Solutions Desk Alaska, like every other state, has problems. But it also has solutions. Some are new and innovative, and some are centuries old. Each week Alaska Public Media's Solutions Desk will highlight what's happening around the state that's making our communities stronger.
Solutions Desk

Solutions Desk

From Alaska Public Media

Alaska, like every other state, has problems. But it also has solutions. Some are new and innovative, and some are centuries old. Each week Alaska Public Media's Solutions Desk will highlight what's happening around the state that's making our communities stronger.

Most Recent Episodes

Can opening a liquor store solve alcohol-related problems?

Alcohol abuse is an issue throughout the country, even in areas where it's illegal. Banning alcohol doesn't always solve the problem, so should communities try swinging the other way and make it more available? Could opening a liquor store help a community, not harm it? The village of Kiana in northwest Alaska is finding out – and reviews are mixed.

Turning a temporary stay into long-term stability, 30 days at a time

Life at the Fairbanks Rescue Mission isn't bad — the beds are warm, the people are supportive, and it's safe. But for some, the emergency homeless shelter was too comfortable. People wouldn't leave. So staff developed a new way to send people out the door quickly while helping them stand on their own two feet.

Improving Alaska's Foster Care System

Alaska's foster care system has problems. Caseworkers don't stick around for long. It can take years for young people to find permanent homes or be reunited with their families. But new legislation could provide solutions that will help everyone involved with the system.

Drawing on historical strength to propel youth into the future

Rural Alaska often makes the headlines for what isn't working — high suicide rates, high alcohol usage. But one program in southwest Alaska is drawing from Yup'ik culture to flip that narrative on its head and focusing on the region's strengths. And the research shows, it's making a positive difference in the lives of the young people.

Community in Unity: Life in Limbo

Some people stay at the Fairbanks Correctional Center for a few days. Others are at the pre-trial facility for years. Most of the inmates are living their lives in limbo — awaiting their trials, their sentencing, and their futures. During "Community in Unity: Life in Limbo" about 70 people, including inmates, correctional center staff, and other community members, gathered for an hour-long conversation inside the prison. They shared stories about life behind that walls and what's happening outside the facility to help the people in yellow rejoin the wider community.

Youth turn boring meetings into lifelong skills

Young people make all of the decisions to put together a multi-day conference in Kiana. Though some of the meetings for OPT In Kiana may not seem fun, they have lifelong effects on the young people and their abilities to face challenges.

After a tragedy, a Yup'ik dance group in Hooper Bay keeps dancing

About six years ago community members in Hooper Bay, Alaska worked together to revive a Yup'ik dance group for young people. The idea was to help connect kids to their culture, teach about the effects of alcohol and drugs, and prevent suicide. And it has worked --but not with every kid. Here's why this program matters despite its imperfections.

To prevent suicide, little words can make a big difference

BJ Sherman was having a rough time, and he started seriously thinking about suicide. Then his family stepped in and their little words made a big impact. What they told him might surprise you.

Building resilience through basketballs and berries

What makes a healthy community? What makes young people in a Alaska village thrive? Here's the formula that's working well for Noatak, a community in the northwest Arctic.

Changing the mindset of the healthcare system

For most healthcare systems, mental health and physical health are two separate issues. Not at one of the largest healthcare providers in Alaska, where doctors and behavioral health consultants work together with a new mindset.

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