More than 50 students from the Alaska Job Corps Center walked the talk against violence in Alaska at the Choose Respect March held in Wasilla on Thursday, March 23.
During the march, the students led with a “Choose Respect” banner and carried multiple posters proclaiming everything from “You are loved” to “Choose love” and “Stop the violence.” Alaska Job Corps students then listened to speeches by Wasilla Mayor Bert Cottle, a representative from Governor Walker’s office and from a survivor of domestic abuse. After the speeches, the students and other marchers released purple balloons into the air as they shouted the word “RESPECT” as a demonstration of their commitment to stopping violent behavior in Alaska.
Alaska Job Corps’ Youth to Youth Partners for Peace (Y2Y P4P) group and the Student Government Association led the charge in organizing and conducting the march for the Alaska Job Corps Center participants. In spring 2015, Y2Y P4P was initiated at Job Corps Centers across the nation to organize and take action to stop violence in the United States. The Y2Y group at Alaska Job Corps is committed to preventing bullying, youth violence, domestic violence and the consequences of bullying and violence both on the Alaska Job Corps Center and across the state of Alaska. The Y2Y group not only talks about aggression and bullying, but they empower Alaska Job Corps students to find solutions that make a difference against violence.
“Getting out into the community at events like this really shows the spirit of our student body,” said Kyla Peria, an Alaska Job Corps student and member of the Y2Y group. “I was so moved by this experience and it really feels great to be involved with Y2Y because I feel like this group is so important to our center. I am truly excited to continue our participation in future events like these.”
Y2Y group leaders like Kyla are currently creating a short video commercial about Alaska Job Corps’ commitment against bullying and other forms of violence. The commercial will feature the reasons why stopping violence is so important. They hope to distribute their commercial to local media as well as YouTube and Facebook.
“We are so proud of our Y2Y group and the other students at our Center that demonstrate Job Corps’ pledge against violence on an everyday basis,” said Alaska Job Corps’ Center Director Malyn Smith. “Youth violence, bullying and domestic violence take a tremendous toll on individuals and families in our community and across the state. The Choose Respect March is just one example of how our students are true champions of the vow against violence.”
The Choose Respect March is an annual event sponsored by Alaska Family Services in an effort to restore respect in our community and help victims and survivors heal from violence.
The Alaska Job Corps Center is a federally funded career training program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor and managed by Chugach Educational Services, Inc. The Center is committed to providing the highest quality programs for young adults by offering instructions in academics, trades and life skills through innovative methods that respond to the unique individual and group needs of today’s youth.
Photo credits: Carin Meyer. Story for Job Corps by Carin Meyer.