Jennifer Wells: The importance of embracing change (Opinion)

Jennifer Wells

Jennifer Wells

Jennifer Wells Jennifer Wells Jennifer Wells

The start of a new year brings fresh opportunity for the renewal of effort and purpose. While some may be fading on their New Year’s resolutions, the people of the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition are doubling down and welcoming the changes that come with a new year. We’re taking a bold new step in our work and future, beginning with a new look and name.

As executive director of this organization, I welcome the people of West Virginia to join us as we announce our newest change: We are Our Future West Virginia (OFWV). This new name signifies a transformation in our team, our work and how our larger West Virginia community can identify with us. Transformation does not mean we abandon our past. On the contrary, we are learning and building upon the incredible work of the teams, boards and community leaders that came before us.

So who are we now? We are still the organization that supports leaders on the ground in communities across the state. We are still the people that you can reach out to directly if there’s a problem in your community that you want to address. We support your leadership as you build your voice and work toward solutions at all levels. We fight with parents, youth leaders, the LGBTQ community, faith community and workers. We’re also one of the most ethnically and gender-diverse teams of organizers in the state.

We’re focused on movement building through grassroots organizing. At the root, that means we’re working alongside community members to create and execute plans that address issues of housing, child care, public education, discrimination, voter engagement and 2020 Census participation. Our focus issues were formed by engaged community members, but the work doesn’t stop there. We’re always expanding and working with new communities.

If you’d like to see improvement in your community regarding any of the issues stated above, or if you have a project you’d like to start in your community, visit to find an organizer in your area or one working on the issue that speaks to you. We are committed to West Virginians and community. We are talking and planning with 100+ community members each week. We want to talk to you, as well.

Change is necessary, though not always easy. It’s often more comfortable to continue with the same work, habits or routines. But welcoming change — whether it’s changing how you spend your free time or changing your priorities as an organization — will always lead to growth. If organizations that work to improve the lives of the people in our state do not continue to grow, evolve and center around people-driven movement work, they will never shatter the glass ceilings that inhibit the justice and equity West Virginians deserve. We at Our Future West Virginia are renewed with the hope and determination that together, we can build local power.

Jennifer Wells, of Huntington, is executive director of Our Future West Virginia.

Funerals for Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Antill, Norman - 6 p.m., Curry Funeral Home, Alum Creek.

Arbaugh, Jennings - Noon, Bartlett-Nichols Funeral Home, St. Albans.

Doss, Mark - 11 a.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.

Gillispie, Glen - 11 a.m., Chapman Funeral Home, Hurricane.

Hoover, Evelyn - 1. p.m., Cunningham-Parker-Johnson Funeral Home, Charleston.

Linton, Anna - 1 p.m., Pennington Smith Funeral Home, Gauley Bridge.

Mace, T. Opal - 2 p.m., Starcher Cemetery, Arnoldsburg.

Nelson, Kenneth - Noon, Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview.