I received an email today that one of our trainees, who wished to remain anonymous, saved the life of a peer after taking one of our programs that included a Mental Health First Aid. We were all moved by this news, especially Karen, our Americorps extraordinaire, who taught the academy. She was full of pride and emotion for the student who bravely used what he/she learned and applied it during a time of crisis.

Yes, we focus on Health Workforce Development here. Yes, we focus on helping people find meaningful employment. But this little piece of news – and the euphoria it brought to our entire staff – reiterated a guiding truth. At the end of the day, we do this work because it ultimately betters the lives of Alaskans. It makes us healthier, raises self-confidence, and on some days, it even saves lives.