Tell us about the exciting new funding from the Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation:
Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation (NSEDC) recently gave $100,000 to the City of Nome to be used for youth
projects. I presented a grant proposal to the city council asking for a portion of the funding needed for a discipleship/mentoring
program based on traditional subsistance activities and improved relationships with elders and adults. The city granted $15,000 of the $40,000 needed for the program. A shop space for the project is already available behind James's house where kids will be able to participate in exciting and significant activites like sled and kayak building, net making and wood or ivory carving, all taught by Native elders. Participating students will then go on outings to use the items they made, gather food in a fun way and enjoy God's beautiful country.
What is one of the biggest challenges amongst youth in Nome?
Unstable home lives and neglect are the biggest challenges that young people face in Nome. Many parents did not receive adequate care during their own childhoods and have difficulties providing proper care for their kids. Many of our youth do not receive appropriate discipline or boundaries from adults. Drugs and especially alcohol are cheaper and more readily available here and many parents have substance abuse issues that have negative impacts on family economic situations, provide access and expose minors to alcohol and drugs, and lead to physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Rates of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder are among the highest in the nation and those children afflicted will have lifelong cognitive impairments for understanding cause and effect, and moral consequences Education is not always a priority for kids who grow up in these situations and many are several grades behind in reading, writing and math scores. All of this is directly linked to the lifestyles of parents or their inability to provide a stable home life.
Additionally, Nome is a city, not a village and it lacks some of the advantages of the smaller communities. Families that move here are dependant on a cash economy to be successful in a community where jobs are limited or require high school graduates. Kids miss out on the day to day activites that are available and necessary in the villages, hauling wood and water, hunting and fishing, and gathering other foods. These activities could promote family health and unity.
What are some recent events you have done with youth in Nome?
We have a Bible Club in our home for Jr. and Sr. High students on Monday night. The kids come over to our house for dinner, followed by Bible study, scripture memorization and then dessert. Last month we went through the book of Esther and the students learned that despite their individual circumstances, their life can have meaning and purpose because God cares for His people and has a plan for them. This month we are starting Genesis.
We have kids in our house many nights each week; they come for food, fellowship and a safe, warm place to be for a couple of hours. Recently we went to Elim for the Nine of the Jr. High Fall Blast and of the eleven students that went with us, nine of them are kids that come to our house for Bible Club. Their families don't attend church, but some have been coming to the regular youth group at the church and two or three will now eagerly attend Sunday morning services with us. This gives us great reason to rejoice, because one of our main goals with youth is to integrate them into the full body of Christ.
The weekend before the Fall Blast retreat, several of our regular Jr. High students came over to our house for the very first project in the shop. We all made jigging sticks for ice fishing, and after lunch we went to the small boat harbor and caught a whole bunch of tasty tomcod. None of the kids had any experience with tools and so it was an exciting (if complicated) process teaching them the necessary woodworking skill to finish the job. The kids had a lot of fun, are eager to go again and have invited their friends to join us next time.
How can supporters be praying for CYAK’s ministry in Nome?
• Pray for the rest of the funding to come in for the shop project. We still need $25,000 to purchase the rest of the tools and equipment necessary for the larger projects, like snowshoes, boats and sleds.
• Pray for a safe and reliable vehicle for us. Our current vehicle is small utility vehicle that only seats three people and is very cold in the winter time. We often have need to be able to drive 6 to 8 kids around and would like a used suburban or SUV. There are several around town but they are currently out of our price range.
• Pray for the youth of Nome. We see evidence of abuse or neglect in many of their lives everyday. We cannot protect them all, we cannot feed them all, but most importantly we cannot save any of their souls. We know their lives and souls are in Gods hands so please pray that as they Holy Spirit speaks to them, they would have eyes to see and ears to hear our message that God loves them, bought them and wants them.
Covenant Youth of Alaska | PO Box 203356 | Anchorage, AK 99520 | phone: 907.625.1525 | fax: 888.583.4124 | email@example.com
A ministry of the Alaska Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church