About the Organization
Established in 2007 as a community initiative to address significant community-wide challenges described in a United Way-funded assessment, the volunteer-led Ketchikan Wellness Coalition (KWC) has worked to address the biggest social challenges facing our community. Five staff members have been hired via four grants in the past two years, fueling new growth of some task forces, while others have struggled to meet regularly and impact their target issues. A new team of leaders is coalescing within KWC and you have the opportunity to play a key role in its development. In addition, you will find a welcoming island community in Ketchikan (if you can handle the wind and rain) and will learn skillsets and knowledge from the staff and volunteers who share their talents with our organization.
You will enjoy the benefit of interacting with six other VISTA members assigned to the Ketchikan Community Capacity Building project. This collaboration facilitates the VISTAs activities in volunteer recruitment and public relations outreach to the community. Speaking of the rain, there’s a lot of it, but locals have learned how to dance, play, and work hard in rain gear – we call it ‘liquid sunshine’! When the bright orange ball does appear in the sky, the natural beauty of the Tongass National Forest truly shines. Please apply for this year of service if you can dance in the rain, work with and engage diverse groups of people, think and plan strategically, yet accept the leadership provided by volunteers as they work to educate and improve the community. You’ll find that this artsy community will infuse you with a passion for life equal to your own level of investment in these community-advocacy projects. More information about the organization can be found on their website.
The AmeriCorps member will support youth initiatives dedicated to prevention by working closely with the Ketchikan Wellness Coalition’s Task Forces and other local agencies. They will build relationships with youth and create and lead a youth council within the Ketchikan Wellness Coalition. The purpose of the council will be to engage youth as advocates for their peers. Through empowerment of youth we hope to foster meaningful changes to quality of life for the youth in our community and to prevent substance abuse and suicides within our youth population. The AmeriCorps member will conduct research and study local statistics to assess and identify target areas. With the participation of the youth council, they will create and implement strategies to improve the identified target areas. The AmeriCorps member will take care not to duplicate any existing program within Ketchikan, but instead collaborate with other agencies to enhance efforts.