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Project GRAD Kenai

Our Programs

Student Centered Programing

We offer student-centered programing through academic coaching, student-family support, and postsecondary support.


Student Centered Programing

Since 2005, the US. Department of Education Alaska Native Education Program (ANEP) grant has consistently and confidently awarded PGKP funding to enrich the educational experience for youth in four of the most rural communities in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. Academic and instructional coaching, social emotional learning and case management, postsecondary awareness and enrollment services have supported students, teachers, and families in the Alaska Native villages of Nanwalek, Port Graham, Tyonek, and Ninilchik.

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Opportunities include on-site instructional and classroom support for teachers and support staff, one on one and small group academic support for students, youth development and social connections, and culturally-grounded leadership events. Academic coaches and counselors bring students out of their villages to experience youth empowerment events, visit postsecondary training institutions, explore careers related to their interests, and develop meaningful relationships with peers from other communities.

Given the difficulties in providing equitable educational opportunities to these isolated schools, three of which are accessible only by small plane or boat, PGKP has shown unfailing dedication. During the pre-pandemic years, coaches and counselors visited weekly to build on the strengths of youth and community connections. Those in-person experiences are what we all prefer; as educators and connectors of people, we feel most fulfilled when we are together. PGKP is not deterred; however, the PGKP staff is now leveraging its creativity and innovation to provide consistent support through virtual means to meet the goals of increasing academic achievement and high school graduation within four years.

Project GRAD Kenai—We Impact Generational Change

We Impact Generational Change

State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services

Positive Youth Development Afterschool Program

Creating Healthy Inclusive Learning Lifestyles (CHILL)

In the fall of 2019, PGKP received grant funding to support afterschool programming for grades 5-8 in the three rural communities of Anchor Point, Razdolna, and Voznesenka. Funded through the legalization of marijuana taxes, the primary goal of this program is to prevent youth from using marijuana. This afterschool program provides a safe, healthy, and exciting place for kids to gather, explore, play, connect, and learn, an important alternative to engaging in unsupervised and often high-risk activities. Youth in this age group are seeking independence while experiencing years of extraordinary change; it is important for them to have supportive places to gather with their peers to develop their interests with the guidance of caring adults. They are often natural problem solvers, they love and NEED to laugh, and curiosity about the world is expanding as they gain greater insights as to their place within it.

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This program, Creating Healthy Inclusive Learning Lifestyles (CHILL), is all about sharing the excitement of the world with energetic kids so that they can ask questions, seek answers, amplify their understanding, and connect authentically with adults. Academic coaches develop intriguing lessons in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM), share mindfulness strategies for managing frustrations and challenging emotions (who doesn’t need that?), play and exercise, and share a nutritious snack. Influenced by a successful and popular model used in Iceland to diminish a disturbing rate of substance misuse, PGKP developed a program whereby youth can participate in organized activities, build their protective factors, and become empowered to dismiss some of the dangerous temptations so plentiful in our world. Funding from the taxes levied on the recently legalized marijuana industry powers this prevention program.

All of us are making adjustments to our delivery model in response to COVID. We are all learning new ways to engage kids and support them in their learning and growth.

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

Kenai Peninsula Native Youth Leadership Program (KPNYL)

A long-term partnership with the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD) laid the foundation for PGKP to take on coordination of this powerful youth leadership program in 2014. Supported through federal Title VI funding, KPNYL students build pride in their Native American/Alaska Native cultures by engaging in various leadership activities linked to AK Cultural Standards. Students who fulfill the requirements earn .5 elective leadership credit towards graduation.

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Activities and projects are designed to encourage personal growth and develop lifelong leadership skills. These are opportunities for youth to more deeply explore their spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being while building pride in their cultural traditions. Leadership skills enhance students’ personal, academic, extra-curricular, and tribal-community involvements. Native Youth Leaders honor their culture and are empowered in their diversity.


Alaska Native Education Program

Resilience, Independence, Strength, and Education (RISE)

In September 2021, Project GRAD Kenai Peninsula was awarded an additional ANEP three-year grant from the US Dept. of Education. This project has four driving goals, focusing on the K-6 student population of Port Graham, Nanwalek, and Tyonek. Key components emphasize

  1. increasing links between traditional Native wisdom and classroom learning,

  2. building resiliency for students challenged by trauma and ACEs through research-based activities,

  3. improving student mental health and wellness, and

  4. improving academic proficiencies for students in reading, writing, and STEAM.

NAN&PGM -- PHlight Camp, grades 3-6. Phlight camp is an incredible youth empowerment progr
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Beginning in kindergarten, Project RISE will assist Alaska Native students to connect with caring adults who recognize and cultivate their strengths and leadership skills while improving academics. A coaching and counseling team will collaborate to build critical foundations upon which the K-6 students can thrive.


Alaska Native Education Program

Promoting Opportunity, Wisdom, Education, and Resilience for Underserved Populations (POWER UP)

On September 30, 2022, Project GRAD began work on 3-year innovative project awarded through the U.S. Department of Education AK Native Education Program. This project focuses on supporting students in grades 7-12 in four of the most isolated communities in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District: Port Graham, Nanwalek, Ninilchik, and Tyonek. POWER UP provides services for deserving students and teachers in several key areas:

  1. promoting cultural wisdom and traditions in the classroom by integrating Alaska Cultural standards and culturally-grounded unit design;

  2. improving health and wellness using research-based best practices;

  3. employing two academic support coaches and a school counselor to connect with students on academic progress and social development;

  4. engaging students in experiential, off-site travel to explore post-secondary opportunities leadership, STEAM, and civics.


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In partnership with the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, village tribes, and youth supporters in the region, this project is designed to bring students together with peers from other communities and connect them with caring adults, resulting in greater confidence and independence.

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