Tech Entrepreneur David Bullock Joins Covenant House Alaska Board Amid Funding Gap

Kerry Reifel Events

By: Kerry Reifel

Covenant House Alaska, a lifeline for youth facing homelessness, trafficking, and instability across the state, has announced the addition of David Bullock to its Board of Directors. The accomplished tech entrepreneur and creative visionary joins as the non-profit faces a critical $80,000 funding gap nearing the end of its fiscal year on June 30th.

David Bullock, Founder 907 Agency

Bullock, an Anchorage native known to hundreds of thousands of social media followers as simply @Alaska, was praised by Forbes Magazine as “one of the brightest minds in entertainment marketing.” He founded the creative agency, 907 Agency, in 2017.

“I’m honored to join Covenant House Alaska’s mission of empowering vulnerable youth through unconditional love and support,” said Bullock. “As an Alaskan, I’ve seen firsthand the critical need for services that support young people facing adversity and create opportunities for them to thrive.”

Bullock’s entrepreneurial mindset, creativity, and passion for youth empowerment will provide valuable leadership as Covenant House Alaska expands services to rural areas and evolves its programs. However, funding remains the biggest challenge.

Like many non-profits nationwide, Covenant House Alaska has been hit with increased operating costs coupled with an overall decline in donations amid economic uncertainties. This $80,000 funding crunch puts vital services and support at risk.

“The need for our services has never been greater, but our ability to provide that support is being severely challenged,” said Alison Kear, Chief Executive Officer of Covenant House Alaska. “Every day, we see youth facing unimaginable adversity and trauma walk through our doors seeking refuge, safety, and hope for a better future.”

Covenant House Alaska offers comprehensive residential services, street outreach, job training, education resources, counseling, medical services, legal aid, human trafficking prevention, and more – empowering youth to overcome adversity and transition to independence. Its facilities remain open 24/7 with a policy of unconditional love, absolute respect, and relentless support.

The non-profit is urgently calling on compassionate Alaskans and corporations to help close the $80,000 gap before June 30th and ensure these life-changing services can continue.

“With support from our community, we can keep our doors open and continue being that bridge to hope that changes the trajectory of these young people’s lives,” said Kear. “Every donation makes an incredible difference.”

Click here to make a tax-deductible donation,

Volunteer Spotlight: Josh Bohannon

Kerry Reifel Mentor, Volunteer Stories

All-Star Mentor that Consistently Shows Up for Covey Youth

At Covenant House Alaska, our dedicated volunteers are the heart of our mission to serve youth experiencing homelessness or trafficking. This month, we’re shining the spotlight on Josh Bohannon, a mentor with our Rights of Passage (ROP) program. Josh embodies the phrase, “a servant’s heart” and generously shares his time and wisdom with our youth, a calm and reassuring role model, for not just his specific mentee, but for the other residents as well.

Josh first got involved with Covenant House in 2023 after moving to Alaska. “I wanted an opportunity to volunteer in a meaningful way,” he says. “I wanted something that would root me to the community.” Covenant House’s mentorship program was the perfect fit, allowing Josh to build a positive relationship with a youth while providing guidance and support.

For the past year, Josh has volunteered as a mentor, consistently showing up as a caring role model. He texts or talks with his mentee almost daily, providing a steady adult presence. “The youth know that I’m not paid to be here,” Josh explains. “I think they really know that I care, and I have no ulterior motive.”

In addition to one-on-one mentoring, Josh often attends ROP’s weekly group meetings and education/employment sessions. His calm demeanor has helped influence his mentee to manage emotions better and think more purposefully about the future. “He’s less likely to quit a job on a whim,” Josh notes. “And he talks more positively about setting goals.”

One of the most rewarding moments for Josh was spending Thanksgiving at the ROP residence. “The youth were busy preparing food, and they genuinely seemed happy I could make it to dinner,” he recalls. “It made me feel like they see me as a positive influence.”

Josh has gained new perspectives through his Covenant House involvement as well. “Working here has really opened my eyes to how common trafficking is,” he says solemnly. He said that he knew that it was a problem, but the reality is that it is so much more widespread than he’d realized.

For anyone considering getting involved, Josh enthusiastically encourages it: “There are so many possibilities to help, whether it’s mentoring like me, teaching a class, or assisting with office work. No matter what role you play, you’re contributing to the vital mission.”

If you are 18 years or older and have some time to share to help our mission, please fill out the volunteer form here and our volunteer manager will reach out to discuss options with you.

Unsung Heroes: Celebrating Covenant House Alaska’s ‘Behind the Scenes’ Volunteers

Kerry Reifel Events, Volunteer Stories

Today, at the close of Volunteer Appreciation Month, we want to shine a light on the unsung heroes who make our mission possible – the “behind the scenes” volunteers. While we often highlight the amazing volunteers who work directly with the youth we serve, there are hundreds more who tirelessly contribute their time and talents in supporting roles.

These are the volunteers who handle vital administrative tasks, maintain our facilities, run logistics at events, create handcrafted items for fundraisers, and so much more. Their roles may seem small, but collectively they provide invaluable support that allows our staff to focus on providing care and services to youth experiencing homelessness.

There is one such volunteer, who has generously donated her time to our Development Team office for the past year. Week after week, she has tackled countless administrative duties – stuffing donation letters, assembling gift bags, preparing materials for fundraisers, and any other tasks we’ve sent her way. Her kindness and reliability have become a highlight for our team. In fact, when we approached her about featuring her work in our volunteer spotlight, she politely declined, reminding us of an important truth – many of our most dedicated volunteers shy away from individual recognition.

Whether seen or unseen, every volunteer is invaluable to fulfilling our mission at Covenant House Alaska. The administrative assistance, the handcrafted goods, the event support, the facility upkeep – these roles facilitate the crucial work of providing a haven for healing and growth for the young people who need it.

To all our “behind the scenes” volunteers, please know that we deeply appreciate the generous gift of your time and effort. Your selfless contributions create a strong foundation that allows us to be there for the youth who need us most. We are grateful for you, all year round.

Ready, Set, Succeed: Covey Academy’s Cutting-Edge Approach to Workforce Readiness

Kerry Reifel Events

At Covenant House Alaska’s Covey Academy, we are at a critical stage in developing a program that truly prepares young Alaskans for success in the workforce. Based on our first year’s results and feedback from partners, students, and local businesses, it is clear we must double down on teaching core “soft” and workforce readiness skills.

We have selected the nationally-recognized Life Skills Reimagined program to create a robust training experience focused on developing essential skills such as effective communication, teamwork, problem-solving, critical thinking, and professionalism. Through interactive skills labs, workshops, group activities and hands-on education, our youth will gain vital real-world competencies.

“We have learned that we must reinforce the core skills that will enable young people to become successful in the workforce,” said Covey Academy Director Heidi Redick. “Life Skills Reimagined will allow us to build a strong foundation of workforce readiness through an engaging, proven curriculum.”

This 60-hour comprehensive program covers five key areas: personal finance, resiliency, communication, getting and keeping a job, and independent living skills. Its trauma-informed, evidence-based approach has been shown to increase learners’ knowledge and confidence significantly, with participants reporting a 50% boost in self-assurance after completion.

Once our students have a solid grasp of these fundamentals, they will embark on career exploration through workplace tours, job shadowing, career weeks and more. The overarching goal is to facilitate meaningful internships, apprenticeships or entry-level job placements that align with each young person’s interests and aptitudes.

ConocoPhillips Vice President of External Affairs, Tara Sweeney presents a check to CHA’s CEO, Alison Kear at Sleep Out: Community Edition

None of this transformative work would be possible without the generosity of our longstanding partner, ConocoPhillips. Their recent $100,000 donation which will support Life Skills Reimagined demonstrates an unwavering 30-year commitment to developing Alaska’s future workforce and investing in our state’s young leaders.

“We are immensely grateful for ConocoPhillips’ support, which will empower more of Alaska’s youth to build brighter futures through the crucial skills provided by Life Skills Reimagined at Covey Academy,” said Redick.

By focusing on workforce readiness, we can open doors to meaningful career opportunities and break cycles of poverty and adversity. Join us in celebrating this exciting new chapter as we further equip Alaska’s young people with the tools for lifelong success!

Please reach out to Kerry Reifel, Covenant House Communication’s Officer  at communications@covenanthousealaska.org if you would like more details about this exciting new initiative.

What About Bob?

Kerry Reifel Volunteer Stories

Retired Scientist Brings Compassion and Creativity to Covey Youth

Bob Winfree first came to Covenant House several months ago to offer a landscape painting workshop for our youth, but soon signed up to volunteer each week in our art room. He is a retired National Parks scientist and research manager who settled in Alaska about twenty years ago with his family. Bob took up visual arts after retiring, including painting, photography and magazine production.

Though Bob’s education and work experience did not center around youth who have experienced significant trauma, he seems to inherently know what our youth need in a given moment, and how to interact with them in ways that help them to let their guard down, relax and be creative. In a short time, Bob became one of our favorite volunteers, and a favorite of our youth as well.

“Bob just understands,” says Radmila Moon, one of CHA’s Youth Activities Specialists “He knows when to engage with youth and when to give them space. Even our youth who might have a hard time taking instruction from men due to experiences in their childhood come to me later asking when Bob will be back. And he is consistent. He is here every week, and our youth know they can count on that, which is just so important.”

In addition to working in our art room, Bob has hosted budgeting workshops for youth at our Covey Academy and Rights of Passage programs, and workshops showcasing careers that young people can get into without a college degree. He takes great care in preparing how to demonstrate concepts to young people and, when videos can be incorporated, he looks for those hosted by people of color so as to provide diverse perspectives.

“As I’ve gotten to know the youth who come to the art room,” says Bob, “our discussions and small talk, some of which is quite profound, is at times worth a lot more than the art skills they learn. The art just gives them something to do while they’re talking. In the first few weeks, youth would come into the art room and sit at the far table but now, youth come in and fill the seats at my table first.”

Like CHA, Bob has a personal mission. He cares about what kind of world his grandchildren will inherit. He says, “Working in the art room is not what I’d planned on when I applied to volunteer at Covey, but that’s ok. I’ve come to realize that I am more at peace when helping others than I am when I’m thinking about myself.”

We are so grateful for our volunteers at Covenant House Alaska, who show our youth every day that their community cares for them.

Mothers Helping Others

Kerry Reifel Mentor, Volunteer Stories

By: Kerry Reifel

As a mother of two, Rachel Camm understands the challenges young moms face. That perspective is evident in her role as a volunteer mentor at Passage House, a program run by Covenant House Alaska that supports young mothers and their children. Rachel draws on her own experience raising kids to provide a listening ear, words of wisdom, and critical support to the women at Passage House.  “From a mother’s perspective, simply being there to listen and support the young mothers is so important,” Rachel says.

And she doesn’t just listen – she takes action. Rachel recently provided a ride and helped one young mom fill out paperwork to gain access to reliable childcare. This act of service represents a vital step toward independence for that young mother and her ability to properly care for her child in the future.

Rachel’s passion for service took root early. Raised in the UK, she grew up volunteering at food banks, soup kitchens, and collecting donations with her family. Those values stuck with Rachel as she moved across the world, first to Malaysia and then Alaska.

At Passage House, Rachel does it all – cooking, mentoring, and bonding with the women over shared activities. But it’s the one-on-one support in times of struggle that she finds most impactful and meaningful.

Rachel has witnessed firsthand the power a helping hand and listening ear can provide. Her hope is that homeless services will take on a more preventative approach in the future as well, keeping people from ever having to experience homelessness in the first place.

Want to get involved too? Consider volunteering with one of Covenant House Alaska’s programs by filling out a volunteer form at here or reaching out to Volunteer Manager Holly Payne at volunteer@covenanthouseak.org .

Kick Off the New Year with Covenant House Alaska

Kerry Reifel Events

Support Covenant House Alaska at Kaladi Brothers’ Dale Tran’s New Year’s Day of Giving

Covenant House Alaska is honored to be named, Kaladi Brothers’ Dale Tran’s New Year’s Day of Giving recipient for 2024.  This 35+ Year Tradition at Kaladi Brothers includes giving 100% of their beverage sales on New Year’s Day to a local charity and our supporters can help.    

You can participate and support Covenant House Alaska simply by buying a cup of coffee .   Also, Kaladi Brothers will donate 50% of all coffee bean sales ordered from their website through January 1st to Covenant House Alaska!  So, even if you are out of town, you can enjoy great coffee while supporting Covenant House Alaska.    

Kaladi Brothers is also hosting a donation page on their website, where you can click through directly to donate. For each $5.00 donated directly through the donation page, Kaladi Brothers will donate one free drink card to Covenant House Alaska on your behalf.  

However you decide to participate in Dale Tran’s New Year’s Day of Giving, from near or far, we want to thank you for helping  support Covenant House Alaska.   And, of course, a big Covey Hug and sincere thank you to the folks at Kaladi Brothers who support our youth and our community year round.      Also, a shoutout to Kaladi Brothers partner’s CIRI, NMS, Bering Straits Native Corporation, Alaska National, Parker, Smith & Feek, Akela Space, Moose’s Tooth, and The Hotel Captain Cook for teaming up to continue this tradition and support Covenant House Alaska’s mission.   And a special thank you to  matching partners, First National Bank Alaska and Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, who will match part of the funds raised at Dale Tran’s New Year’s Day of Giving.  

   Click Here to Participate 

Art, Empathy, and Advocacy: Keelan’s Volunteer Journey at Covenant House Alaska

Kerry Reifel Volunteer Stories

By Madison Sauder

Keelan Kenny recently moved permanently to Anchorage and began volunteering at Covenant House Alaska in July of this year. After growing up in Salt Lake City and living in Colorado, it was her new roots in Alaska that made her want to get involved in her community here.

When she saw the art room volunteer position on our volunteer portal, it all fell into place. Keelan, a passionate crafter, felt like the art room was an approachable place where she could make an impact. She now comes every Wednesday and spends a few hours with the youth, helping with art projects and giving them a place to spend time.

While she of course loves providing a place for self-expression, she says some of the most impactful moments have been helping young people overcome frustration.  “People want it [art] to be perfect,” working with youth to push past this desire for perfection and troubleshoot their projects has been a highlight of her time in the art room.

She has also seen how the art room is not just about painting or doing crafts but provides youth a place to feel comfortable. In this context of comfortability, Keelan says, is where many of the young people at Covenant House Alaska have felt safe to share their stories with her. “It happens ad hoc, randomly” she says, “and we are chatting about it”.

The impact, Keelan insists, is not just on the youth. Her volunteering at CHA has been a source of personal growth. With mentorship from staff, she feels prepared for handling challenging situations with youth and has learned best ways to interact with them. On a larger scale, Keelan says she now feels better informed about resources in our community for those experiencing homelessness or housing instability. She also has become an advocate for the unhoused community in Anchorage even outside of the age range Covenant House Alaska serves.

Covenant House Alaska is “a breath of hope” she says. In regard to a problem that can feel insurmountable, seeing the day-to-day positive impact and efficacy of the transitional housing model has made her hopeful.

She encourages others to volunteer at Covenant House Alaska. She highlights that there are opportunities to engage, regardless of what your skill set, or availability is. There is also the possibility to change up the way you volunteer. Keelan, for example, plans to start helping with opening the gym for the youth. Providing a place for physical activity as the weather has gotten cold. Don’t be intimidated, Keelan urges. When she started volunteering, she felt anxious about what being one on one with the youth would be like. She found it was not a problem. The staff provided plenty of support to ensure she has had a successful volunteer experience.

Keelan and volunteers like her are an important part of Covenant House Alaska. If you or someone you know are interested in volunteering, you can visit our volunteer webpage https://covenanthouseak.org/volunteer/ or contact our Volunteer Manager Holly Payne at volunteer@covenanthouseak.org.

Passage House Celebrates 30 Years of Empowering Young Mothers

Kerry Reifel Covenant House History

Nestled in a quiet residential neighborhood, Covenant House Alaska’s Passage House might appear as just another family home. However, its walls hold a remarkable story of 30 years of transformative impact on young mothers and their children.

Established in 1993, Passage House is a five-bedroom transitional living program designed for pregnant or parenting women aged 16 to 24. It goes beyond teaching independent living skills, focusing on nurturing essential parenting abilities. Over the years, it has provided a safe haven for over 300 young women facing numerous challenges.

Gena Graves, the program’s Director of Transitional Living Programs, recalls how Passage House was born out of a critical need. Back then, pregnant teens had nowhere to turn and still keep their babies with them, often lacking family support and societal acceptance. Covenant House Alaska’s decision to create Passage House in a peaceful residential neighborhood was pivotal, offering a supportive environment for these young mothers.

The program empowers its residents to take control of their lives, equipping them with the skills and confidence to succeed independently. From managing daycare to securing employment, Passage House guides these young women towards self-sufficiency.

One of the core goals of Passage House is to instill in its residents the belief that they can achieve great things. With support, young mothers have gone on to build successful careers and earn scholarships, proving the power of empowerment.

As Passage House enters its fourth decade, it continues to serve, providing young women with the guidance and support they need to build better futures for themselves and their children.

Making a Move to Mentoring

Kerry Reifel Events, Mentor, Volunteer Stories

by: Kris Johnson

Christi Meyn, an Anchorage native, has found her calling in volunteering as a mentor in the Rights of Passage program at Covenant House Alaska,.

Christi admits that she can’t remember the exact moment of her first encounter with Covenant House. The presence of the house in the Anchorage community is so ubiquitous that it became a natural part of Christi’s awareness. Growing up in Anchorage, she says it seems like she’s always known about Covenant House through the site’s many community events. 

Christi’s involvement as a volunteer was fueled by the need to address state budget cuts to homeless services in 2019. These cuts prompted her to get involved with other local organizations, but those commitments eventually ended in 2022.

As Christi was in the process of moving, she found herself with a surplus of moving boxes. Wondering if Covenant House accepted donations of moving supplies, she visited their website. There, she discovered a mentorship opportunity. Without hesitation, she signed up for training and began her work in the spring of the same year.

“I’m motivated to stay involved because it gives me a sense of giving back to the community,” Christi explains. “Helping someone be successful in their future, even if just a small amount, is a fulfilling experience.” Christi’s altruistic spirit and dedication to the cause of youth homelessness drive her to make a meaningful impact.

As a mentor in the Rights of Passage program, her role involves building meaningful relationships with the young residents. She is currently matched with one young person in particular, offering weekly support in various forms, including homework help, and providing a listening ear and words of encouragement during challenging times.

But her involvement extends beyond the surface, as she truly connects with the youth she serves. Whether it’s a casual stroll in the park or helping with the complexities of academics, Christi is there to lend a helping hand. Her dedication to the program exemplifies the spirit of compassion and empathy that Covenant House embodies.

As for her future aspirations at Covenant House, Christi expresses her enthusiasm for getting to know the young people better. She is also eager to initiate puzzle and game nights during the winter. This desire to engage in fun and bonding activities reflects her commitment to creating a supportive and nurturing environment.

Christi’s dedication to Covenant House is a testament to the profound impact one person can make in the lives of young people experiencing homelessness. Her story is a reminder that, even in the face of adversity and budget cuts, dedicated volunteers like Christi can help guide youth to the future they envision for themselves. With her motivation and passion, Christi continues to make a lasting difference in her community.