Two people leaning up against lockers, smiling with hands in pocket.
LeeAnn Mitchell (left) and Parinita Shetty, two of VOA Alaska’s School-Based Clinicians who innovative daily to support the mental health and wellness of their schools’ students, teachers, and parents.

Discover VOA Alaska’s Spirit of Innovation

Below is VOA Alaska’s July 2022 Newsletter. To receive this newsletter and other updates directly to your inbox, sign up here.

What does innovation mean to you? At VOA Alaska, we define innovation as the spark of creativity and collaboration that drives us to positivity disrupt the status quo. It means that we don’t ask “what have we done before?” We ask, “What will work best, right now, for this situation, to meet the highest need?”

It’s this spirit of innovation that allowed our team to quickly respond to the rapidly changing behavioral health needs of our community during the pandemic—including the launch of our telehealth services. It also inspired an extensive reworking of our internal program structure that allows us to provide a full continuum of care, from prevention and early intervention to residential treatment. Alongside those improvements, a dedicated team was born to reduce gaps and barriers to care at all stages of a youth’s journey with VOA Alaska.

Here’s just a small sample of the many creative and collaborative sparks of all sizes that has led our team to continue meeting the needs of our community…

Person-centered and strength-based approaches to mental health and substance use treatment that lead to unique and effective interventions for our clients—like popping bubbles, burning letters, and reimaging your story in the Harry Potter universe.

“We get creative to meet the unique needs of our population, like ensuring they have time each day to work on the areas of their life they are passionate about, whether that be music, sports, or other creative projects. We cater to each specialized need or preference and try to make learning as playful and hands on as we can.”

Bre Cason, Clinical Supervisor of Residential Services

A weekly Family Group, open to the public, that offers a safe space for parents and guardians to share their stories and find validation, community, and support. Since launching in October of 2021, the group has run continuously, never missing a week!

“As the group has grown, I’ve witnessed parents finding their voice, validation, community, and support. The most beautiful part has been watching new social connections and true friendships begin between the families that attend.”

Sarah Weber, Family Support Coordinator

A “New Arrivals” group at East High School that provides support and connection to students new to Anchorage from locations across the world. Despite varying levels of English proficiency, these students come together, laugh, create art, and find a place of belonging and understanding.

“There isn’t a lot of opportunities for immigrant or non-English speaking students outside of their ESL supports to make connections. The original idea was for this to be a welcome group, but along the way it turned into more of a connection building group where the students could not only connect with the school culture but also to build better relationships with staff and students.”

Parinita Shetty, Lead School-Based Clinician

Whether it’s the in-the-moment spark of creativity that helps a clinician engage with a youth during a session, or the steady collaboration that identifies and reduces barriers to care, innovation is found throughout every program and department at VOA Alaska.

This innovation is made possible by the support of our partners and community members. Your generous gift to VOA Alaska helps our team continue to provide quality behavioral health and support services to youth and their families—all at low or no cost. Will you join us? Be an innovator by giving to VOA Alaska today.  

VOA Alaska now providing a cutting-edge new therapy!

Client watching the fingers of a therapist
The core element of EMDR therapy is bilateral (think side-to-side, right-to-left) movement. Sometimes that’s done by watching a clinician move their fingers from right to left and back. The movement grounds you in the present while you revisit traumatic experiences.

Therapy has never been one-size fits all. From traditional “talk therapy” to art and recreational therapy to a combination of those and other innovative methods, our clinicians are committed to finding just the right tool to help those in their care find hope, health, and healing.

The newest addition to VOA’s therapeutic toolkit is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, a highly effective therapy for a full spectrum of mental health challenges, including depression and anxiety, substance misuse and addictions, and grief.

To learn more about EMDR and how VOA Alaska is using it to better serve the youth and families of Alaska, click the button below!

Read Our Latest Posts

Client watching the fingers of a therapist

What is EMDR Therapy?

Our clinicians are committed to finding just the right tool to help those in their care find hope, health, and healing. The newest addition to our therapeutic toolkit is EMDR!

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