Teens use storytelling to work out personal challenges, find meaning

The logo for Story Works Alaska. HOST: Kathleen McCoy

UPDATE August 3, 2020. The podcasts we sampled for this show are now published in full and available to the public. Find them here.

According to Story Works Alaska’s own website, its mission is “to support youth voices through storytelling and writing workshops that develop skills, build resilience, and increase access to opportunity. We believe in the importance of listening, the protective value of connection, and the power of stories to foster wellness for individuals and communities.”

The project began in 2014, and to date, more than 2,000 students in Anchorage and in Unalakleet have participated. Locally, participating schools include Polaris, West, East, Service, Bartlett, Steller, and Dimond High Schools.

SAYiT (Say It) is a subset of students who’ve participated in Story Works programs, and now meet outside of school to create podcasts. They also teach the program in elementary schools. Today we’ll hear from two SAYiT members who’ve worked to create a new podcast of stories that deal with kids coping with challenges in their life. We will also sample three stories in their latest podcast, ONWARD.

As always, your questions and comments are welcome throughout the program. Join us!

HOST: Kathleen McCoy


  • Bennett Pearce, SAYit, ONWARD podcast host
  • Taylor Heckart, SAYit, ONWARD podcast host
  • Nithya Thiru, director, Story Works Alaska


  • UPDATE Aug 3, 2020: the podcasts we sampled during the show are now up and public. Find the four full episodes here.
  • Story Works Alaska website
  • Mental Health Advocates Through Storytelling (MHATS) website
  • NAMI Anchorage, National Alliance on Mental Illness Anchorage website
  • World Health Organization (WHO) statistics on mental health in teens, website
  • US Department of Health and Human Services, adolescent mental health statistics for Alaska youth, website


  • Call 550-8433 (Anchorage) or 1-888-353-5752 (statewide) during the live broadcast (2:00 – 3:00pm)
  • Send e-mail to hometown@alaskapublic.org before, during or after the live broadcast (e-mails may be read on air)
  • Post your comment or question below (comments may be read on air
  • LIVE: Monday, July 27, 2020 at 2:00 p.m
  • RE-AIR: Monday, July 27, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
  • PODCAST: at alaskapublic.org/hometown for free future public access

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