Wednesday, September 15, 2010

VISTA Update!

It's fall in Fairbanks!  Included, are a few pictures I've taken over the past couple weeks of Alaska's changing colors.  The rest can be found on my Facebook profile.  To go along with these, here’s a quick update with what I have going on here within my VISTA role as well as outside of work:

1) I had a blast attending the RHYTTAC Conference with my colleagues in Anchorage last week where we came up with some steps to start a statewide network of agencies improving the at-risk youth population.  During my visit, I was able to hang with Hannah Torkelson and Hannah Albazari, two other VISTAs in Anchorage.

2) I’m in the final stages of starting up an exclusive art club for my homeless youth drop-in center with a local business called Chartreuse that will feature creative arts in sculpture, painting, sketching, and construction.  The first project our client participants will work on is a rather large, public Haunted House to be featured at the end of October in Chartreuse’s basement.  This will get our clients involved in their community, help them expand their creative skills, and learn new skills pertaining to future jobs they might encounter.

3) I’m in the final stages of starting up an exclusive radio show for my homeless youth drop-in center with UAF’s radio station KSUA called The SOAP Opera.  (SOAP stands for Street Outreach & Advocacy Program.)  We’ll be on the air Wednesdays from 2-4pm and can be heard on 91.5FM in the Fairbanks area or online worldwide at  This will help our clients explore their creative side, provide publicity for SOAP and awareness of their population, and expand their job skills training.

4) I’m running the Equinox Marathon this Saturday morning - yes, all 26.2 grueling miles of it.  It starts at UAF, runs along miles and miles of ski trails, some local roads, then 4000 feet of total elevation change up/down Ester Dome before heading back to UAF for the finish.  I’m doing the race in memory of my cousin Joe Vogel, who passed away to cancer a little over a month ago and has been a huge inspiration in my life and others.  You can read my cause and story here:  Donations are gladly accepted, as well.  This will be my sixth marathon since 2006.  I’m looking for a top-10 and sub-3 hour, 30 minute finish, too.  :)

I’m loving living in Fairbanks and Alaska in general. It’s far from Minneapolis, but there’s enough similarities in nature and personality here that it feels like my home away from home.  As much as I’m not really looking forward to the -40 degree temperatures and winter darkness, I’m thinking the amazing northern lights and endless xc ski trails will completely make up for it.  Maybe check back with me in January and ask me that question again, haha.

I hope everyone else is doing well!  Until next time, peace out.

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