SEARHC holds high-visibility jacket drawing to encourage people to be active and bright this fall

The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Health Promotion Program is holding a drawing for six high-visibility jackets to encourage Sitka residents to be active and bright this fall.

The drawings for the six high-visibility jackets (similar to the one in the photo above) take place on Monday, Nov. 4. Sitka residents can enter at the Sitka Public Library, Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop, the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center, Tongass Threads, Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School, and Blatchley Middle School.

Being safe and seen is critical for anybody walking or biking during the winter, and having a high-visibility jacket with reflective tape on it can help improve your safety while allowing you to stay active. Click this link to read more about the importance of being safe and seen, and how you can order free reflective tape from the Center for Safe Alaskans.

For more information about the high-visibility jacket drawings in Sitka, contact SEARHC health educator Doug Osborne at 966-8674 or

Boys Run: I Toowú Klatseen program recruiting coaches, young runners for Fall 2019 season

The Boys Run: I toowú klatseen program is recruiting boys in third through fifth grade for its Fall 2019 season. The program also is looking for male and female coaches to help teach the young boys how to be good runners and better men.

The Boys Run: I toowú klatseen program, which means “strengthen your spirit”, is a mentorship program for young boys coordinated by Sitkans Against Family Violence (SAFV), with similar programs in Sitka, Juneau, and Kake. The program teaches boys healthy social and emotional skills through running and envisions boys growing up into healthy members of society. It is modeled after the Girls On The Run program, which meets in the spring.

The registration period for young boys ends on Friday, Sept. 13. Parents can register their boys at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School, or they can register online at

Southeast Alaska Native cultural values have been intentionally incorporated into the program in each lesson, and we use running as a vehicle for games and fun activities. The 10-week program ends with a community five-kilometer fun run, teaching boys they can accomplish anything they set their mind to.
What coaching entails:

  • Practices are held twice a week from 2:15-4:30 p.m., on either Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday, at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School. It starts near the end of September and goes until mid December.
  • There is a mandatory coach training from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, and coaching applications are due by Monday, Sept. 9..
  • You do not have to be a runner to coach.
  • There is a set curriculum and lesson plans and all the supplies you need will be provided for you.

If you are interested in coaching, please contact Samantha “Sam” O’Brien of SAFV at or call 747-3489. If you are interested in registering a boy, contact Sam or ask for Mrs. Twaddle at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School.

SEARHC, Stride 365 co-host Run for Suicide Prevention on Saturday, Sept. 7

The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) and Run Sitka’s Stride 365 program will co-host the Run for Suicide Prevention on Saturday, Sept. 7.

Runners should meet at 9 a.m. for a 9:30 a.m. race start at the O’Connell Bridge Lightering Facility. The cost of the five-kilometer race and two-mile walk is a donation of $10. Proceeds this month benefit Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School.

The SEARHC Crisis Hotline at 1-877-294-0074 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for any Southeast Alaska resident who needs help getting through a crisis. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255, for those outside Southeast Alaska.

Each month SEARHC and Run Sitka (#runsitka) host a Stride 365 event on the first Saturday of every month, with proceeds going to a different charity in Sitka.

For more information, please contact Heleena van Veen by email at, or by phone at 966-8914.

Girls On The Run seeks participants for 2019 running program

Are you a young girl in third, fourth or fifth grade at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School? Applications are due Monday, Feb. 25, to join the fun of the 11th season of the Girls On The Run (GOTR) program.

Girls On The Run is more than an after-school program. It’s an empowerment program committed to inspiring young girls to be joyful, healthy and confident. Girls On The Run provides a fun, experience-based curriculum that teaches lasting life lessons while playing running games. It all culminates with a five-kilometer fun run on May 18.

Girls On The Run is a 10-week running program accessible to all girls, regardless of their athletic ability or fitness level. The program envisions a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.

Registration closes on Monday, Feb. 25, for girls. You can pick up an application at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School. Participants also can register online at Practices will be from 2:40-4 p.m. on either Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays starting March 4 at the Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School gym.

The Girls On The Run program in Sitka is coordinated by Sitkans Against Family Violence (SAFV). There are similar programs run by local domestic violence prevention agencies and school districts around the state.

Even though the coach recruitment deadline passed on Monday, Feb. 18, the program won’t turn away potential coaches so long as they can attend the mandatory coach training session from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23, at Harrigan Centennial Hall, Room 5.

For more information, contact GOTR coordinator Shadeed Miller at 747-3493 or

Sitka Community Hospital launches Be Safe and Seen campaign

Getting around Sitka on foot or on a bike is good for your health, and it’s good for the environment. However it’s important that these activities are done safely.

Sitka can be dark, especially in winter, and many bicycle and walker injuries happen in low visibility. Drivers can only stop or swerve for the people they see, so having lights, reflectors and high-visibility coats provides a great protective factor.  Thanks to donations from LFS Marine Supply and Grunden’s, a dozen high-visibility jackets will be raffled at various locations throughout Sitka:

  • Sitka Community Hospital’s Oceanside Therapy Center,
  • Tongass Threads,
  • the Sitka Public Library,
  • the Hames Center,
  • Sitka Tribe of Alaska Social Services Office,
  • Swan Lake Senior Center,
  • Salvation Army Little Store,
  • Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop,
  • Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School (2), and
  • Blatchley Middle School (2).

Having a coat that covers your whole upper body and can be seen from all sides is one way to be visible and stay seen as you walk the family dog, bike home from work, or go for a stroll anywhere near cars.

For more information on the “Be Safe and Seen in Sitka” campaign, contact Doug Osborne, Sitka Community Hospital’s Director of Health Promotion, at 747-0373.

Sitka Community Hospital launches Safe and Seen in Sitka campaign with high-visibility jacket raffles

Getting around Sitka on foot or bike is good for the environment and your health. It is important to make sure it’s done safely, especially while traveling at night.

Walkers — people who travel by foot, wheelchair or stroller — and bicyclists are among the most vulnerable users of our roads. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in the next 24 hours, on average, 445 people in the U.S. will be treated in an emergency department for traffic-related pedestrian injuries.

Sitka can be dark, especially in the winter months, and many of the bicyclist and walker fatalities happen in low visibility. Drivers can only stop or swerve for the people they see. Lights, reflectors and high-visibility coats offer a level of protection.

Thanks to Grundens and Murray Pacific, Sitka Community Hospital will be raffling off high-visibility rain coats at various locations throughout Sitka. These raffles will take place at Sitka Public Library, Hames Center, Salvation Army Little Store, Tongass Threads, Sitka Tribe of Alaska Social Services, Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop, Swan Lake Senior Center, Sitka Public Health Center, Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School, Blatchley Middle School and Sitka Community Hospital’s Oceanside Therapy Center.  The drawings will start as early as Oct. 30 and are open to all.

Having a coat that covers you and can be seen from all sides is a great way to stay safe and seen. For more information on the Safe and Seen in Sitka campaign, contact Sitka Community Hospital’s Director of Health Promotion Doug Osborne at 747-0373.

Girls on the Run to close out season with beach-themed 5K community fun run on May 13

The Sitka Girls On The Run program will host celebrate the end of its ninth season with a beach/Hawaiian themed five-kilometer run from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 13, with the start-finish line at the Crescent Harbor covered shelter. The fun run and ceremony will honor the girls, who have been training all spring at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School.

This is a family friendly event, and tutus and bright colors are encouraged, but not required. Volunteers and cheerleaders also are needed so they can make the event extra special for our participants. Here are a few ways you can help:

  • Volunteer — There are quite a few volunteer positions available, some of which also allow volunteers to run in the event (all allow volunteers to be cheerleaders). Volunteer time requirements vary by assignment. Please register at Please contact Lauren Havens at or 747-3489 with any questions.
  • Cheerleader — Position yourself along the course between 9:45 a.m. to 11 a.m. to cheer the girls on as they run. The run starts at the Crescent Harbor covered shelter, runs along the Sitka Sea Walk and through the Sitka National Historical Park’s Totem Trails and back, so there are plenty of places to cheer people on. Bring a sign and bright colors and a positive attitude.

Girls On The Run is a life-changing empowerment program for girls in third through fifth grade. We teach life skills through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games. The program culminates with the girls being physically and emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory five-kilometer (3.1-mile) running event. The goal of the program is to unleash confidence through accomplishment while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness.

The 12-week program is one of several in the region. GOTR of Greater Alaska operates Girls On The Run programs in Sitka, Juneau, Ketchikan, Petersburg, and Yakutat, along with similar programs in other Alaska communities. Check out what the program is all about. Sitkans Against Family Violence (SAFV) hosts the GOTR program in Sitka.

Please help spread the word and encourage family members and friends to make the 2017 5K Community Fun Run a success.