Alaska Social Services Meet Growing Needs

FAMILY–Margaret Sheppard reads to her son Richard at the Army’s McKinnell Shelter, the only shelter in Anchorage allowing families to stay together.

In Anchorage, Alaska, a modern city of 260,000 people, beats the heart of The Salvation Army’s social service ministry, providing help and hope to thousands of Alaskans in need. Isolation, poverty and winter darkness compound the problems brought about by alcoholism and substance abuse.

Just as Alaska is a land of vast contrasts, the ministry of The Salvation Army varies, providing service to all Alaskans in need–from the newborn babies at Booth Memorial Youth & Family Services to the seniors at the Serendipity Adult Day Center.

Booth Memorial Youth & Family Services provides a safe haven for at-risk teens, many of whom are victims of physical, sexual or emotional abuse. At Booth, the counseling staff works to help each teen learn the appropriate skills to assist them in developing a mature and healthy self-respect and concern for others. The Booth residential program serves clients, including pregnant and parenting teens, from all regions of the state. The Day Treatment Program serves Anchorage area teens by providing a structured day environment, including instruction at the on-campus school program operated by the Anchorage School District, opportunities for positive social and recreational activities, and daily counseling sessions (individual, family and substance abuse).

The Salvation Army administers two different housing programs in Anchorage. The McKinnell Shelter (named after Adjutant Coralee McKinnell, who began the Army’s work in the city) is the only family shelter in the Anchorage area. The Eagle Crest Residence provides a low-cost, drug-free environment for single adults new to Anchorage and individuals who are unable to afford to live independently. The Army networks with other local housing assistance providers to aid clients in transitioning back into the community.

Giving men skills to overcome addictions and other social handicaps in their lives that result from addictions is the primary goal of The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Program. The program helps each man to regain self-respect, acquire moral and spiritual principles of conduct and learn responsible work habits. Last year, 36 men graduated from this program. The aftercare component has contributed to over 80 percent of these graduates maintaining sobriety.

Clitheroe Center offers a comprehensive intensive treatment program targeting the most prevalent problem impacting Alaskans–chronic substance abuse. Offering a medically supervised Detox Unit, inpatient programs for men and women and aftercare support through outpatient services, the Clitheroe Center has an excellent reputation for effectiveness. The Reflections Program for substance-abusing women provides the opportunity for preschool children to remain with mothers in a safe, substance-free environment.

The Serendipity Adult Living Skills & Recreation Center provides structured daytime activities for seniors with Alzheimer’s and other related disorders. Meal sites, operated five days a week by the Army, provide the opportunity for seniors to socialize while enjoying a hot, nutritious lunch. For those unable to travel to the meal sites, Home Delivered Meal Service is available.

As The Salvation Army begins its second century of service to Alaskans, we look forward to continuing the work of the early Army pioneers–to care for the needs of all Alaskans.

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