Kyrstin Arellano will serve as an AmeriCorp volunteer for one year, developing programs for youth in Dillingham.
The Curyung Tribal Council in Dillingham received a grant this year from the Resilient Alaska Youth AmeriCorp Program. Deanna Baier is an Indian Child Welfare worker with Curyung. She put in the application for the grant.
“It is to provide positive activities for youth,” she says, “to surround them with positive mentors, and to combat suicide and depression.”
That’s a needed focus says Baier.
“Studies have shown that rural Alaska, specifically off-road communities and specifically Alaska Natives, are more susceptible to suicide and depression in their later teenage and young adult years.”
The grant will provide one volunteer, Kyrstin Arellano, with a small monthly stipend and health benefits in return for working 40 hours a week to develop youth programs in the city. Arellano, who is Baier’s daughter, was born and raised in Dillingham. She attending training in Anchorage in mid-January. Now she’s just starting to hammer out plans. As she begins to shape her role in working with Dillingham’s youth, she does have one idea she is particularly excited about.
“I’m working on a project proposal to do a local history project getting youth together with elders, and having the youth interview the elders about history in general. It could be world history, American history, or local Bristol Bay history,” explains Arellano. “Then at the end of the program they would have a project like a book, an audio interview, a video or some kind of project that they’ve put together that we can then have memorialize that.”
Dillingham is one of 16 rural Alaska communities to receive this AmeriCorp grant for 2017. The grant funds Arellano’s position from January to December.
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