Association of Village Council Presidents

Healthy Families Program
Garrett Lee Smith Tribal

Association of Village Council Presidents will develop and implement the Healthy Families Program, a community based suicide prevention program. The program will reach Alaska Native youth at risk for suicide or suicide attempts by creating a comprehensive culturally appropriate safety net in each of these communities. The first step is to form a strong, widely represented, well-informed and trained Suicide Prevention Coalition in each community. The Coalition will draft a Suicide Prevention Plan. The Plan will have two purposes: to give the community direction and to get everyone thinking about suicide prevention.  The Coalition will be the driving force behind incorporating cultural activities into the youth program; it is here that we will find adult volunteers to present traditional activities to youth such as building a qasiq, a fish camp, story circles, traditional crafts such as grass baskets and a mentoring program. The safety net will include the school as a strong and involved partner and implement the Zuni Life curriculum. A critical part of the safety net is to have a strong, vibrant, culturally-appropriate youth program; a place to implement cultural activities and traditional teachings, a place where the community can celebrate their young people. Sustainability is built into this program because a critical component to the program is recruiting, training and employing community volunteers. Strong partnerships with the schools are essential and part of this project. The project goal is the prevention of suicide in each community. The AVCP Healthy Families Program will serve the Alaska Native Villages of Alakanuk, Chevak, Hooper Bay and Scammon Bay. The villages are among the poorest in America, almost 100% Alaska Native and have the highest suicide rate in the country. 3,317 people will be served by this project.