Nenana Wellness Coalition
April 28, 2015
The Nenana Wellness Coalition is an alliance of representatives from various organizations, government agencies, community groups and individuals that meets weekly to discuss, evaluate, coordinate, consolidate, celebrate, masticate and help implement plans for improving the wellness and quality of life in Nenana Alaska.
We had 12 participants today: Bonnie Reed, Kat & Leon McElroy, Natalie Wong, Megan Spencer, Chuck Hugny, Shirley Holmberg, Carol Wright, Virginia Young, David Poppe, Tim Horn and Mary Alexander. We enjoyed chicken vegetable soup, mixed green salad, pecans with raisins, and sliced cheese with Ritz crackers for lunch.
WELCOME followed by the READING OF MISSION STATEMENT: By this week’s chairperson, Bonnie Reed
PRESENTATION OF AGENDA AND CALL FOR MODIFICATIONS: No additions to the agenda as presented.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Posted on the WIN link at http://www.railbelt.org and submitted electronically to the WIN e-list.
INTRODUCTION OF GUESTS: Shirley Holmberg introduced herself; she is the project coordinator for the TCC Circles of Care program based out of Fairbanks serving 21 communities in the Interior.
Freecycle: Jeannie Bennett texted Kat and asked her to announce that the next Freecycle has been scheduled for the evening of May 8th, 5:30 PM, at the Nenana RV Park. She wanted people to know that yellow plastic bags for will be available there and then for people interested in getting an early start on Clean Up Day,
Nenana Clean Up Day: Clean Up Day has been set for May 15th. Annalee has asked Derek to take her place coordinating the school’s participation in this activity this year as she will be out of town. Historically the city has hauled away trash bags and the native council has taken lead on removing larger items: appliances, furniture and household goods and the Borough Landfill has donated tippage fees but Kat says there is no word yet what entity is stepping up to dispose of the trash bags, not do we know yet where the bags will be taken. Megan mentioned that the Native Council has an ALPAR (Alaska Litter Prevention and Recycling) grant that will pay for up to five positions for ongoing litter patrol two times a week for one hour for youth between ages 7 and 14.
Circles of Care: Shirley Holmberg opened her remarks by telling us a little bit about her life. She was born in Tanana, Alaska, but when she was seven years old her family was relocated to East LA where she lived until she was ten. They returned then to Alaska where she lived in Tanana and Northway. She recalled meeting many people from Nenana during the big flood in 1967, when Nenana-ites were staying at the Barnette School in Fairbanks. She was in and out of foster care and juvenile placement during her teen years and had a difficult life until she got sober in her 30’s. She recalled working her first job for TCC when she was 21 years old; Mitch Demientieff was her boss. She has just begun working for a different program at TCC, as project coordinator for a community health outreach program, Circles of Care.
Circles of Care is a three year planning and infrastructure grant to learn more about how wellness is being addressed for youth ages 0-25. She is tasked with four goals: Increase the ability of health care providers and school districts to recognize and screen for mental health and wellness issues among Alaska Native children and youth; Increase knowledge and integration of Trauma-Informed Care into child and youth mental health and wellness activities throughout the region; Create a comprehensive and coordinated response to Alaska Native child/youth mental health issues among service providers, schools and child-serving agencies, and; Create a culturally responsive mental health and wellness system of care for all Alaska Native children and youth. She will also focus on providing trainings, gathering community needs assessments, conducting community readiness assessments and creating community resource/assets maps for each of 21 villages.
Discussion ensued regarding personal and community wellness and the current status of mental health services delivery in Alaska and specifically in the Interior right now. Tim asked about the funding cuts in Behavioral Health programs in the past several years. Shirley noted that TCC supported clinics no longer limit their services to enrolled tribal members. Kat mentioned that Valerie Davidson continues working for Medicaid expansion for all Alaskans and that the governor has called the state legislature back into overtime session to address this issue, among others. Shirley stated that she hopes that Serena Fitka will be able to come to WIN Meetings; she is in charge of TCC;’s Wellness Project grant, working with communities to develop wellness coalitions such as WIN. Kat stated that three things have helped keep WIN going all these years: we have had our meetings regularly every week, even if there are only going to be three people in attendance, lunch is provided which encourages people to use their lunch time to attend WIN and WIN has come to be perceived in Nenana as an entity to which people can turn if they need help or support for projects.
Lastly, Shirley mentioned several workshops that are available including Trauma-Informed Care3, Systems of Care, QPR and ASSIST suicide prevention and Mental Health First Aid trainings. She mentioned May 7th will be National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. She looks forward to working with us further.
WELLNESS THOUGHT: Hurrah! Green-up has begun!!!!!
Natalie: NCPS is going to be busy:
Exhibitions of Learning will be Thursday evening, 7-9 PM; she encourages everyone to attend to see the students work. She is particularly impressed with the ocean theme the grade school has created on the ceiling in their wing
Prom is May 2 with the Grand March scheduled for 7 PM
State Music Fest will be May 7-9, in Anchorage.
K-12 Spring Concert May 13, 6:30-9 PM
May 17th will be graduation in the gym
May 21st is the last day of school.
Natalie has a busy summer planned: she will be attn=ending three conferences then two culture camps and has a long road trip ahead to bring her vehicle up from Portland. She will be teaching every day next year but is in negotiation with the principle to include WIN into her work schedule.
Shirley: Enjoyed participating in Phlight Club in Allakaket.
Chuck: Has a new group of do-gooder Ninjas. They painted the big N up on the hill white, a chore that had not been attended to for over ten years. They did litter patrol up there while they are at it. They are looking for other projects. If anyone has ideas for other volunteer projects, please email Chuck.
Mary: Work on the school garden is coming up. She and Virginia have been working towards this for four years.
Virginia: Has flyers to post. The NNC has developed an agriculture program. The project goal is to maintain a market garden and establish a garden market. They are hiring now for a project manager, approximately 10 hours a week. Requirements: gardening experience and ability to work outside and supervise a small crew. They are also hiring garden/market workers, four positions. Applications can be picked up at the Rec Center, after 3 PM, and the closing date for hire will be May 6. For further information, contact Virginia at: 978-1952.
Kat: Will be gone next week; she and Jessica will be in Anchorage attending the Annual School of Addiction Studies, so someone else will need to take care of food and minutes. Kat created a Nenana Urban Farm FaceBook page and invites everyone to click on there to watch a video Tara posted of David helping to deliver Bessie’s latest calf.
David: His former boss, Tom Perry, who works for Fed Ex now is looking for anyone willing to serve as a drop point for Fed Ex in Nenana.
Tim: Baha’i celebration Wednesday night at Bonnie’s, 3 PM.
May 12th Virginia will be presenting about peony production for WIN; June 16th Bart Garber from Toghotthele will give us a presentation.
Megan: Nenana Community Garden plots are available; anyone interested in one should call to claim yours now.
ADJOURNMENT: 2:10 PM