Youth’s perception they are respected, trusted, supported, valued by others, and able to make a difference in their community.
Youth’s Perception of Mattering, Being Valued and Connecting to Their Community: A Summary of Literature and Best Practices: By Becky Judd on behalf of AYDC
Goals for Projects
Projects will support youth to matter to their community by achieving the following goals:
- Safety. Youth want to live in a safer community, not just for physical safety but also to be empowered to be themselves.
- Support, Respect, and Fairness. Youth want to be treated fairly and with respect by adults. Having friendly, supportive, and positive relationships with adults provides the right role models to empower youth.
- Make a Difference. Youth want to be engaged and make a difference. This may be through providing meaningful opportunities and service-based activities. Meaningful engagement also includes youth involved in decision-making, leadership, and implementing a project.
AYDC is excited to announce our support of the following projects in our community! All proposals for the Youth Matter Grant shared innovative ways to focus on providing the right environment, relationships, and experiences for youth to thrive. The following five organizations were selected for awards totaling $22,500.
To see more about what these individual programs are doing, tag or follow the hashtag #youthmatterAK.
For 35 years, the Alaska Theatre of Youth has been Anchorage’s only year-round theatre company to offer classes, workshops, camps, and productions solely to youth ages 6-19. Their aim is to provide a safe, creative, accessible space for the city’s diverse youth population. To support youth leadership in its Summer Conservancy program, ATY will create a mentorship program with youth and for youth to develop skills and step into leadership roles. The spring mentorship program will support youth mattering through acting classes, costume design, stage makeup, sound & light tech classes, and stage managing & directing 101. This opportunity will embolden youth participants, give them a sense of purpose, build their self-esteem, and give them hands-on experience of collaborative enterprise and team building from a leadership stance.
Chugach Children’s Forest “Outdoor Club and Youth Leadership Team”
The Chugach Children’s Forest, run by National Geographic and Chugach National Forest, will continue supporting their new Youth Leadership Team. Chugach Children’s Forest is a program that focuses on giving opportunities for youth to get outside in Alaska, and encourages healthy choices, scientific experiences, and education on good stewardship. Youth participating in this program are often new to outdoor recreation, and in the end learn not only outdoor skills but also gain leadership skills through building relationships with their peers. The Outdoor Club will expand its leadership training and roles for youth with the support of this grant, giving its youth leaders the opportunity to belong. Participants will learn about environmental issues, and will get guidance on how to be good stewards, outdoor ethics, recreation, healthy lifestyles, and even future workforce ideas. The course will cap with expeditions in the Chugach National Forest to put these skills to the test.
Spirit of Youth: Live in-person interview on “In Other News”
Spirit of Youth is dedicated to creating, promoting and recognizing youth involvement in communities across Alaska. One of the most impactful programs is the Alaska Teen Media Institute, which recognizes the teen perspective is valuable and underrepresented. Youth will promote mattering by hosting live, on-air, youth interviews as part of the monthly “In Other News” programs on key topics, which may include local artists or performers, assembly representatives, environmental activists, and more. ATMI brings youth voice to the public and offers opportunities for artists/career exploration, while engaging youth in issues that are important to them. Youth explore history, health, politics, arts, culture, and more. Youth involved in this work become more engaged in their communities and affect the public dialogue.
Story Works Alaska: “Behind the Story: Interviews with Youth Storytellers”
Story Works Alaska is a program that supports youth by providing them opportunities and training to tell their personal stories in their schools and communities. Story Works asks young people to complete a potentially challenging task: speaking publicly in front of their peers. This project will build on previous efforts to help future youth participants feel safer as they step up to this challenge. The Student Advisory team will interview and film past Story Works participants specifically about their stories, how they crafted the narrative and how they performed the work in front of an audience. These filmed interviewees will be shown in conjunction with the original story filmed at Arctic Entries events. The Student Advisory Team sees this project as the second phase of improving Story Works curriculum through youth led efforts.
Youth Vote: “Power in Numbers: Mobilizing Youth Voice in Civics”
Youth Vote provides a non-partisan venue for empowering youth to vote and be involved in the democratic process. During election season, Youth Vote hosts major youth-led community events and supports classroom education. In 2017, we have been able to move beyond the election cycle to do even more. Youth Vote will take on educating their peers about the vital role youth voice can have in governance – through policy and elections through hosting a mock election, social media outreach, create webisodes about voting by mail, and more. Youth Vote is dedicated to promoting youth voice and engaging young people in the democratic process.
Past 2017 AYDC Youth Matter projects include: totaling $30,500 in awards
Anchorage Youth Court “Law and Leadership Program: Law Guide multimedia presentations”
Anchorage Youth Court is a juvenile justice program where students serve as defense attorneys, prosecution attorneys, and judges in cases involving their peers. Students who are entering the 9th grade in Fall 2017 are eligible to participate in a summer leadership course and design a multimedia resource project. Participants will be taking the Alaska Youth Law Guide and making it easier to digest, before putting it into an app that will be available for all students throughout the state! Participants in the program will learn more about their rights and responsibilities, along with helping their community by making materials accessible to all youth! This project will also an opportunity for youth to grow a sense of belonging by giving them something tangible to share with their peers.
Boys and Girls Club – Alaska “Youth For Unity”
Boys and Girls Club is a nationwide program that provides academic and social learning opportunities, along with community support and athletic experiences for youth all around the United States. Youth for Unity will be a program implemented at the Woodland Park Boys and Girls club in Anchorage for students aged 12-16, where students will be led through discussions of diversity in their own community, bias, and how to take personal leadership and confront bullying, unfairness, and negative bias when they see it. Then, the teens will teach younger elementary-aged students through similar lessons and units, but with guidance from staff on making it more age appropriate. The teens and younger students will gain examples on positive peer relationships, how to have effective mentor relationships, and how to maintain positive norms in relation to diversity and inclusion.
Catholic Social Services “Once Uprooted, Now Home”
Catholic Social Services’ Refugee Assistance and Immigration Services (RAIS) is the only existing refugee resettlement program in the state of Alaska. Currently, they serve many families who have had to leave their home countries due to dangerous circumstances by helping with job training, community and family integration, support for school-aged children, and economic self-sufficiency. RAIS has created the “Once Uprooted, Now Home” program for refugee youth. Participants will complete art in workshops (mosaics, signs, benches, decorations) and garden in the new Mountain View Community Garden, providing a safer and more active community, and will help students see a tangible way that they can help their community, integrating efforts from students, RAIS, their community, and their families. Participants will also experience a leadership training course to build skills.
Chugach Children’s Forest “Outdoor Club and Youth Leadership Team”
The Chugach Children’s Forest, run by National Geographic and Chugach National Forest, is a program that focuses on giving opportunities for youth to get outside in Alaska, and encourages healthy choices, scientific experiences, and education on good stewardship. Youth participating in this program are often new to outdoor recreation, and in the end learn not only outdoor skills but also gain leadership skills through building relationships with their peers. The Outdoor Club will expand its leadership training and roles for youth with the support of this grant, giving its youth leaders the opportunity to belong. Participants will learn about environmental issues, and will get guidance on how to be good stewards, outdoor ethics, recreation, healthy lifestyles, and even future workforce ideas. The course will cap with expeditions in the Chugach National Forest to put these skills to the test.
Congregation Beth Sholom “L’Dor Va‘Dor ~ Generation to Generation”
Congregation Beth Sholom is a Jewish Synagogue in Anchorage, Alaska with a focus on community involvement and service. They are preparing to build a facility on their campus for Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients, where youth will actively be involved in the day-to-day lives of the patients. In preparation, their youth group will begin an intergenerational project to pair youth aged 12-18 with seniors experiencing Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias. Following the “Alive Inside” resource, these youth will find music and personalize a playlist each elders after spending time getting to know their partners. By unlocking memories through music, the playlists will be designed to provide calm during medical procedures and to help improve mood. The curricula, based around the concept of empathy, allows for the teens involved to learn firsthand that determining the value and worth of a person should never be based on a diagnosis or stereotype. It exemplifies that, no matter your age or circumstance, everyone benefits from finding a place to belong in their communities.
First CME Church “Steps 2 Success: Cooking with GMA”
Steps 2 Success is a program run by The First Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (CME) providing educational and community opportunities to the diverse Anchorage youth. The First CME Church will partner its Steps 2 Success youth program with GMA’s Services to run a cooking course for youth. Through earning their food handling card and practicing kitchen skills, participants will shop, plan, budget, and cook meals. Participants will also cook meals for community members throughout the course. At the end of the 4-week program, participants will celebrate by preparing a 5-course meal for their families and neighbors!
Hope Community Resources “Hope Mentorship Program”
Hope Community Resources is a program that supports individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental health challenges. This program will pair teen mentors with other teens and youth to support them through participating in skill-building experiences, from building motor skills, to increasing communication and problem solving skills. The Hope Mentorship Program will build positive relationships between youth in different age groups, and also help with future job training for the mentors in the human service field!
Story Works Alaska “Our Advice for You: Support and Encouragement from Youth to Youth”
Story Works Alaska is a program that supports youth by providing them opportunities and training to tell their personal stories in their schools and communities. Story Works youth will create video interviews offering advice for future audiences to share their own stories. Current participants will create positive and encouraging videos with words of wisdom for future participants, boosting their abilities to accomplish their goals. Story Works believes that youth voices are important and deserve to be told and heard. Current participants want to support more youth to have the confidence to tell their own stories in our community.