Alaska Community Services Inc.
Alaskan youth are losing traditional values and cultural identity. The loss of a cultural identity has a profound effect upon self respect and esteem. This loss is evident by the high rate of depression, suicide, substance abuse, and trauma experienced within Alaskan villages and communities . Many rural children and youth live in unreported abusive family situations; many are in unreported out-of-home placements with little supervising adult support. As a result of amalgamated negative factors many rural Alaskan children and youth experience failure in the school setting.
The sobering facts of rural Alaskan life, combined with the cultural disconnect often experienced within the established educational paradigm and the continual exposure to contemporary pop cultural values lays a foundation for failure. Alaskan children and youth literally have one foot in distinctly different cultures; resources are needed to bridge that gap and promote healthy and productive futures for all children and youth. Succeeding in school will lay a positive foundation to succeed in life.
Thirty two Elders, volunteering at fourteen RSVP workstations, will be matched with special or exceptional need disadvantaged children and youth participating in both summer and after school activities. Their primary goal will be to enhance academic school performance by providing children and youth with support in literacy and math in after school programs.
Elders as mentors will also share their knowledge, wisdom, cultural experiences, and a way of life in balance with the non-traditional western world paradigm. Elders will reinforce and sustain the positive values and concepts identified by community and school leaders and teachers. They will provide children and youth the opportunity to apply those values and concepts in everyday village life. Children and youth will display gains in positive self awareness and how their contributions to village life are valued by their families and communities. As a result, they will place an increased value on school, becoming more engaged and ultimately more successful. Children and youth will recognize and apply the balance and harmony found in combining formal education and traditional knowledge, this will serve as a foundation for successful, productive adulthood.
The SPIRIT RSVP Program will be funded by CNCS in the amount of $25,207. Additional funding for the Program will be provided by the State of Alaska in the amount of $11,685. Additional funding for the Program will be generated by ACS's sale of "pull tabs" in the amount or $19,667.
Mental Health Issues Facing Alaskan Native Youth, North Star Behavior Health. Anchorage, Alaska; Dukoff, Ruth, M.D.; June 2012