22nd Spirit of Youth Awards Cancelled

March 12, 2020

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the 22nd Spirit of Youth Awards have been cancelled. We would like to thank all the sponsors, nominees, and those who nominated a youth, for participating. 

 

Congratulations to the 2020 honorees:

Dreamer
Derek Booth has learned how to produce professional looking traditional attire. He sews nightly with his grandma, spending time with her and passing on traditions. Most of his garments, which are coveted by many in Kotzebue, are given away for free. 

Runner Up: When funding failed from the Anchorage School District, Geneva Luteria looked for opportunities in the Anchorage Assembly to figure out alternatives to a Tagalog class.

 

Innovator
Anna DeVolld has developed a program called Promote Our Pollinators. This project strives to educate the public about the importance of pollinators and to provide easy to implement ways to support these essential creatures.

Runner up: Grace Hopkins raises hundreds annually for The Door Youth Shelter fundraiser “One Homeless Night” where she builds a box city and spends the night outside.

Life-Saver
Sheryl Swarner was recently involved in saving the lives of three teenagers. Due to her quick actions and directions, the outcome of the event was not tragic.

Runner up: Students Demand Action for Gun Sense in America (SDA) was created by and for teens and young adults, to help engage the power, energy and creativity of high school and college students in the fight against gun violence.

Discovery
Alicyn BahnkeZoe OkleasikQuannah Potts and Nanieezh Peter were inspired to take action due to their personal experiences with climate change in their communities. In a resolution to the Alaska Federation of Natives they declared a climate emergency and created a climate action leadership task force to advance Indigenous voices and advocate for strong climate policies that will ensure the survival of future generations.

Phoenix
Kevin Grimes is a strong member of Facing Foster Care in Alaska. He mentors youth from all ages ranging from 13-25.

Runner up: Shaelene Swanson has had a turbulent upbringing, but despite everything she’s been through, she has remained resilient.

Role Model
For the past five years, Margaret Wolfe has volunteered as the childcare provider for an Anchorage area women’s AA meeting on Saturday mornings. She also helps with youth group activities at her church, assisting with service projects and youth activities.

Runner up: Eli Knapp has been a part of a number of youth-led activities, including R.O.C.K Mat-Su and Special Olympics, as well as helping in his classroom.

Visionary
Sarah Mixsell founded the non-profit organization Alaska Kids for Kids in 2011 when she was nine years old. Under Sarah’s leadership, the organization has raised over $20,000 in funds and other donations that directly benefit youth in Alaska.

Runner up: Zoe Nelles created the Sandwich Project at Palmer High School. She makes lunches for kids so they have food over the weekends.

Humanitarian
In June of 2018, Garrett Graham formed a team called “Garrett’s Got Guts” which participated in the Take Steps for Crohn’s and Colitis fundraising event. He has taken action to educate himself, his classmates, and his community members about genetic disorders with both humor and sincerity.

Runner up: In order to alleviate isolation among senior citizens, Elora Reichert created a traveling petting zoo at a senior living home in her community.

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$3,000 Bullying Prevention Grant Available-Deadline Extended to October 21

September 12, 2019

Empowering Youth Voice to End Bullying 

Preventing Bullying and Its Consequences

Spirit of Youth is working to improve the behavioral health of Anchorage youth. Through community input and local data, we learned there is a direct link between poor mental health conditions and bullying. Our efforts focus on preventing bullying and its consequences, which includes poor mental health. Toward this end we provide training, efforts to improve policies, and build awareness around the issue.

Grant Goals

The four $3,000 Bullying Prevention Campaign Grants are specifically intended to support youth led projects for Anchorage middle and high school students that meet the following goals:

  • Promote respect and inclusion;
  • Increase the broad community awareness and concern of bullying and its serious consequences;
  • Use of the Careline (More info about Careline at http://carelinealaska.com/);
  • Reduced stigma among middle and high school youth about reporting bullying;
  • Increase awareness among students, parents, teachers and ASD staff of what bullying is;
  • Community members advocate for bullying prevention.

Deadline is October 21st! Apply at https://bit.ly/2lRNKGi. Full grant guide available https://bit.ly/2lOYghF.

Previous grant recipients have included:

  • KNBA Youth Health Reporters
  • You Are Not Alone – West High
  • Story Works Alaska Youth Team (SAYiT)
  • LWV Anchorage / Anchorage Youth Vote
  • Stone Soup Group
  • Junior National Honor Society – Romig Middle School
  • Benny Benson Secondary School
  • Ignition Mentorship – Dimond High
  • Boys & Girls Club Eagle River
  • You Are Not Alone – Hanshew Middle School
  • Clark Middle School Informers

 

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2019 Spirit of Youth Radio Stories

August 22, 2019

Teens from across the state were honored for the good work they are doing in their communities at the 2019 Spirit of Youth Awards, which took place March 30 at the Anchorage Downtown Marriott.

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2019 Spirit of Youth Awardees

February 27, 2019

The 2019 Spirit of Youth Awards highlights 8 dedicated young people from around Alaska.

This year’s Award recipients are from Anchorage, Chugiak, Healy, Juneau,
Kodiak, Nikiski, Palmer, Shishmaref, Soldotna and Utqiagvik. We invite you to honor them March 30 at the Anchorage Mariott at 7 p.m. as they share their inspirational stories.

Check out the winners here.

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Purchase your seat to the 2019 Spirit of Youth Awards!

February 12, 2019

Ticket sales have closed! If you need to make a last minute change or order email info@spiritofyouth.org.

Youth from across the state of Alaska will be honored for their hard work and contributions to the community at the Spirit of Youth Awards, March 30 at 6 PM at the Anchorage Downtown Marriott. Purchase your tickets below, and join us in celebration of the Spirit of Youth’s 2019 Spirit of Youth Award recipients!

****Important note: If you are paying by credit card, please select the PayPal option and then the “pay with debit or credit card” button on the next screen.

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2018 Bullying Prevention Grants Available

November 26, 2018

 

Preventing Bullying and Its Consequences

Spirit of Youth is working to improve behavioral health of Anchorage youth. Through community input and local data, we learned there is a direct link between poor mental health conditions and bullying. Our efforts focus on preventing bullying and its consequences, which includes poor mental health. Toward this end we provide training, efforts to improve policies, and build awareness around the issue.

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2018 Spirit of Youth Radio Stories

October 12, 2018

From Kotlik to Kodiak, teens from across the state were honored for the good work they are doing in their communities at the 2018 Spirit of Youth Awards, which took place April 27 at the Anchorage Downtown Marriott.

The Spirit of Youth Awards is the organization’s premiere event, highlighting dedicated young people and unsung heroes from around Alaska. Now in its 20th 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!

 

Duncan OkitkunKotlik

Duncan shares his Yup’ik culture with the world every chance he gets. His songs and public speaking heals and strengthens people in his village. He performs at his school, instilling pride in his peers and is a great role model for the young people of his village.

Story By Aviva Hirsch, Spirit of Youth

 

Gabriel “Gabe” Miller—Ninilchik

Gabe decided to transfer to a larger school in order to pursue his passion for science. The move added three hours to his school day. Yet, he makes time, through Ninilchik Tribe Teen Center, to work with others to build clubs, programs and places for Ninilchik youth to go for peer support.

Story By Kendrick Whiteman, Bartlett High School

 

Isaiah Dunegan-Lain—Anchorage

In a busy classroom, at lunchtime, Isaiah was the only person who observed a student choking on food. He was able to utilize his first aid/CPR skills and save a life.

Story By Aviva Hirsch, Spirit of Youth

 

Kaylynn Zagyva—Wasilla

Kaylynn participates in many community programs and activities despite recently having surgery for a brain tumor, which caused her to have to relearn much of her speech.

Story By Maile Kamohakula, King Tech High

 

Rafael Bitanga—Kodiak

Rafael is the owner and director of the Crepe Escape, a food booth in Kodiak. He donates 10 percent of Crepe Escape’s profits to the Brother Francis Shelter.

Story By Maile Kamohakula, King Tech High

 

Robert Otto—Kodiak

Robert has served as a defense and prosecuting attorney with the Kodiak Teen Court. As a judge, he has mentored new youth attorneys and leads with integrity and honesty.

Story By Danielle DuClos, Dimond High School graduate

 

Robin “Puck” Van Dommelen—Anchorage

Puck has developed a keen interest in conservation of the environment and has lead projects on bird conservation, remediation of natural landscape, documenting and combating invasive species in Alaska. He also conducted an energy audit for his high school.

Story By Danielle DuClos, Dimond High School graduate

 

Rylee Mcintosh—Palmer

Rylee supported the Magic Yarn Project. She and a crew made wigs for children with cancer.

Story By Cornilius Nelson, Bartlett High School graduate

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Former Spirit of Youth Honoree Pays It Forward, Nominating a Youth in 2017

February 9, 2018

Back in the ‘90s, Anchorage teen Marie Craig, now Marie Acemah, opened the Crooked Rascal, a small shop in downtown Anchorage. The store sold records and zines from across the U.S. It was also a community space aimed at fostering creativity—patrons could borrow a shared film camera, or sit down to write at a communal typewriter. In ‘98, she was honored for her entrepreneurship with a Spirit of Youth Award.

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Anchorage Youth Develop Bullying Prevention PSAs

January 25, 2018

 

KNBA youth health reporters created these two public service announcements about bullying behavior. Reporters worked with the Alaska Teen Media Institute staff throughout the summer of 2017 to produce online and broadcast features and public service announcements focused on promoting wellness to preventing teen suicide.

 

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Youth Discuss Bullying In Podcast Series

November 27, 2017

In this podcast series, Story Works Alaska and Alaska Teen Media Institute producers discuss bullying, why it happens, how it happens and what can be done to stop it. Each podcast features stories from a different perspective of bullying and its effects, both physical and psychological. Each story is true and told by an Alaska high school student at one of the many shows put on by Story Works Alaska.

As you’re listening, keep in mind that there are three classifications of bullying: 1.) It requires a real or perceived power imbalance 2.) It must be done with the intent to harm and 3.) It must be repeated or have the potential to be repeated.

 

 

This podcast series was funded by Spirit of Youth. It was produced by Story Works Alaska and Alaska Teen Media Institute producers.

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