WASILLA — Youth 360 director Tyler Healy recently participated in a question and answer interview discussing United Way of Mat-Su’s local youth program and the results of a community survey that was recently released to the public.

This survey was designed to gather feedback from local youth, utilizing nearly 1,000 students from the Mat-Su Borough School District between sixth and 11th grade in 2020.

To provide feedback from local youth, Youth 360 worked with the Mat-Su Borough School District to survey nearly 1,000 Mat-Su 6th-11th graders in December 2020.

Q: What were some of the biggest takeaways from this recent survey?“The main thing that jumped out at us… the importance of connections and relationships really shined through… By in large, other students that are lacking some of those supports, be it home or in other areas of their lives, they’re at higher risk for drug and alcohol use, poor mental health, and some of these other indicators that we were looking at… That’s the reason why we’re running our programs and why we’re encouraging families to keep their kids involved in the community, to make sure you’re talking to your teens and the young people in your life. Whether you’re a parent, or a teacher, or a mentor, having that ongoing conversation with multiple in that young person’s life they can talk to is really, really important.”

Q: What are some steps Youth 360 is taking in light of these results?“The number one goal is to share the info with the community and encourage community members to think about these results in their own way and to consider ways that they can help build supportive communities for young people… Continue to offer free programming for youth with the expansion of our stipend program… We’re looking to build networks between providers in the Valley... to provide afterschool programming for young people, to make it accessible, kind of break down cost barriers, transportation barriers.”

Q: What’s going on for the rest of the summer?“Our youth programs are ongoing. We’ve got our summer programs running now. We’ve got some field trips, outings, hikes, that kind of thing. The youth clubs are doing cooking activities. The Wasilla club planted a garden out in front of their place this summer… We’ve got sports, creative expression… We’re looking ahead to the school year and getting ready for another round of our stipend program to launch in addition to our afterschool programs continuing at both of our sites.”

Healy is hosting a Zoom meeting discussing the survey results Thursday, July 29 at 4 pm. This will be an opportunity for families and care providers to ask questions about the survey and Youth 360 in general.

Join Zoom Meeting: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/9629822273 or call 888-788-0099 and enter meeting ID 962 982 2273.

Youth 360 currently offers programs to Wasilla Middle School, Wasilla High School, and Houston Junior-Senior High School students. For more information, call 907-373-3613 or visit youth-360.org.

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at jacob.mann@frontiersman.com

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