It’s a bittersweet time at KNOM as we bid farewell to each of the five outstanding volunteers whose work and personality has so brightened our mission: not only within our studio walls, but throughout the communities we serve.
As we say goodbye — to Dayneé, Emily, Tara, Zach, and Anna Rose (pictured above) — we offer snapshots of their recent writing on this website; each offers a glimpse at what makes our volunteer program special.
“I am going to miss Nome a lot… My time here has not been without its share of challenges, but it has also been a time of great growth…
“(A volunteer’s symbiotic relationship with the community) is the most beautiful thing about the KNOM program. Both the community and myself feel they got more out of it than the other, and what we give and take comes with no strings attached.”
“Here (in rural Alaska), community is more than people knowing my face or calling my name. It’s attending meetings and walks and celebrations and seeing the town come together, again and again and inexhaustibly again, investing their time and support in this place they call home and taking ownership of each other… in Nome, a person is more than the sum of what they occupationally produce.”
Emily Bieniek, in her “sign-off” blog post, offers many reasons for gratitude and, in this excerpt, speaks to the region we serve directly:
“I have been overwhelmed by your generosity for the past year. Thank you for investing so much of your time, energy, and resources in me, and for showing me the beauty of this region. I will try to emulate your generosity after I leave, and I will do my best to educate people in the Lower 48 about life in Western Alaska. Thank you for a wonderful year on top of the world.”
Tara Cicatello shares her excitement at imparting the stewardship of our station to our next class of volunteers:
“I’ve enjoyed passing on the torch (to the new volunteers)… introducing them to new people and places and orienting them in their new home for the year. They are most definitely a fun bunch full of life and ready for the challenge… The station is in good hands.”
As for her own volunteer time, Tara says she “wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
Reporter Zachariah Hughes, finally, writes on continuing to grow, both professionally and personally, right through his final weeks at the station:
“I am doing, and have done, way more than I’d hoped during my time in Alaska… In few other places, and with few employers like KNOM, would a 25-year-old with a year of work experience be allowed to hop around on planes for cool stories. I feel lucky and like I’ve done well.”
While we will greatly miss all of our 2013-14 volunteers, we know their service has contributed immeasurably to the life of our region. We can’t thank you enough for making our vitally-needed volunteer program possible. As you can see, their service truly changes lives; we can’t wait to see what the 2014-2015 year holds in store.