SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Raven’s Way program thanks Sitka for its support
By Rebecca Howe


January 16, 2012

 Dear Editor,

Over the course of a year, the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Yéil Jeeyáx Raven's Way adolescent residential substance abuse treatment center receives support from several organizations and individuals in Sitka. Raven's Way thanks those who have provided this support and helped our students be successful.

Mr. Ed Peele has been the leader of our sweat lodges for many years now. His connection with the students is very powerful as he leads them through this spiritual experience. With great gratitude we say thank you to Mr. Peele for volunteering his time and expertise. Gunalchéesh.

Nancy Douglas, Charlie Skulka, and Herman and Vita Davis helped provide culturally rich programming for the students, including sharing traditional Tingít knowledge, the making of devil’s club salve and a traditional halibut skate that was utilized in a HooHaa (halibut fishing) experience. The students appreciated the sharing of this knowledge and talked of their experience long after it was completed.

Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (NSRAA) provided the program with 10 beautiful king salmon which we served to our students here in Sitka and when they were at our camp on Biorka Island. This is good healthy traditional food and we appreciate having it available for our program.

Sitka Sound Seafood provided us with sweatshirts and other rewards which we used in our Biorka Store. During their stay at Raven's Way, our students participate in the Biorka Buck program, which provides Biorka Bucks for good behavior and during their stay they can use the Biorka Bucks to buy items from the Biorka Store.

The Salvation Army provided Gatorade which also was used within the Biorka Store. The students really appreciated this.

The wonderful quilters at Sitka Lutheran Church donate quilts for our students every year. These quilts not only help keep our students warm, they help give our facility a home like atmosphere.

Fortress of the Bear has allowed us to bring our students into their facility as part of our bear safety class. Seeing live bears during class really helps to make the lesson a reality for our students and seeing farm animals is often a new experience and fun.

It is because of the support these individuals and businesses in Sitka and Southeast Alaska provide us that Raven's Way has become one of the most successful youth substance treatment programs in the country. We have served more than 1,200 students from more than 147 Alaska communities over the past 22 years, providing these students with the strength and skills they need for a healthy lifestyle.

Thank you for your support. We couldn't do it without you. Gunalchéesh. Háw'aa.


Rebecca Howe
Manager, Yéil Jeeyáx Raven's Way Program
Sitka, AK


Received January 13, 2012 - Published January 16, 2012



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Ketchikan, Alaska