September 24, 2021

Youth producers from the Alaska Teen Media Institute contacted awardees for the annual Spirit of Youth awards radio stories, featuring teens from across the state being honored for the good work they are doing in their communities.

The Spirit of Youth Awards highlight dedicated young people and unsung heroes from around Alaska. Now in its 23rd year, the awards recognize the hard work and efforts of these future leaders who utilize this opportunity to share their inspiring and heartwarming stories.

Thank you to the Alaska Teen Media Institute for creating these radio stories!


Anna Boltz — Anchorage, Phoenix Award

Anna has been on the Challenge Alaska Alpine Race Team since she was 8 years old. She has been the only middle-school-aged disabled athlete to compete in school sports such as cross-country running (in a handcycle) and Nordic skiing (in a sit-ski). She is a frequent spokesperson for Challenge Alaska.

 Story By Sam Bernitz, Senior Alaska Teen Media Institute Producer


Austin Cline — Homer, Discovery Award

Austin became an Eagle Scout by reopening the upper Homestead Trail. He also was a two time finalist in the Caring for the Kenai competition, which asks students to create a proposal to improve the environment on the Kenai Peninsula.

 Story By Grady Cutchins, Alaska Teen Media Institute Producer


Collin Friedli — Eagle River, Innovator Award

Collin used his social media and marketing skills to help small businesses in Anchorage, who were struggling economically.

 Story By Ormund Alois, Senior Alaska Teen Media Institute Producer


Eielson Youth Group — Eielson Airforce Base, Visionary Award

Eielson Youth Group is helping keep Eielson Thrift Shop open on a regular basis by volunteering their time sorting, pricing and selling items to the community for a reasonable price. The money that is made at the shop goes directly back to the local community.

 Story By Yule Zhang, Alaska Teen Media Institute Producer


Ketchikan Youth Alliance — Ketchikan, Humanitarian Award

The Ketchikan Youth Alliance improves the quality of life in Ketchikan by providing young people with a platform to have their voices heard and the tools to create change.

 Story By Sam Bernitz, Senior Alaska Teen Media Institute Producer


No More Mat-Su — Palmer, Life Saver Award

No More Mat-Su is a youth-driven organization that seeks to end domestic violence and sexual assault in the Mat-Su Valley. They spread their message of kindness, respect and fidelity to the practice of active consent through their social media and live events such as Rock the Resilience.

 Story By Karl Cranston-Simmons, Alaska Teen Media Institute Producer


Ryann Esteban — Port Graham, Dreamer Award

Ryann is a member of Student Council, Native Youth Olympics, a Sources of Strength youth leader at school, and a teen member on the Port Graham Native Council. She also independently created artwork for a sweatshirt that amplified the voices of missing and murdered indigenous women.

Story By Grady Cutchins, Alaska Teen Media Institute Producer


Tajhrel Prescott — Fairbanks, Dreamer Award

Through his participation at Boys and Girls Club Fairbanks, Tajhrel took the lead in launching the BeYou campaign, which promotes that 78 percent of Alaska teens do not drink alcohol. With the guidance of an adult advisor, Tajhrel led a group of his peers in creating media and hosting events that promoted the organization’s mission.

Story By Karl Cranston-Simmons, Alaska Teen Media Institute Producer