Program Gives Rural Students Glimpse into Post High School Life

logo-w-sunburstKayla Desroches/KMXT

A five-day event will prepare local Kodiak students to enter the world after high school.

Fifty-five rural students from communities around Kodiak will participate in the second year of the Positive Youth Pathways event through KANA’s Kodiak Transition Age Youth Coalition, or TAY. The coalition draws on the participation and partnership from many different agencies around the archipelago.

Mary Marsh, KANA tribal vocational rehab counselor, says it’ll give the students the resources they wouldn’t have otherwise.

“So, what we do is we bring all the rural students in of middle school and high school ages from all the outlying villages including Chiniak and Danger Bay, and then we have 10 slots for the town students, so we bring all the students in, and we do basically post high-school planning whether it be going onto college or vocational school or starting their own businesses.”

It’s a project they’ve been able to do through a grant from the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, which awarded them $50,000 annually for a three year period.

Marsh says the first year they did field trips with the students, and they have since added job shadowing to the schedule.

“What we realized is that most of the students in the villages have a really good idea of what they want to do. They just need to connect some of the dots. So, we’re sending them to the job site that they said they wanted to work in so that they can talk to the employer so that they ended up in that career, the steps that they took to get there.”

She says many students have expressed interest in aviation, nursing, early childhood counseling, and welding.

Marsh says TAY’s goal is to draw on the resources from their partners so that when the grant is over they don’t lose the event and its advantages to the children involved.

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