Thrive Mat-Su photo contest

Local students ages 12 to 20 are eligible to join the contest.

WASILLA — Thrive Mat-Su is holding a photography contest to showcase local talent while promoting the group’s overall mission to support local youth with a series of activities and programs that encourage healthy and socially connected lifestyles.

“The purpose behind Thrive is helping students avoid the pitfalls of substance abuse,” Thrive Mat-Su Youth Program Coordinator Matt Clayton said.

United Way of Mat-Su oversees Thrive Mat-Su, a community-led coalition made up of locals from all walks of life with the core mission to support local youth and prevent substance misuse through a range of programs, fundraisers and public projects.

According to Clayton, participating photographs will have an opportunity to earn gift cards by demonstrating how they’ve risen above drugs and alcohol.

The contest is open to local student photographers ages 12 to 20. For every 10 approved photos, students will receive $10 gift cards to Fred Meyer or Target. Approved photographers will be entered for the chance to be narrowed down as one of the top three finalists. First place wins a $75 gift card, second place receives a $50 gift card, and third place receives a $25 gift card.

Clayton noted that this is also an opportunity for the Valley’s young photographers to use their skills to encourage other students to live above the influence of drugs and alcohol.

“The theme of the contest is answering the question, ‘how do you thrive above the influence of drugs and alcohol?’ We’re pretty liberal on our interpretation of that question. We’ve got a pretty wide variety of photos that have been submitted; but the ideal photos would be photos of teens doing activities that they enjoy and they’re passionate about, and helps them live a healthy life holistically, that they don’t feel the need for drugs and alcohol,” Clayton said.

Those interested in joining the contest are asked to text the word “Thrive” to 907-745-5826 to fill out an activity and interest survey. After the survey, students will receive a link to join the Thrive Content Creator Team through the Band application. Students under 13 need a parent to join them through the process.

The contest runs through January with finalists selected at the end of the month. For more information, visit the Thrive Mat-Su Facebook page or email

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at

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