The VOA Alaska Blog

Feature Story

Staff member smiles at camera as she works a candy and popcorn table during a festival

No One Stands Alone: A Message from CEO Julia Luey

In 2020, the world changed. With the help of our community, we found the strength to respond to the new and increasing needs of Alaska’s youth and families.

In 2021, we leaned into our renewed resiliency by expanding our services, reducing barriers to care, and focusing on our purpose: to eliminate suffering for youth, young people, and the families we serve.

In 2022, we emerged from the height of the pandemic bonded together in our fight to protect hope and help our youth, friends, and neighbors find healing.

We learned that so much of what we created in response to the pandemic should now be the norm, if not expanded and improved. From the increased focus on mental health and wellness to the dedicated funding and policy changes reducing barriers to care with telehealth, the concept of mental health simply became health.

Through it all, one thing has always been clear: no one stands alone.

We cannot end suffering for youth, alone. We cannot end the experience of youth houselessness, alone. We cannot show up every day for our clients and do this challenging work, alone. We must be connected to achieve our vision of a community that supports the hope, health, and healing of every Alaskan. 

Together we are the threads that weave the fabric of Alaska’s wellness.

Here’s how VOA Alaska connected in 2022:

  • Created an Access & Engagement team positioned to respond and support meaningful connections with youth and families as soon as they reach out for help, breaking away from traditional entry processes weighed down by paperwork and long waitlists.
  • Expanded our Family Services to include family therapy and home-based services to support every family with youth in our care and help them within the comfort of their own home environments.
  • Made VOA Alaska a great place to work with over 100 people dedicated to our mission. During a time when workforce challenges plagued the industry, our retention has increased 7%, while 94% of staff say their work is meaningful to them.
  • Ended the experience of houselessness for 33 young adults and re-housed another 10, including 10 households with children.
  • Hosted our first annual Fall Festival, sharing our message about the importance of youth mental health and wellness with nearly 200 community members.
  • Touched 846 Alaskan lives in various stages of healing with a care model deeply rooted in the philosophy of meeting people where they are and loving them through each phase of their journey.

In this year’s Community Impact Report, you will find this theme of connection on every page. Our impact is your impact, our partners’ impact, and our community’s impact. No one stands alone.

Thank you for connecting with us in 2022 and we look forward to discovering the many ways we will connect again in 2023.

With love,

Julia Luey, President & CEO

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