September 1, 2020
National Recovery Month campaign to educate Alaskans on youth substance misuse and mental health concerns
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Through the company’s charitable arm, GCI Gives, GCI is working with Volunteers of America Alaska to support Alaskans in recovery in September. The company is encouraging conversations about recovery to help eliminate the stigma associated with seeking help for substance misuse and mental health concerns. These efforts are all a part of VOA Alaska’s participation in National Recovery Month.
Custom VOA Alaska designed coffee sleeves, inspired by artwork from VOA Alaska youth in recovery, will be available at Kaladi Brothers Coffee cafes in Anchorage to help serve as a guide in navigating tough conversations about mental health and substance misuse. One of the sleeves depicts entangled red ropes symbolizing recovery, another highlights reaching the peak of a summit with a helper. Each of the three versions is meant to prompt those receiving their coffee to acknowledge the twists, turns and triumphs that happen throughout the recovery process. (See attached picture.)
“We want these coffee sleeves to be a gateway to conversation for Alaskans,” said Paul Landes, VOA Board Chair and Senior Vice President and General Manager of GCI Consumer Services. “To support a loved one in recovery can be as simple as having a check-in over coffee, and that’s why it’s so important to get this messaging out there to support youth in Alaska who may be struggling.”
GCI will help promote the program by featuring Recovery Month messaging on its social media channels and through its partnership with iHeart Radio. GCI is a leading sponsor of VOA Alaska.
VOA Alaska’s team of behavioral health professionals support Alaska’s youth through a variety of substance misuse and mental health programs. This year marks 31 years of the nation’s observance of Recovery Month in September. In VOA Alaska’s first year of advocating for a robust community conversation about recovery in Alaska, it is encouraging Alaskans to learn more about what recovery means and the resources available to support those seeking and maintaining recovery.
“It will take all of us together to fight the lasting impacts of trauma, addiction, suicide, and mental illness in our community," said Sherrie Wilson Hinshaw, president and CEO of VOA Alaska. “We are honored to partner with GCI and Kaladi Brothers Coffee as we continue to support and empower Alaska’s youth. This Recovery Month, we’re looking forward to engaging Alaskans in a discussion on the mental health issues facing our young people. Together, we can create a community of hope, health and healing where our youth can truly thrive.”
Since 1981, VOA Alaska has served Alaska’s most vulnerable citizens. Today, VOA Alaska supports youth through behavioral health counseling, permanent supportive housing, and a number of public health services, such as its Kinship Family program.
Three GCI employees serving on the board at VOA Alaska and are committed to helping highlight the important work being done, and to also shine a light on what still needs to be accomplished.
“VOA Alaska encompasses two major pieces of our mission with GCI Gives, to support Alaska’s youth and to destigmatize and educate on mental health disorders,” said Michael Schmidt, VOA board member and Senior Marketing Manager at GCI. “VOA Alaska is essential in our community in helping young people learn important life skills to give them a second chance at life. We’re also thankful to Kaladi Brothers Coffee for helping start these conversations to uplift and help fellow Alaskans.”
GCI is one of Alaska’s leaders in corporate philanthropy, donating approximately $2 million each year in cash, products and connectivity to organizations across the state. GCI is committed to giving back to the communities it serves and provides employees with 16 hours of paid leave to volunteer with local organizations. In 2019, nearly 550 GCI employees volunteered more than 5,300 hours.
For more information about GCI Gives, visit https://www.gci.com/why-gci/gcigives.
GCI provides data, mobile, video, voice and managed services to consumer and business customers throughout Alaska. GCI has delivered services for over 40 years to some of the most remote communities and in some of the most challenging conditions in North America. Learn more about GCI at www.gci.com. GCI is a wholly owned subsidiary of GCI Liberty, Inc. (Nasdaq: GLIBA, GLIBP). Learn more about GCI Liberty at www.gciliberty.com.
About VOA Alaska
As an Alaska direct-service nonprofit organization, VOA Alaska has focused on serving Alaska’s most vulnerable since 1981. Today, our behavioral health professionals educate and support youth struggling with substance misuse and mental health. Our public health team is on the front line of prevention, working to strengthen and promote healthy communities. Our Kinship Family program supports Alaskans taking care of relative children. Learn more about how VOA Alaska is supporting the recovery journeys of Alaska youth at voaak.org/recovery.