He spends about 40 hours a week volunteering at her school, he said, and is determined to continue.
"We're going to keep fighting for a better life for our kids no matter what it takes," he said.
The 18 initiatives are wide ranging and ambitious. One group hopes to improve the state foster care system. Another is pushing for an increase in the state minimum wage. Still another will fight for more substance abuse treatment.
Many of the proposals would come at significant cost.
Ted Boettner of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy is co-chair for an initiative to enact a state Earned Income Tax Credit. Such a federal benefit for low-income families has been in place for many years, and 24 states offer piggyback payments via income tax returns.
Boettner's group proposes that West Virginia offer families with annual income of up to $50,270 a credit equal to 20 percent of the federal benefit. More than 144,000 families would receive an average payment of $413.
Senate Minority Leader Mike Hall, R-Putnam, a member of the Joint Committee on Children and Families, noted during the meeting that the cost of such a state Earned Income Tax Credit has been estimated at $37 million a year.
Boettner's organization is among about 15 with seats on the steering committee for the Our Children Our Future movement, but dozens more have signed on to help.
The lead organizer is Stephen Smith, director of the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition. Smith, a graduate of Harvard University and the London School of Economics, is the author of "Stoking the Fire of Democracy: Our Generation's Introduction to Grassroots Organizing."
Next on the movement's timeline is a series of community meetings to be held around the state beginning this week and continuing through mid-November.
The movement logged several successes during the last legislative session, including reversal of a proposed rollback in state childcare benefits and enactment of a pilot program to provide free meals to public school students regardless of income. Organizers hope to build on that momentum.
On Dec. 13, all of the partners will vote on a 2014 platform. About five of the 18 initiatives will be chosen for specific pushes during the next regular session.
Wittberg and his crew at the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department hope to make the cut. They want the Legislature to pass a resolution instructing the state Department of Health and Human Resources to seek federal permission to strike soft drinks from the food stamp program in this state.
Other states have sought such permission with no success, Wittberg said in the workshop he led during the symposium.
However, those states based their requests on obesity rates, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the food stamp program, may have found it difficult to pin the blame for obesity solely on soft drinks.
Wittberg hopes the agency will be more receptive to the dental argument. Two much bigger states, New York and California, want similar permission, and he thinks a small state like West Virginia may hold appeal as a pilot effort.
"For West Virginia to take the lead on something like this would be really cool," he said. "There is nothing we could do to improve the oral health of West Virginians more than to say you can't buy pop with SNAP."
For more information on Our Children, Our Future, Stephen Smith may be contacted at ssm...@wvhealthykids.org.