GCI, VOA, and Kaladi Bros. Partner to Support Alaskans During National Recovery Month
There are three different coffee sleeve designs available at Kaladi Brothers Coffee Anchorage cafes. Each sleeve is designed to be thought-provoking and a conversation starter so community members will think about how they can positively reach out to someone in recovery.
National Recovery Month campaign to educate Alaskans on youth substance misuse and mental health concerns
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.
In This Issue
Spreading the Word
When Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) first aired TV commercials featuring the tagline, “A Place That’s Always Been,” the reaction was surprising. Not only because they received numerous accolades and marketing awards for the campaign but because, at the time, it was rare for Alaska Native corporations to market themselves through the media.