Promoting access to education through volunteering in Alaska

May 3, 2019

Volunteering with Alaska Commission on Post-Secondary leads to second-grade students exploring future careers

 

Volunteering in the communities we live and work in is something Stantec is passionate about. Adam Leggett, Alaska Native Program Manager in Anchorage, AK, volunteers with the Alaska Commission on Post Secondary (ACPE), an organization that promotes access to and success in education and career training. 

Adam got into volunteering through Kids2College (a program also put on by ACPE). “This nationwide program is designed for students typically in the sixth grade. It’s part of a six-lesson curriculum that helps prepare themselves better for college and career success,” he said, “due to the remote locations of many of the schools in Alaska, the students participate through virtual career panels.” Adam and the rest of the panel talk about who they are, how their careers progressed, what they wanted to be when they were younger, and how education helped them get where they are. “It gets kids thinking about opportunities beyond the ones they see everyday in villages where they’re from, “ Adam said. 

 

Adam Leggett reading I Know I Can to the second graders.

 

Another one of ACPE’s initiatives is the I Know I Can program. Adam thought it was a really neat idea and wanted to participate. “It’s a curriculum they’ve developed with volunteers,” he said. “The volunteers read a book to second grade students about the basics of college planning.” This sends a message that college and higher education is possible and to start thinking about it early on in life. “There are life lessons in the book about going after your passions, not slacking off, doing your homework,” Adam said. After each page in the book, the kids recite together, “I know I can” to let everyone know they can go to college.

Once the book is read to the students, they break off into groups and draw their career dreams on postcards and present them to the rest of the class. “The drawings are given back to the kids after two years,” Adam said. “This way, they can look back at what they wanted to be in second grade which hopefully gives them the motivation to keep going.”

KTVA-TV, a major local news source in Alaska, stopped by the I Know I Can event at the Alaska Native Cultural Charter School to do a morning segment called Workforce Wednesdays. Because Stantec is a School Business Partner with the Alaska Native Cultural Charter School, Adam had the opportunity to chat with them and talk about why it’s important for these programs to exist. Watch the segment here.

Our efforts in trying to help out local communities in Alaska don’t go unrecognized—the Principal for Alaska Native Cultural Charter School submitted Stantec for the Spirit of Tomorrow Awards. It was announced on April 24, and although we didn’t win, it’s nice to be acknowledged. These awards are presented to educators, business, and students who inspire Alaska’s youth to pursue their dreams and foster collaborations between local schools and businesses. 

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