Being Young in Rural Alaska
Rates of alcohol abuse in Alaska are some of the highest in the nation and communities across the state regularly suffer from domestic violence, suicide and other related issues because of it. Tonight, we reach the conclusion of our reporting series “Being Young In Rural Alaska”, from the producers of Kids These Days. Traveling and reporting in rural Alaska, it’s impossible to miss the signs of alcohol abuse, and yet people often don’t talk about it: it’s such a part of life that it’s almost taken for granted. So what’s it like to be a kid growing up around heavy alcohol use in small-town Alaska? Sarah Gonzales heads to Kotzebue to find out.
Over the past few months, we’ve been hearing a lot of perspectives on the experience of childhood in rural Alaska. In today’s installment of our series “Being Young in Rural Alaska” we hear from some of those kids who are growing up, looking for the next step.
Early in our series “Being Young in Rural Alaska” from the producers of Kids These Days, we learned about efforts to re-introduce indigenous languages through school programs. At the Lower Kuskokwim School District, they have a different challenge: figuring out the best way to teach reading and writing to kids who are already living in two languages. LKSD is the heart of Yup’ik country. One quarter of the certified teachers are Yup’ik, the greatest percentage of indigenous educators of any district in Alaska. The district is rolling out a new method for teaching its bilingual students called the dual language model.
Statewide, Alaska’s tobacco use rate hovers around 20%; it’s gone down significantly over the last decade or so, and is only slightly above the national average. But among Alaska Natives the rate is much higher – in some places, more than double – and often kids begin using tobacco at young ages. Jessica Cochran has more, in the next installment of our series “Being Young in Rural Alaska” from the producers of Kids These Days.
Finding quality, affordable childcare for young children can be a challenge anywhere in Alaska. It’s especially difficult in rural Alaska’s hub communities – where the cost of living is high and space is often hard to find. It becomes a factor in attracting professionals to jobs at regional health and other organizations. In the next installment of our series “Being Young in Rural Alaska” from the producers of Kids These Days, Anne Hillman takes a look at how some communities are trying to meet the challenge.
Alaska’s high school graduation rate lags behind the nation – and Alaska Natives are more likely to drop out of school than others. In rural Alaska, high school students who have their sights set on graduation may not be sure what to do next. In the next installment of our “Being Young in Rural Alaska” series, from the producers of Kids These Days, reporter Mark Arehart looks at an idea designed to keep kids in high school, by giving them a glimpse of their possible futures.
While recent reports show the suicide rate falling slightly within the state, Alaska still has the highest rate in the nation – especially among Alaska Native young men. One community in Southeast had nearly the highest rate in the nation back in the 1980’s, but today they see almost no suicide in their village. In the next installment of our “Being Young in Rural Alaska” series, Sarah Gonzales goes to Kake to learn about what it means to successfully prevent suicide.
It’s hard to get excited about school when you’re reading a typical textbook written in the Midwest, and you live in a place with no trees, no sidewalks, and no elevators. That’s why educators on the North Slope are making a change
From a distance, it can be hard to tell why some rural school districts seem to work better than others…why some have better test scores, higher attendance and graduation rates. In the next installment of our series “being Young in Rural Alaska” from the producers of Kids These Days, Jessica Cochran looks at one Yukon River village – and how the community works together to support the school.
Alaska Native students make up nearly one-quarter of the student body in the state, but only five percent of teachers are Alaska Native. And new research from UAA shows despite years of effort, it’s been difficult to get more Native educators into Alaska Schools. In the next installment of our “Being Young in rural Alaska” series, from the producers of Kids These Days, Sarah Gonzales takes a closer look at the problem.
This week we’re bringing you the first in a new reporting series from the producers of Kids These Days! In twelve reports from across the state, they’re asking the question: “What’s it like to be young in rural Alaska?” Today, Sarah Gonzales in Kake and Anne Hillman in Barrow find out why teaching indigenous language to children is so important.