Stephanie Burgoon with Snickers the porcupine
STEPHANIE BURGOON OR "Ms. B" saw the hydroponic equipment confiscated from a drug bust in her small town of Whittier, Alaska as an opportunity to help one of her struggling students grow into something beautiful. A teacher at the Whittier Community School, she asked for the equipment, got it, then helped student Joey Lipscomb on his way to growing healthy foods that the whole town now enjoys.
KTD host Shana Sheehy has this installment in our Power of One series, highlighting those who make a big difference in the lives of kids.
Do you know of someone who is making a big difference in the lives of Alaska's kids? If so, nominate them for a Power of One profile on Kids These Days! by writing to us.
Miranda (right, with her sister, Hanna) hopes that through sharing her loss that she can help to inspire others through difficult times
AN INCREDIBLE STORY of tragedy, strength and inspiration - one young woman in a boating accident last year on Tustemena Lake on the Kenai Peninsula is now using that experience to encourage other teens to persevere through difficult times.
Meet 16-year old Miranda Udelhoven, credited with saving her own life as well as those of her younger sister, Hanna (then 13 years old) and friend, Athena Robinson (then 12 years old), after they were dumped into icy waters during a storm that took the life of her father (47) and friend, Katarina Anderson (16). She says that her faith in God is motivating her to turn her personal loss into a means to help others through hard times by starting a group, Teens Inspiring Perspective or TIP, which is still in the planning stages.
KTD host Shana Sheehy spoke with Miranda, her sister Hanna, and their mother, Gayle Koger.
ON Kids These Days! we like to highlight the efforts of those individuals who take the time to mentor Alaska's youth; we profile them in our ongoing series called the Power of One. This time, meet a high school teacher who recently helped students learn a lot about the science of solar power as well as the power of giving.
Russell Hood is a physics teacher at East Anchorage High School, where he also leads the Solar Club after school. His group of students built and donated two "solar suitcase" or, portable power supplies, that will benefit medical clinics in the Sudan. These solar-powered batteries will allow the clinics to provide care that they would otherwise not be able to provide when or if the power goes off.
Kids These Days! host Shana Sheehy attended the presentation of the solar suitcases to the Alaska Sudan Medical Project last October in Anchorage where she met Russell and his students.
Marilyn Parker and Valerie Kouvenin, retired high school teachers who are making a difference for kids in the Mat-Su area
FOR THIS NEW 'Power of One' profile, our producer Sarah Gonzales was browsing at a recent holiday bazaar where she met two women selling pillows. Once she learned their story we knew we had to tell you about the Pillows for Kids Foundation. Started by Valerie Kouvinen and Marilyn Parker, two retired school teachers, who know that after-school activities help children do better in the classroom, while also helping them to feel engaged with their community. But not all families can afford them - so they got to work.
Visit the Pillows for Kids Facebook page to connect with the foundation, or to learn about becoming a mentor
The two longtime friends sew and sell pillows to fund "mini-scholarships" that allow kids to participate in these after-school "brain-training" activities like skating, bowling, swimming and horsemanship with mentors like Debra Moore, owner of EZ Walking Stables in Palmer.
Producer Sarah Gonzales spoke with the two women in Wasilla.
WHEN KIDS ARE at risk of spending too much time unsupervised, doing “stupid things” and “getting into trouble” - there are people and programs out there who strive to provide safe and positive environments as an alternative. Many of these “outreach” programs are associated with community organizations or faith-based groups. Others start off as a way for kids to find inclusion within their cultural identity. That was the case for one Anchorage outreach program that began a handful of years ago. It started as the Poly Club and was created for Polynesian kids to do traditional dance. Its original founder is a well-known Anchorage-ite named Ma’o Tosi.
Soon the Poly Club outgrew its Poly name and became AK PRIDE. AK PRIDE (People Representing Integrity & Diverse Everything) is open to kids of any background and now it does a whole lot more than Polynesian Dance. It eventually found a new adult to take the lead.
KTD Host Shana Sheehy instroduces us to Junior Gisa, the man whose dedication and heart is the subject for this installment of our mentor-highlighting series, The Power of One.
This story originally featured in Show 36: Free-Range vs. Oven Parenting.
IN OUR ONGOING Power of One series we recognize the work that one adult is doing to make a positive, inspiring or meaningful difference among the youth of his or her community. This week we travel to the village of New Stuyahok is on the banks of the Nushagak River about 50 miles northeast of Dillingham. Among its 500 residents is Wassillie Gust Senior who goes by a few names. He's Wally to those who can’t pronounce Wassillie, Deacon Wassillie Gust to the Orthodox Church in New Stuyahok, and he’s known to all the kids as Uppa Wally. Uppa means grandfather in Yup'ik.
Deacon Wassillie is in his second year as a RuralCAP BIRCH Americorps volunteer. This warm, charismatic man with an infectious smile gives 40-hours of his time each week to helping improve his community.
KTD Host Shana Sheehy spoke with him to learn more about how he's helping a local kids's group called Meterviit (eagle) with projects like building signs and birdhouses, while also inspiring them to take pride in their community.
This story originally featured on Show 28: Kids & Volunteering.
Jessica Cochran brings us the second installment of the "Power of One" to highlight the musical mentoring of Mike Daquioag aka "Mr. D" who leads the Kodiak Island Drummers, an all-ages group of kids with awesome rhythm. Watch a video of K.I.D. in action!
This story was originally featured on Show 10: Bullying.
Bullying can take many forms - emotional, physical, even digital - and the teasing or cruelty can seriously affect victims' well-being for many years. We wanted to know how bullying is dealt with in Alaska's schools - what programs are currently in place and where is there room for improvement?
IN-STUDIO GUESTS: Joining KTD Host Shana Sheehy in the studio to share what their respective districts are doing to create a kinder, more compassionate school climate and to explain how Social and Emotional Learning curricula are playing an important part in alleviating the problem are three guests.
• Lebron McPhail is the Director of Education from the Mat-Su Borough School District.
• Janet Davis is a Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Support teacher in Anchorage's middle schools.
• Victoria Blakeney is the SEL Curriculum Coordinator for the Anchorage School District.
- Bullying & the home environment - Counselor, author of Simplicity Parenting and anti-bullying approach developer, Kim John Payne, spoke with KTD Producer Sarah Gonzales about how families can best help their children cope with bullying by simplifying life at home. [Listen]
- Peers helping peers prevent bullying - The Chugiak High School Peer Mediation program is the only one of its kind in the Anchorage School District; Jessica Cochran reports on how teens are helping teens solve their misunderstandings with one another. [Listen]
- Bullying in cyberspace - Susan Harnasch, the Cyber Crimes Prevention Specialist with the Anchorage Police Department, shares her thoughts on and tips for preventing cyberbullying. [View links to Internet Safety Resources here.]
- Power of One: Mr. D & The Kodiak Island Drummers - KTD Contributor Jessica Cochran brings us the second installment of the Power of One to highlight the musical mentoring of Mike Daquioag aka "Mr. D" who leads the Kodiak Island Drummers, an all-ages group of kids with awesome rhythm. [Listen]
HIGHLIGHTING ALASKAN MENTORS, our Power of One series brings you mentor profiles of those adults who make a difference in the lives of young people in Alaska. We begin this series with Leslie Dahl, the former coach of the Juneau-Douglas High School Dance Team. Reported by Scott Burton in Juneau.
The team circa 1990: standing: Melissa Anderson Richerson; seated left to right: Shana Sheehy, Kristin Harben Szabadi, Anje Lockhart, Jennifer Whelan, Heidi Hall Burpee, Leslie Dahl
This story was originally featured on Show 3: Ancorage United for Youth.
Anchorage United for Youth is a coalition of youth-serving organizations that exist in the Anchorage community to help our kids they are reaching out to kids. We'll also learn simple ways that anyone can get involved in being a positive force in the life of a child.
IN-STUDIO GUESTS: Joining host Shana Sheehy to speak about the upcoming Anchorage United for Youth Summit are two guests.
• Sarah Sledge, director of community action at the United Way of Anchorage, and
• Dawn Groth, a community member who took action to serve the youth in her neighborhood.
- Power of One: Leslie Dahl - Our Power of One mentoring series premieres today with a piece from Juneau's Scott Burton highlighting the work of Leslie Dahl, former coach of the Juneau-Douglas High School Dance Team. [Listen]
- Alaska's Girl Scouts - Marge Larson, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Alaska, along with her 5th grade daughter, spoke with KTD Producer Sarah Gonzales all about scouting in the 21st century.