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Coastal Villages Launches Second Year of “Ciuneq” Program


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Anchorage, AK – Coastal Villages Region Fund (CVRF) has wrapped up the second year of its ninth-grade focused Ciuneq program, designed to give high-achieving students in Western Alaska an opportunity to explore educational pathways and careers that will be available to them if they continue to work hard in high school.

In September, 40 ninth graders from the CVRF region participated in four days of intensive educational institution tours, discussions with an elder from Chevak, and mentoring with recipients of CVRF’s Louis Bunyan Memorial scholarships. “Ciuneq”, a Yupik word meaning “a path or way forward,” is made possible through a partnership between CVRF and the Take Wing program managed by the Alaska Humanities Forum. The average GPA of students who participated in the 2017 program was 3.64, and youth came from the Lower Kuskokwim, Lower Yukon, and Kashunamiut School Districts.

“It’s awesome to see such growth in Ciuneq participants in less than a week,” said CVRF’s Programs Coordinator, Gwen Andrew. “Youth quickly became comfortable speaking in front of the group, and asking questions to instructors and college students who they have just met. It gave me joy to hear students share things like, ‘I think I want to be a nurse now’ or, ‘I want to go to AVTEC!’ because that’s what Ciuneq is about: showing youth opportunities that are available to anyone willing to work for them.”

During their time in Anchorage, the participants visited University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) and Alaska Pacific University (APU) to learn more about educational options. John Pingayak, an elder from Chevak, facilitated several evening sessions, along with previous CVRF interns currently enrolled at UAF and UAA.

After the Anchorage sessions, students traveled to Seward to visit AVTEC – Alaska’s Institute of Technology, where they met program instructors in various departments and built knowledge about vocational preparation. With the Maritime Department, participants used ship and crane simulators, conducted fire-fighting exercises, and learned about maritime safety.

Pictures of the Ciuneq program activities are available on CVRF’s Facebook page. Hard-working students from across our region will be asked to submit applications for next year beginning in August 2018.


CVRF is a 501(c)(4) Alaska non-profit corporation whose 20 member villages are along the west coast of Alaska from Scammon Bay to Platinum. CVRF is believed to be the largest Alaskan-owned seafood company in history and is governed by a 20-member Board of Directors elected by the residents of its 20 member communities. CVRF is dedicated to providing economic development in its 20 member communities by creating sensible, tangible and long-term opportunities that generate Hope for residents who want to Fish and Work. CVRF is the first CDQ group to own and control the vessels that harvest its CDQ allocations.

For more information, visit www.CoastalVillages.org and www.facebook.com/CoastalVillagesRegionFund.

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