Kawerak, Inc. proposes a $1,250,000.00 5 year project to serve the subarctic Bering Strait Region in Alaska. Alaska Native people in the Bering Strait Region had higher rates of suicide than rates for the rest
of the state according to the 2013 Alaska Native Mortality Report by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. Kawerak, Inc. Wellness has 10 years of experience and history implementing suicide prevention strategies in the Bering Strait Region.
The project proposed aims to develop/enhance the bridge between youth, cultural, and community supports through comprehensive & culturally relevant training and intervention to support sustainable, community-level suicide prevention for Alaska Natives. The project is rooted in community partnership. Norton Sound Health Corporation Behavioral Services, Bering Strait School District, Nome Public Schools, Nome Community Center, Nome Youth Facility, and the Northern Alaska Wellness Initiative (NAWI) are invested in the activities listed in the proposal.
The primary goal for this program is to develop/enhance the bridge between youth, cultural, and community supports through comprehensive & culturally relevant training and intervention to support sustainable, community-level suicide prevention for Alaska Natives in order to reduce the rate of suicide attempts and substance abuse among youth ages 10 – 24 in the Bering Strait Region. To do this, the Kawerak Youth Initiative Program will utilize a variety of culturally-responsive practices to build a comprehensive program that engages multiple generations to address village needs and promote youth well-being.
¿ Culture Camps – (for youth and families) create cultural mentors and a skill building experience for youth and families involved in the justice system or foster care
¿ Story and Skill Sharing – brings mentors and cultural skills into the regional youth facility and schools throughout the region
¿ Resource Sharing/Connection & Youth Participant Follow-up connects youth and families with agencies and resources during and after participation in programming
¿ Youth Leaders – develops a Nome Youth Leaders peer mentorship program and provides ongoing support and education to Bering Strait School District Youth Leaders
¿ Knowing Who You Are – ensures local youth serving institutions and providers will understand the importance of a Healthy Racial and Ethnic identity in Alaska Native youth
¿ Culturally responsive Media Campaign aimed at youth ad families by utilizing traditional Native values in all messaging
¿ Collaborative Sustainability Planning- embeds proposed programming into local organizations through Regional Wellness Forum partnerships as well as through 3 intensive community wellness gatherings per year
The Kawerak Youth Initiative Program will deliver youth-oriented programs that have been piloted in targeted villages with Elder guidance and promoted positive outcomes for participants. The main focus is the enhancement of youth cultural identity, which is foundational in improving overall outcomes.