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t’s a special time of year — where thousands of Alaskans gather to meet up with friends, learn about issues affecting their families, and hear from those making a positive impact in the Alaska Native Community.

Ask your friends and family if they are okay. Connection is the solution. Relating to those who are suicidal and helping them through the challenges they are facing is crucial to supporting loved ones through crisis. If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide, speak out and connect with those around you; don’t carry the weight alone. Mental health is part of overall wellness.

Alaska leads the nation in domestic violence. More than half of Alaska’s women have experienced either domestic or sexual violence. Every Alaskan regardless of age, race, culture, or status deserves to live free from harm and fear of domestic violence. Every year, Southcentral Foundation highlights the work of the Family Wellness Warriors Initiative, a program established by President/CEO Katherine Gottlieb in 1999.

Southcentral Foundation’s Native Men’s Wellness Program is dedicated to improving the health of Alaska Native and American Indian men through events and training that address the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of their lives.

CF RAISE interns held a car wash to raise money for the Employee and Community Assistance Fund. ECAF is an SCF program that provides immediate and temporary financial assistance for necessities of life to people who have encountered financial hardship for reasons beyond their control.

For the past 25 years, SCF has provided home visiting services for pregnant women and their families. Originally aiming to improve the post-neonatal infant mortality rate of Alaska Native infants, the program has evolved to focus on improving pregnancy outcomes, children’s health outcomes, family wellness, and children’s readiness for school.

Southcentral Foundation employees enjoy helping others, as showcased during the Elder Program’s annual Day of Caring event. Each year, many SCF employees spend their workday assisting Elder customer-owners in taking care of household tasks.

Beautiful laminate floors, an arctic entry, and additional space are the most obvious changes stemming from the renovation of Southcentral Foundation’s Elder Program.

Former RAISE interns Jazmin and Toni Taylor are Tlingit, Athabaskan, and Ta’an Kwach’an — First Nations people of the Yukon Territory.

Outgoing, bubbly, and energetic is a good way to describe Melissa Bunch; known to her friends and peers as Mel, she also is a cancer survivor. The National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation defines a survivor as anyone living with a history of cancer — from the moment of diagnosis, through the remainder of life.