How can you Be the Light for Alaska’s youth?

Now, more than ever, youth in Alaska need champions like you to be the light.
Graphic with a handdrawn musher and dog, with a glowing head lamp next to text reading "Be the Light"
Graphic with a handdrawn musher and dog, with a glowing head lamp next to text reading "Be the Light"

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

VOA Alaska is on the front lines of the youth mental health crisis. To respond to a 191% increase in call volume since 2020, we have expanded our capacity to not only serve more youth and their families, but to meet their unique needs. We are only able to do this because of the support community members like YOU!

Childhood experiences are of paramount importance in determining future health outcomes. We’ve learned this through the research conducted through the Adverse Childhood Experience study, also known as ACEs. It highlights the connection between adverse experiences (neglect, abuse, household dysfunction, etc.) and poor health outcomes. ACEs are common, nearly 61% of all respondents experienced at least one type of ACEs.

There are factors to mitigate and prevent negative impacts of adverse childhood experiences, and that’s where YOU come in. Protective factors such as ensuring youth have connection to caring adults, role models and meaningful activities rises to the top of the list on ways we can help!

It only takes one person to make a difference in a youth’s life, please join us and Be the Light for Alaska’s youth. We need your help to continue expanding access to care for youth and their families who are struggling right now. It will take all of us working together as a community to end suffering for youth throughout Alaska.

A set of 5 hand drawn style characters holding a variety of illuminated lanterns and flashlights.

Alaska has the highest rate of teen and young adult deaths by suicide in the country, and we’ve seen that rate sharply increase in recent years. When a young person is struggling, it may be hard for them to see or believe that better days are ahead. In these times, champions, such as yourself and the caring and compassionate team members at VOA Alaska, offer a way to help youth to regain their glow and to shine, to see the good and the beautiful that exists in our world.

To “Be the Light” for youth means that in their time of darkness or struggle you offer hope, encouragement, kindness, and compassion.

By supporting VOA Alaska, you are investing in a dedicated team and ensuring the financial capacity of those most vulnerable is never a barrier in accessing care.

With youth wellbeing a top concern in Alaska as well as nationwide, it will take all of us working together as a community to turn the tide, bring back the light, and end suffering for youth throughout Alaska.

An Afternoon of Connection and Fun: Thanks for joining our inaugural Fall Festival!

Collage of four photos of guests at the Fall Festival featuring a photobooth, face painting, hair braiding, and musicians

Our first Fall Festival was a success! Smiles were shared all around as guests visited each table, painting pots, planting sunflowers, snapping silly family photos, dunking basketballs, enjoying pizza and cotton candy, and listening to the soothing sounds of Shalah Rose’s vocals and HarpDaddy’s collection of harmonicas.

Special thanks to Mayor Dave Bronson for stopping by and taking a moment to celebrate the importance of local mental health resources for our community’s youth and families. Thank you also to our partners at United Way of Anchorage, Alaska Behavioral Health, Covenant House Alaska, and Cook Inlet Tribal Council for joining alongside our VOA team tables.

We can’t wait to see you back at next year’s Fall Festival!

Collage of four photos featuring a group photo with Mayor Dave Dronson, face painting, a smiling child, and two adults eating food