High school students in Koyuk organized and led a workshop for their peers on preventing bullying and substance abuse. They also made pamphlets and posters about alcoholism, drugs, and smoking.
“These are kids I worked with for 3 years,” teacher Amanda Trower told KNOM listeners, “and now, they’re actually getting to step up and be the leaders that they’ve been learning how to be.” Trower says “narrowing it down” for their first student-led workshop was a challenge: “it was hard to focus just on bullying and substance abuse — we also wanted to talk about some other issues that we had seen.” But the plan was to host a year-end assembly for the village’s elementary school students.
“The goal is to work in prevention,” says Megan Juneau, Youth Engagement Coordinator at the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. ANDVSA provided crucial guidance in developing the Koyuk workshop. “We’re trying to prevent victims from happening in the first place. If you start with youth, who are passionate and smart, and able to engage and learn, then hopefully, the goal is that they learn social skills and decision-making skills that will protect them as they go into adulthood.”
Image at top: More than 25 students attended Koyuk’s student-led anti-bullying and substance abuse workshop. Photo courtesy of Koyuk Malimiut School.