Alaska Job Corps Center

Alaska Job Corps students focus on healthy relationships for National Youth Violence Prevention Week

March 29th, 2018

Photo by Dan Bryant.

Last week, the Youth 2 Youth Partners 4 Peace student organization led the way as Alaska Job Corps’ entire student body partnered with local organizations to advocate for and learn about the importance of healthy relationships. The activities coordinated by the Y2Y group highlighted the prevention of violence and unhealthy relationships as part of National Youth Violence Prevention week, and culminated in a speech from Miss Alaska on treating others with compassion and respect. 

On Thursday, March 22, the student body raised awareness of the issues of domestic violence and sexual assault by marching through downtown Palmer as part of the Choose Respect March. On Friday, March 23, all students separated into small groups on Center to identify the components of a healthy relationship, whether the relationship is with a partner, a peer, staff member, or any individual. After the small group discussions, students came together to listen to speakers—including Miss Alaska—discuss the topic, and present the importance of having compassion and respect for others. 

Before the Choose Respect March, Y2Y students and others made signs highlighting healthy relationships. Throughout the week, students also competed in a writing contest, motto contest and more, all focused on the theme of healthy relationships. 

“I really enjoyed the Choose Respect March because I think it helped people who need to hear that they are going to be okay,” said Cacey Chikigak, a Certified Nurse Assistant student and Y2Y student ambassador at Alaska Job Corps Center. “I think we really spread the message about healthy relationships, especially with the signs we made.” 

The sign that Chikigak carried read: “Just smiling at someone can make their day.” 

The next day, when students divided into small groups of about ten, led by a staff facilitator, they opened up about what constitutes a healthy relationship, and what can be avoided to prevent an unhealthy relationship. 

“During our small group discussion, we talked about things we don’t really talk about, things that are taboo in our society,” said Marcus Redfox, an Electrical student and Y2Y student ambassador. “It was good because people could speak about what they have gone through in past relationships, and I think it gave some people closure.” 

Jeannine Milne from Alaska Family Services not only coordinated the Choose Respect March in Palmer, but she also came to speak to the entire student body on Friday. She emphasized the red flags in an unhealthy relationship, and highlighted the qualities of a healthy relationship with partners, friends, and more. 

When Miss Alaska, Angelina Klapperich, arrived to speak to the student body, the audience was enthralled by her message about how to treat others with compassion and respect. After hearing her speak, dozens of students lined up to talk to her and get a photograph taken with her. 

Y2Y, an anti-violence, anti-bullying student group, organizes activities held both on- and off-Center every month. These activities help promote peace in the Alaska Job Corps community, as well as in the broader community as a whole. 

“Students at Alaska Job Corps do not just learn trade and academic skills, but they also learn vital life skills to help them become the best person they can be,” said Malyn Smith, Alaska Job Corps Center Director. “During their time here, we emphasize students’ personal development, and we know that healthy relationships—with their peers, partners, colleagues and staff—are essential to the growth and maturation of our young adults.” 

The Alaska Job Corps Center is a federally funded career training program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor and managed by Chugach Educational Services, Inc. The Center is committed to providing the highest quality programs for young adults by offering instructions in academics, trades and life skills through innovative methods that respond to the unique individual and group needs of today’s youth.

Story by BCL Carin Meyer.

Photo by Dan Bryant.

 

Photo by Carin Meyer.