This year Alaska’s largest telecom company has increased the amount of money it’s contributing to suicide prevention programs around the state. In a grant administered by the Alaska Community Foundation, 10 organizations around the state, including Kenai, will split the $130,000 from GCI.
Last year the company launched the Suicide Prevention Grant Program with $100,000. Kate Slyker, GCI’s chief marketing officer, said the response then was overwhelming, and the company looks forward to an even larger impact this year.
The grant coming to the Kenai Peninsula is going to the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District to support a program that will train 300 students and 100 adults in Sources of Strength, a school-based program in middle school, high school or college, and also often used in community and cultural settings. The program promotes and focuses on connectivity, school bonding, peer-adult partnerships and help-seeking behaviors in an effort to prevent suicide.
Other programs around the state include training for 36 secondary teachers in Anchorage, and a resilience-building program in Newhalen, The Northwest Arctic Borough, the Native villages of Unalakleet and Chuathbaluk and Nome are among others that are using traditional and community activities in different ways to accomplish their goal.
Nina Kempple, the president and CEO of the Alaska Community Foundation says that the 10 programs selected each had clear strategies on how to reach and serve the people in their communities. Kempple added that the grant funding was increased because of how impressed the foundation was with the plans.