virginia is a great place to raise children, it can still improve.
First, West Virginia should educate children more, about the state’s history. West Virginia has an extremely rich hertitage, but sadly many people don’t know much about it. The board of education should provide more field trips to historical monuments and natural wonders, such as the arsenal at Harper’s Ferry and Seneca Caverns. West Virginia should also build more museums and monuments to recognize historical events. Also, they can show movies in schools that teach about the history of the state. By having more museums and field trips, children will know more about the state and how much it has gone through to become what it is today.
Next, West Virginia should have more sources of entertainment. West Virginia can build an amusement park that is unique, because it incorporates the heritage and industries of the state, in the rides and attractions. Also, we can try to promote and announce more new devices that are popular with children, like the Nintendo Wii. Instead of people going to other states to get these new devices, people from other states will be coming here
Last, West Virginia should have more environmentally friendly industries. West Virginia has so much wilderness and natural beauty and we need to do whatever we can to preserve it. Having more industries, such as computers, will make the state more high tech and environmentally friendly this will cause people to want to remain in West Virginia after completing their education and raise their children here.
West Virginia has so much to offer children. The best way to make people want to raise children here is to take advantage of all these wonderful resources. I believe that if we take advantage of all these resources, West Virginia could be the greatest place for a kid to grow up healthy and happy.

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Jennifer Thompson
Capital High School
Kanawha County

West Virginia would be the greatest place to be a kid if we had smaller schools that so that teachers would be able to spend personal time with each student to get to know them and to be sure they understood what is being taught. I attended Valley Grove Elementary School, which was merged with Ruffner Elementary School one year after I entered middle school. My fourth grade class had less than fifteen students, and that was great! Our teacher was able to control the classroom and spend more time teaching than disciplining unruly students. Truthfully, I feel that I have learned more in one year of elementary school than I have learned throughout the middle school and high school.

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Tyler Chiplinski
Wheeling Park High School
Ohio County

West Virginia would be the greatest place to be a kid if West Virginia put more emphasis on crime control, reducing the price of college, and giving more money to the local community. These are all factors I feel could be improved.
In this time period you turn on the news and all you hear about is bad stuff happening all over the world. I feel West Virginia could start small by making life safer for children and teenagers. West Virginia could increase the size of police forces and it also would help if they increase the wages of the officers too. The state could setup classes for parents and children that were free, and talk to them about how to be safe in their neighborhood.
I feel a lot of students are unhappy about West Virginia because the educational opportunity isn’t there for everyone. College opportunity is not equal. If we lowered the price of college and made it a little bit easier for in state students to get in then West Virginia would keep more students in the state.
Some communities are in real need with poverty stricken children. Just a little bit of money could help them. When the money is given it always isn’t enough. Also it always isn’t used properly I feel that West Virginia can work on that to better communities.
These are just a few examples of ways to make kids happier by making them safer, smarter, and more well off this will prepare them for the future. If we start now West Virginia could be the ideal place for children.

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Samantha Smith
Parkersburg High School
Wood County

West Virginia would be the greatest place to be a kid if you wouldn’t ever have to worry about anything. The kids shouldn’t have to worry about things and be under stress early in his/her life, because it causes too much pressure. A kid can’t handle the pressure of being an adult.
In today’s society people expect way too much out of kids. A kid should be able to grow up just being a kid, and not have to deal with the pressures of being an adult early in life. Pressure and stress can drive a kid to suicide. So many kids now days commit suicide because they think life is just too hard to deal with. Life is worth living, you can move past those rough spots. There will be a future when you grow up in West Virginia.
West Virginia should help kids deal with the pressures of life. West Virginia should help kids get through school and college, help them with the hardships of growing up. Their main for focus should be their education and being a kid. West Virginia would be the greatest place to be a kid if you didn’t have to worry about anything except for your education and just being a kid.

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Mac Roberts
New Martinsville School
Wetzel

West Virginia would be the greatest place to be a kid if the state had more attractions. A science center would be great. Families and school groups could go and do hands on activities. We could learn about our environment in West Virginia and how to conserve our natural resources. There could be displays of how glass is made. We could learn how the sound barrier was broken by a native West Virginian. They could have the interactive displays showing how the locks and dams on the Ohio river works. They could show how cold is mined. We could learn about our fossil fuels. They could turn the old West Virginia penitentiary into a history museum. I think a history museum would be an asset to the state. I have been to history museums in other states that have been really interesting. The museum could have reenactments of the Civil War and other historical events. There could be displays showing many of the industries that helped to support West Virginians such as the Marx toy factory, glass industries, steel plants, coal, chemical plants, railroads. The last thing I can think of would make West Virginia a great place to be a kid would be an amusement park. The amusement park would have lots of cool rides and a fantastic water part. And outlet shopping malls for my mom and sister to shop at would be great. Some very nice national chain hotels and restaurants would be needed. Maybe even a sports museum showcasing our famous athletes could be added. West Virginia could also use some new roads to make travel faster and safer so that my family and other families wouldn’t have to travel long distances to have a summer vacation West Virginia would be a great place for kids if there were more fun and learning for kids and gambling places for adults.

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Senaia Harris
Kanawha City Elementary
Kanawha County

West Virginia would be the greatest place for kids if we had better health care. It’s common for kids under the age of eight-teen to die because of poor health care. I think some ways that we can fix this problem is by getting better dental care, more pediatricians, and longer gym classes at school.
Some other things we can do is start more health clubs that show us kids how to eat right, exercise properly, and just stay healthy. I also think that the health clubs should be affordable, so that more children can join, and with some adult help West Virginia can become one of the healthiest places in America. That’s how I think West Virginia could be one of the greatest places for kids.

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Skylar Kipps
Coal City Elementary
Raleigh County

West Virginia would be the greatest place to be a kid if our state had better health care system. This will give us better doctors who will take care of people the way they should be. In addition, we need to have a better garbage disposal system. Some people who smoke cigarettes do not realize what they’re doing to our state. They are making our state of horrible and ugly just because they’re throwing their cigarettes on the ground. Next, there should be good menus at schools that include more fruits and vegetables. These products are very important for the human body. Finally, I would invite industries to come into the state. That could raise paydays for the people we have in this state. The jobs should pay a higher amount of money so families can survive. Our state should do all of this because when we grow up we need of good health care system, a nice garbage disposal system, higher paydays so families can survive, and we need a good meals for good health. If West Virginia wants to shine then these things need to happen. I hope you take my letter serious because my future is important.

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Shelby Montgomery
Geary Elementary Middle School
Roane County

West Virginia is already a wonderful, peaceful, and cozy place to live. It has an interesting history and fine schools. But no one and nothings perfect. I have some ideas that may or may not make West Virginia a better place for us kids and the adults to live and grow old. One of the ideas is to conduct a community building for kids. This would be a good idea because it would give kids something to do. It would help them stay out of trouble and that would make our community a better place to live. It would also make it a lot safer.
My second idea is educational and fun. It is more camps. This would include history, math, English, science. There could also be sports, band, or classes to get us ready for the future and college. Sports is a big one because it could make this more healthy. This is a good idea because one day one of us kids is going to take your job.
Well, thanks for listening you don’t have to pick me just take some of my ideas into consideration.

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Hannah Osborne
Wayne Elementary
Wayne County

West Virginia would be the greatest place to be a kid if there were more parks and playgrounds so the kids can get together to play games (like softball, baseball, or basketball). Some kids don’t have the opportunity to get involved with sports.
Another reason is because people need places to get away from home and get out and about. So they can see the beautiful colors of the leaves on trees in the fall. Smell the new grass in spring. Watch the snow fall during winter. So I think we need more parks so people can see all the season’s changing.
That’s why I think we need more parks and playgrounds.

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Nicole Bailey
Lasmeet/Matoaka School
Mercer County

West Virginia would be the greatest place to be a kid if all West Virginia children were safe and protected at home and school. Children should never have to worry about being victims of abuse from a teacher, parent, other student or stranger. We should be able to play in our own yards or go to the park and not be afraid that someone could come along and take us from our friends and family. No kid should ever have to worry about someone touching them when they don’t want them to. Kids should be able to go to school and not have to worry about another student getting angry and bringing a gun to school. We are children and we need to be safe when we are playing and when we are learning.

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Jade Cullers
Moorefield Middle School
Hardy County

West Virginia would be the greatest place to be a kid if there were more opportunities for children to grow. West Virginia is a rural state with lots of small towns. Children from small towns have the advantages of feeling safe and with children living in small communities they can help take care of one another.
The state of West Virginia is a great place to live, but there are many children who are suffering from poverty. Children from poverty have many disadvantages. Some of their disadvantages are neglect, such as no clothing, poor supply of food and their parents are normally not educated themselves to help their children. I think WV should strive harder to help children that are less fortunate.
Many children in WV are not fortunate enough to have good health care. If children don’t have health care then there are many things that can go wrong, such as sickness, and their teeth become rotten, which causes them to become very ill. I truly believe that they should provide health care to all children. If they would give children health care, the children would be happier and have a better chance to get out to enjoy the world and participate in many activities.
I think children in WV have a good education. I also think that us being from a small state, we don’t have the advantage is that the larger states have. West Virginia has a strategic of teachers and staff and, to help educate our children.
West Virginia is truly a great state to live in. We just need to give those that are less fortunate a chance for a new beginning.

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Emily Pedigo
Spanishburg School
Mercer County

West Virginia would be the greatest place to be a kid if there was better public transportation, sidewalks everywhere, and more job opportunities for teenagers.
First, better public transportation should be a top priority. There are very few areas and here in the country where one could catch a bus to go to their desired destination. I just believe that we need better shuttle services, not only here in the Beckley and Princeton town areas. We kids that live out in the boonies are basically isolated. But I don’t suppose that there that that can be helped much, due to the rural circumstances.
Secondly, I feel there aren’t enough sidewalks bordering our public streets. It would be safer for kids to get around, not mentioning the older population who can’t hurriedly get out of the way and who accidentally get hit. During the bus safety program that was recently held at our school, the bus driver even mentioned how hard it was to see people on the side of the road early in the mornings.
Thirdly, I would love to see more job opportunities for young teenagers. I feel like fourteen is a proper age for someone to begin a job, and I don’t mean babysitting. I feel my responsibility is being wasted. Also, if kids are preoccupied with being cool and having a job with money; then they may not try to be “cool” in other ways such as doing drugs
In conclusion, I think that West Virginia would be a more improved place for kids to grow up if there was better transportation, more sidewalks, and job opportunities for teens.

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Ethan Glover
Hamlin Pre-K – 8th
Lincoln County

I’m writing to tell you what I think would help make West Virginia’s children happier and healthier.
First, I think that all counties in West Virginia should have access to funds to build recreational centers which would include basketball courts, swimming pools, computer labs, and weight rooms, along with other educational and recreational activities. Use of these centers should be made available to all children and families in the county. This would give children something to do and provide an alternative to drugs, gangs, and other problems facing West Virginia’s children. I understand that some larger counties already have recreational centers, but children in rural counties, such as Lincoln County, where I live, do not always have transportation or funds to travel the distance to the centers.
Secondly, I feel that all schools in West Virginia should have the technology to provide their own school based television news channel, which would provide information on all school related and community activities, which might interest the students. The programs could be produced by students, and provide guidelines on healthy lifestyles, among other things.
West Virginia is filled with children who just need to opportunity to reach their full potential, and for those of us who live in isolated, rural areas, this is hard to do, because we do not have access to the things that we need. Providing recreational centers and technology to these were rule areas can help some to reach their dreams, whether it is and sports, broadcasting, or some other field.
Thank you for your time and consideration.

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Alexis Kimbrough
Dunbar Middle School
Marion County

West Virginia would be the greatest place to be a kid if all of the adults around us would work together. The adults are the educators, parents, leaders and our protectors. If we see that they’re not allowing race, culture and religion to affect their attitude towards others, then we (the children) will have one less thing to divide us. Seeing the adults working together will make the children become one unstoppable force.
Drugs are a big problem and if our parents and other grownups did not sell or use drugs, including cigarettes, then children would not even have to think about those things. Feeling safe is one of the biggest problems kids have. We are always worried about someone hurting us so we don’t even meet new people. If all of the adults work together in love we would feel safe all the time. I guess the point I want to make is West Virginia is the most perfect place to live. It is a beautiful and quiet. Kids have so many adventures they can go on because there’s so much beautiful land to cover. However, if all of the adults would be our foundation, strong and together, we (the children) could just the kids that would make West Virginia the greatest place to live .

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Annamariah Hopkins
Jackson Junior High School
Wood County

West Virginia would be the greatest place to be a kid if everyone was able to participate in the many opportunities afforded to emerging leaders of medicine, business, the arts, sports, and academics. West Virginia has a rich history of being a champion for equal rights in the attainment of healthful living and long-term happiness, from the Underground Railroad to modern day coal mining reforms. West Virginians are passionate about their state, the kind of passion derived from hard work and making do with what they had. Generations believe in this philosophy of struggle, determination, and survival.
West Virginia is a state with raw talent. Its youth are among the best and brightest in the nation. They are our future in medicine, science, and business. But how many were born privilege? It’s expensive to participate in many of the opportunities our kids qualify for. How will they compete on a national level? Many find the doors closed. As a result, the communities are responsible to assist kids in fund-raising, which places a financial burden on local businesses and homeowners.
West Virginia would be the greatest place to be a kid if a nonprofit organization was established to help its youngest citizens compete with kids from all over the United States. Our future depends on being able to continue the tradition of equal rights in the attainment of healthful living and long term happiness. Let’s level the playing field. Let’s give the kids of West Virginia a voice. If West Virginia is truly "Open for Business", let's expand the theme to include kids…West Virginia’s raw talent…West Virginia’s natural resources…and West Virginia’s future.

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Ashley Moore
South Middle School
Monongalia County

West Virginia would be the greatest place to be a kid if the government paid for children’s supplies for school related activities. This would make children happy because some of them cannot afford the things needed, but they want to do the activity. Paying for the supplies would support children and encourage them to be in activities. Of course to be in a school related group they would have to keep their grades up. Many children would be happy to finally be a part of a group.
West Virginia would be the greatest place for kids if they all had families. There should be more we can do for kids who don’t have families. We should start a program that pairs kids up with families for the holidays. That way they would not have to spend the holidays alone. There should be a law making parents take their kids for three doctor and dentist checkups a year. Kids shouldn’t have to miss school because they’re sick. There should be more we can do for the children who have no doctor. Like the homeless children for instance. All children should have people around them that care and love them.
If West Virginia were to be the greatest place for a child to grow up healthy and happy changes would have to be made. Students need school supplies, the homeless programs would need improvement, and more caring adults need to get involved. If these changes can be made, West Virginia can certainly be named the greatest place for a child to grow up healthy and happy.

 


 

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