Applying lessons learned through community-based, small group projects is a core component and enduring legacy of Leadership Anchorage (LA). Over the past 20 years, Leadership Anchorage participants have connected with a wide range of organizations and community champions to meet real needs. In the past two years, those projects have been focused on supporting the goals of the Municipality of Anchorage’s Welcoming Anchorage initiative: building a stronger community through supporting and celebrating equity and inclusion.
LA 21 Projects
Alaska Food Policy Council (AFPC) – Anchorage Urban Farm Project
AFPC’s mission is “a healthy, secure food system that feeds all Alaskans.” In keeping with this mission, as well as working to revitalize the Downtown District and adjacent neighborhoods, AFPC is looking to promote the local food economy through the development of a highly-visible working urban farm. A key strategy for project success is equity and inclusion in farm development, implementation, and impacts. Deliverables could include but are not limited to: determine viable operation models based on the needs of the community; provide third party perspective for the project; develop workforce training programming materials; develop strategies to use this project to enhance community resiliency relating to climate change; plan a community event at the site for summer 2018 to enhance community awareness and further promote engagement.
ACLU of Alaska – Know Your Rights Volunteer Program
It is critically important that constitutional rights are robustly defended, but that is difficult to do if people do not know what their rights are, how to exercise them, or what to do if their rights are violated. Because the Constitution applies to everybody, a community striving to be equitable and inclusive must make efforts to ensure that all its residents are fully aware of their constitutional rights, not only those who are economically or socially privileged. As part of their public education work, ACLU is interested in creating a comprehensive Know Your Rights program to train volunteers to give educational presentations to a wide variety of community groups including students, new Americans, and members of historically marginalized communities. Deliverables can include but are not limited to: using existing materials to develop targeted presentations and development of a ‘train-the-trainer’ training program; the program would begin in Anchorage and eventually expand statewide.
The Alaska Center – Civic Engagement with New Voters in Mountain View and Fairview
The voter turnout rate is 6% and 6.6% for Mountain View and Fairview neighborhoods, respectively. In 2018, the Municipality of Anchorage will transition to Vote by Mail (VBM). While the city will focus on educating currently registered voters about VBM, the Anchorage Community Land Trust, Cook Inlet Housing Authority, and The Alaska Center are pooling efforts to engage new voters at the neighborhood level in Mountain View and Fairview, and invite Leadership Anchorage to help welcome them into the democratic process. Deliverables for this project can include but are not limited to: Organized outreach with fliers and door-knocking days, to offer education/resources about voting and VBM; A challenge to creatively address the “Why bother?” problem of voting; Two Ballot Box Bashes to increase awareness and foster a sense of community around voting, with one in Mountain View and one in Fairview.
Japan Alaska Association (JAA) – Cultural Connections: “Kotatsu Series"
The Japan Alaska Association (JAA), a cultural and educational 501(c)3 non-profit organization, would like to partner with LA21 to implement changes to the piloted version of “Kotatsu Series” (sharing, honoring and preserving Alaska’s Japanese traditions through community discussions). Deliverables can include but are not limited to: reach a broader audience, create stronger ties within the Japanese community and the broader community, help preserve cultural traditions and experiences unique to the Japanese community of Alaska, transform the general public’s perception of the organization (not just for Japanese, but for all), and create a replicable structure of a discussion series that other cultural groups may utilize to form a peaceful bond for a stronger community. The kotatsu refers to a heated wooden table that is often the central gathering place and main heat source in Japanese homes. JAA would like to partner with LA21 to bring that warmth to our Anchorage community.
Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) – Big Connection
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska’s mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported 1-to-1 mentor relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. A 1995 national study found that children matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister were 46% less likely than their unmatched peers to initiate drug use, 27% less likely to initiate alcohol use, 33% less likely to engage in violent behavior, and 52% less likely to skip a day of school. Former “Littles” become better employees, better employers and business people, better community citizens, better consumers, and are more likely to give back to their communities.
BBBS has connected thousands of healthy adult volunteers “Bigs” with children facing adversity “Littles” in Alaska for decades. While volunteers and children are “Matched” in the program they are engaged in the mission of the organization. After the Match ends, however, BBBS often loses touch with the volunteers and children. BBBS would like to develop a deeper connection to its alumni. The deliverables for this project involve work to identify how to connect past Big’s and Little’s back into the mission and organization. Ultimately answering the question of how to provide an opportunity, for those once so closely connected, to reinvest in the mission.
Below are summaries of past LA projects. This table can be sorted by any of its columns or you can use the search box to find a project name, LA Team member, or supporting organization. Thank you to Nancy King, LA 18, for culling this information from our archives!