About

Focusing on Equity

History

For the past 15 years, Southwest Missouri has had an active and engaged community coalition. Originally under the banner of Barry County Connections, with the group focusing on collaboration and addressing community needs.

In 2013, the area was awarded one of 13 grants through Missouri Foundation for Health, to utilized community engagement and resources to reduce childhood obesity, while creating a community culture of health. This community engagement brought numerous community members, businesses, and leaders to appreciate the resources within Southwest Missouri, while shifting the community priorities to create a more active and healthy environment.

As the engagement from business, health care providers, and community members grew, so did the opportunities. Expanding from private funding, through a partnership with CoxHealth, we were one of 10 communities to work with the Environmental Protection Agency on the Healthy Places, for Healthy People project. This extensive collaboration brought numerous federal agencies to the Monett community to leverage the community focus on health to expand economic development, specifically in the downtown corridor. This partnership has grown and the MO SWITCH co-founders have presented with the EPA at numerous national conferences.

During the fall of 2018, Barry County Connections Coalition officially converted to Missouri Southwest Initiative to Change Health, a non-profit 501(c)3. This formal change allows for the organization to continue to engage members, community partners, businesses, and leaders, with the ability to apply for grants and focus on specific community needs.

As of 2019, MO SWITCH is also actively working with regional communities to help expand the culture of health and equity throughout Southwest Missouri.

Get in touch

MO SWITCH wants to help.

Book an appointment ▸

Fundraising

MO SWITCH always appreciates community support to expand our reach an efforts.

We accept donations through Kindest, accepting all major credit cards.

Click here to Donate

Shawn Hayden

Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Screen Shot 2019-09-15 at 12.42.27 PM.png

Shawn Hayden is co-founder and CEO of the Missouri Southwest Initiative to Change Health (MO SWITCH). Shawn is also a Project Coordinator II with CoxHealth. Shawn’s focus is on engaging community partners, creating functioning coalitions, facilitating policy discussions, and creating sustainable programming solutions in community health and healthcare equity. At CoxHealth, he has utilized and received more than $1.3 million in state and federal grant funding to combat childhood obesity in Southwest Missouri, while creating a coalition of community partners to examine policies and programming opportunities for increasing physical activity, improving healthy and local eating options, and engaging health care providers in their communities. Shawn is also a grant manager with Clark Community Mental Health Center. While working with Clark Community Mental Health, Shawn has received over $300,000 in grant funding to coordinate care for the most at-risk populations within the Clark service area. Shawn has extensive work with state and federal partners on incorporating policies to not only better the health of communities, but also the economy to ensure sustainability.

Education

AT Still University
Doctorate of Health Education, 2021

Missouri State University
M.S., Health Promotion and Wellness Management, 2011

Drury University
B.A., Chemistry and Biology, 2009

Activities & Affiliations

  • Monett Area Community Foundation, Vice President

  • Monett Long Term Transportation Council

  • Kuat Road Cycling Team - Race Director

  • Dog Dad

  1. What is your day job? 

    1. My day job is at CoxHealth.  I recently took over the management of a $1 million HRSA grant for the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program focusing on the entire CoxHealth service area (Springfield, Monett, Branson, and Barton County).  I also work for Clark Community Mental Health, managing the Rural Ozarks Health Initiative grant.  

  2. Why did you choose to get involved in MO SWITCH? 

    1. As Alex and I were looking to sustain all of our work from the HSHC project, transitioning the Barry County Coalition was the most logical avenue to maintain not only community support but to keep growing the program that is working.  

  3. What MO SWITCH project are you most excited about? 

    1. I am really excited about the upcoming census project, with funding provided by the Missouri Foundation for Health.  The information that is gained from the census affects everything from health care, transportation, and education funding so getting an accurate count of the population is critical.  

  4. How would you measure the success of MO SWITCH? 

    1. I measure success through how much of the community we reach and the impact we have. For example, we are now sponsoring a Pierce City after school program. If kids are able to go there, have fun, eat a healthy meal, not leave school and go to an empty home, that is a success.  

  5. Why would you encourage the community to support MO SWITCH with time or donations? 

    1. First of all, we are helping local communities, more specifically, populations that need the most help.  Second of all, we have a track record of success and collaboratively working with local organizations to not only increase the reach but the effectiveness of our efforts.  

  6. As part of MO SWITCH, what strength do you bring to the organization? 

    1. Well, as one of the co-founders and the current executive officer, I am slightly biased in my response, so you may have to ask Alex her opinion since she has to deal with me.  I do believe that I bring an expanded vision and strategy to the organization. We have a plan for the future, which may be crazy, but it is part of my vision.  

  7. Tell us something interesting about yourself?  

    1. I have been bike racing for about 6 years now.  Unfortunately, this is the only video of me. FYI I was ok after this, but my shoulder still hurts.  


Alexandria Severs

CO-Founder & Chief Operations Officer

Screen Shot 2019-09-23 at 7.49.26 PM.png

Alex Severs is the District Wellness Coordinator for the Monett R-1 School District, along with being the COO and co-founder of MO SWITCH. For the last 6 years Alex has worked to increase access to healthy food and physical activity where Monett students live, learn, and play. She knows that aside from home, school is the place where kids spend most of their time and making schools healthy is vital to preparing students for success. Alex has a passion for improving the lives of students, staff and the community through wellness efforts. The Monett community and school district had the privilege of receiving a 5-year grant from Missouri Foundation for Health called Healthy Schools Healthy Communities where Alex and her counterpart made great strides in improving the health of both the school and community. The HSHC initiative ended in July 2018 and through its success Alex hopes to continue their growth as one of the nation’s healthiest schools. Under the Missouri Foundation for Health, and Administrative guidance Monett has been named one of the country’s healthiest schools according to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation in both 2017 and 2018. Alex provides a unique perspective on how local school districts can play a critical role in developing built environments that benefit all demographics of the community.

Education

University of Missouri
B.S., Nutritional Sciences, 2013

Activities & Affiliations

  • Monett Bicycle and Pedestrian Foundation – Board Member

  • Monett Long Term Transportation Council

  • Missouri Council for Activity & Nutrition (MOCAN)

  1. What is your day job? 

    1. I am the District Wellness Coordinator for the Monett R-1 School District. I work to increase access to healthy food and physical activity where our students live, learn, and play. I know that aside from home, school is the place where kids spend most of their time and making schools healthy is vital to preparing students for success. I have a passion for improving the lives of students, staff and the community through our wellness efforts. Monett R-1 had the privilege of receiving a 5-year grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health called Healthy Schools Healthy Communities where we made great strides to improve the health of both our students and staff. 

  1. Why did you choose to get involved in MO SWITCH? 

    1. MO SWITCH stemmed from a local coalition that had been in the Barry County area for over 15 years, Shawn and I had been so successful working together through our Healthy Schools Healthy Communities work and through the coalition that we transitioned that coalition to MO SWITCH. MO SWITCH was an outlet where we could sustain our works over the last 5 years and maintain those great community partnerships and relationships we had built through Healthy Schools Healthy Communities. MO SWITCH allowed us a way to continue to build upon our works and resources, not just walk away from these accomplishments. 

  2. What MO SWITCH project are you most excited about? 

    1. As someone embedded into the school world, the summer feeding program is what speaks to me most. Making sure the kiddos in our region have proper access to food in such a food-insecure region is so important. We piloted this program during the summer of 2019 and fed 292 kids with one location, I am super excited to expand both the duration and locations of this program for summer 2020. 

  3. How would you measure the success of MO SWITCH? 

    1. For one, the establishment of MO SWITCH to me is a measure of success. Stemming from a local, resource-based coalition that had such success and buy-in that Shawn and I saw the potential for more growth and success. 

    2. Second, our first feet on the ground type project was our summer feeding program, or goal to get this program up in running was to raise $5,000, we surpassed that via donations in as little as two weeks and through that, we're able to feed over 200 children in Monett. To me that is a success. Beyond summer feeding, we’ve reached over 200 people through various other projects and partnerships. 

  4. Why would you encourage the community to support MO SWITCH with time or donations? 

    1. All the work MO SWITCH is currently doing or plans to do in the future is going directly back into your community, if your passionate about your community and serving the people in it supporting MO SWITCH is a no brainer, the mission of MO SWITCH is to prove the health and well-being of the residents in our Southwest Missouri communities. Whether that be through fighting food insecurity or efforts focused on public health.

  5. As part of MO SWITCH, what strength do you bring to the organization? 

    1. I bring a unique perspective on how local school districts can play a critical role in developing built environments that benefit all demographics of the community.

  6. Tell us something interesting about yourself?  

    1. During my final year of college, I studied abroad in Italy, where I was enrolled in a culinary school and studied the Mediterranean Diet. The Mediterranean Diet is linked to a longer life span and lower risk for heart disease and cancers, seeing this lifestyle first hand practiced by the residents of Italy sparked my interest for a lot of the work I focus on now such as improving the built environment in your community and having access to healthier foods.

Screen Shot 2019-09-29 at 5.42.52 PM.png

Kaley Thigpen - Board Member

1. What is your day job?

a. Clinic Administrator for Cox Monett Clinics.

2. Why did you choose to get involved in MO SWITCH?

a. Passionate about the community I live in and want to make an impact for future generations. MOSWITCH is doing great things in the Monett community and surrounding areas.

3. What MO SWITCH project are you most excited about?

a. MOSWITCH is doing great things in the Monett community and surrounding areas.

4. How would you measure the success of MO SWITCH?

a. I think the success of MO SWITCH is growing and will continue to grow as we move forward with more community involvement and initiatives.

5. Why would you encourage the community to support MO SWITCH with time or donations?

a. MO SWITCH gives back to the community, so the time and donations directly impact the community that we live in.

6. As part of MO SWITCH, what strength do you bring to the organization?

a. Public relations? Lol.

7. Tell us something interesting about yourself?

a. I am currently finishing my MBA and will graduate in May 2020.


Resized_20180805_195905.jpeg

Jesse Ginther - Intern

What is your day job? I currently run the communications at a small heating and cooling company in Nixa. I am also a full-time Communications grad student at Drury University.

Why did you choose to get involved in MO SWITCH? I was first informed about MO SWITCH from my father, Jay Jastal. He is a board member and suggested that I could be a Public Relations intern for the organization.

What MO SWITCH project are you most excited about? I am really excited about expanding the community garden. The community garden can be an important way to help feed the lower-income families in the Monett community.

How would you measure the success of MO SWITCH? I would measure the success of the nonprofit by the impact we’ve made in the community.

Why would you encourage the community to support MO SWITCH with time or donations? I want the community to support MO SWITCH because they will be directly impacting their own environment.

As part of MO SWITCH, what strength do you bring to the organization? I love to organize and plan projects. I am excited to help MO SWITCH become something that everyone in the community knows about and supports.

Tell us something interesting about yourself? I don’t have any kids but I do have a dog that weighs more than I do.



MO SWITCH Board

The MO SWITCH board is composed of a diverse collaborative of engaged community members and leaders. The board serves an initial one-year term, followed by a three-year term if they so choose.

Below are the current board members, along when their term concludes.

  • Board President - Dennis Pyle, City of Monett Administrator

  • Vice President - Leesa Ginther, RN, Barry County Health Department

  • Treasurer - Andy Goodson, First State Bank of Purdy

  • Secretary - Jessica Wagner, Barry County Health Department

  • Board Member - Kaley Thigpen, Cox Monett