Through connection, we build community.

Youth are the future of our communities, and the focus of several programs here at the Forum, including Sister School Exchange, Take Wing, AK|Next, and Alaska History Day. Below are some pictures of rural/urban student exchanges taking place across the state this month, along with some highlights of upcoming youth programming! For more about our work with youth, take a look at It's an Experience, an article in the Winter issue of FORUM magazine.

Program Highlights:

Sister School Exchange pairs a team of rural students with a team of urban students, culminating in a week-long exchange in each of the schools’ communities. Bonds are forged, experiences shared, knowledge exchanged: “I knew global warming affected the villages extensively, especially the ones on permafrost, like Noatak, but it’s crazy to see it in person.” From others: ““We laughed so much my stomach muscles are sore;” “One thing I’ve done on this trip is greet people. Before the exchange I was really shy about meeting people, but now I’m more comfortable with that.” This year, 28 teams are participating; travel started in March and will continue through the end of April.

Take Wing clubs continue to facilitate the social and emotional growth of high school seniors in the Lower Kuskokwim School District. Club gatherings reinforce inherent cultural strengths, deepen relationships among the group, and empower students to take the next steps of their post-secondary journey. The next club will convene in Bethel this weekend.

A group of 30 students from across Alaska have just been selected to take part in AK|Next, a reflective, experiential-based program focused on developing leadership, cross-cultural understanding, and connections between Alaskan youth. Travel takes place in early summer, bringing together three separate groups of 10 youth from across Alaska in either Juneau and Washington D.C. where they will learn and practice leadership skills.

Each year, more than half a million middle and high school students around the world take part in National History Day® (NHD). Alaska History Day, coordinated by Alaska Humanities Forum, is the state affiliate for this yearlong competition with more than 800 in grades 6-12 participating. As writers, filmmakers, web designers, playwrights, and artists, students create unique, independent projects that bring stories of the past to life. Results of the online state contest will be announced this week, and students will be notified of their selection to represent Alaska at the 2019 National History Day Contest in June at the University of Maryland, College Park.


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