Friends of Alaska PYLI is one of five winners of a special judging of the Daily Point of Light Award that seeks to recognize organizations and volunteers who are making a difference in the lives of vulnerable children and families and meeting the critical communities needs through their efforts. Marking National Family Volunteer Day (Novmebr 19, 2005) and National Family Week (November 20-26, 2005), these awards honor and celebrate individuals, families, organizations, and volunteer efforts that strengthen the bonds between neighbors and build more connected communities where families can thrive.
Learn more about how volunteering strengthens families and transforms neighborhoods.
Friends of Alaska PYLI is composed of 100 caring adults who have joined forces over the last eight years in a coalition giving youth and families, especially less fortunate, opportunities to give back to their communities through personal service. Their connecting partners include: Alaska Division of Juvenile Justice, Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals, Alaska Association for Student Governments, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Anchorage, Mountain View Boys & Girls Club, Boy Scouts Western Alaska Council, Anchorage Senior Center, Chugachmiut Native Corporation, AmeriCorps Volunteers, Communities In Schools Alaska, Anchorage Youth Advisory Commission, University of Alaska Upward Bound, Prudential Jack White Vista Real Estate, Key Bank of Alaska, and Anchorage Daily News.
The organization developed an innovative Alaskan Seasons of Service strategy to involve diverse youth, adults, families, seniors, and agencies to promote meaningful volunteer service. They emphasize skill building, tool sharing, participant diversity, hands-on intergenerational service and community connection. They focus on human and social needs of disadvantaged such as the isolation senior citizens feel, lack of basic supplies homeless experience, absence of positive role models some children face, and disconnection/disempowerment young people feel in their communities. Friends of Alaska PYLI organize multi-age projects on major national days of service with special days such as National Kids Day and Thank Your Mentor Day.
The ongoing service activities began in 1998 continuing in every day volunteer service activities such as mentoring, training, facilitating, project organizing, fund-raising, grant-writing, and community service leadership. The cornerstone of the community impact is their eight-year commitment to the Prudential Spirit of Community Initiative encouraging volunteer service by young people.
Thousands of youth, families and agencies have benefited because of many projects Friends have started and sustained. They include but are not limited to: President’s Volunteer Service Awards in Alaska since 2003 and yearly in the Spring to youth, & families; small $ 500-$ 2,500 grants for MLK Jr. Day, NYSD, and Join Hands Day community activities; mentoring hundreds of youth who have received local and national recognition for their service; creation of BSA Venturing Unit # 508 for youth 15-22 emphasizing Venturing Through Service since 2003; Prudential Spirit of Community Youth Service Recognition Ceremony since 1999 honoring Prudential Spirit of Community Award & PVSA winners, and PYLI Youth Leadership graduates uplifting 1000 youth and families; National Youth Service Day projects since 1998, Join Hands Day projects since 2000, National Make A Difference Day projects since 1999, September 11 National Day of Service projects since 2003, Martin Luther King Jr. Day projects since 2000; and 20 Points of Light Youth Leadership Institutes (Alaska PYLI) training 600 students and adults from 15 different Alaskan communities since 1998. Through Friends of PYLI Alaska youth and families serving together have addressed real needs of seniors, disadvantaged children, local parks, homeless, public library and the sick.