Leadership Anchorage Program

I, Barbara Soule, got accepted for Leadership Anchorage sponsored by the Alaska Humanities Forum. The application was quite long and forced me to think about all the things that I’ve worked on an accomplished in the past. The Women’s and Men’s Resource Center in the Mat-Su Vally has a plaque, titled Our Founding Mothers, and the name of Barbara Soule, my name, is on that plaque.

Back in the late 1970’s the Palmer Chief of Police came to the Valley Women’s Group. This was a group of women who identified as feminists. Sally Hitchcock and Shonti Elder were members of this group.The police chief told the women that the area need a crisis line and womens and childrens shelter from domestic violence. Various people were using their private homes to take domestic violence victems, but the batters often found out were their victems were staying and then threaten harm on the safe havens.

First the Valley Women’s Group wrote a grant to establish a Crisis Line and the volunteers to answer the phone. Then they wrote another grant to establish an office with a director. Any programs were run by volunteers. Eventuallly, a shelter for women and children was buillt.

About ten years later, My daughter, Marina Alcantra, got a job at the Mat-Su Women’s Resouce Center as the receptioist. marian was totally shocked to see the Our Founding Mothers plaque with my name on it, Barbara Soule. Since then I have volunteered for many community sservice groups and projects.

In September 2011, I applied to join the Leadership Anchorage program sponsered and put on by the Alaska Humanities Forum. Meetings have been once an month. Since then, several of the programs have included considerable soul-searching, including analyizing past life experiences on how they have shaped and impacted my life so far. As a result, I  have gained further insighted, answered questions that I have never asked myself prior to now, and made connections that have never occured to me in the past.

As the result of the Leadership Anchorage program, I have been exposed to a number of ideas and strategizes for leadership that I did not know before. During the course of the program, participants were required to work on a public service project in some aspect of our local community. I choose a project with the Anchorage Municipal Libraries.

My group obtained a volunteer photograher, who then photgraphed people in the local libraries – the Loussac, Mountian View and Eagle River libraries. We interviewed the participants concerrning what services that they used in the libraries and why. Our participants ranged from local Mayor Dan Sullivan and his wife, Lynntte, reading to children in the library to an unemployeed plummer, using the library computers to fill out job applications. Loussac library administrator, Clare Stockman, has scheduled a photography show of the library patrons pictures in the Lousaac’s art galley for June of 2012.

The was some kind of duel scheduling mishap and the photography show will not be on June 2nd. The group, I am in, with Josephine, Michelle and Jenifer, the photographer, Jamie, and Clare Stockert, all need to meet, chose the pictures for the show, get them framed, and set another date for the show. Fortunately, Ms. Stockert has money for the photography framing. Tentive date for the photograph show is in September.

The reason behind this project was, hopefully, to make the public aware of the fact that the municipal libraries need more funding. The local library system is only being funded at the 1989 level and has been reduced from 99 employees to 69. Our libraries loan out a million more books than in 1989, and have a much greater section of films, DVDs and CD’s, and even art work. They have people lined up at the doors when they open each morning with people wanting to use the libraries computers. Locally, all job applications are now online. All the municipal libraries have wi-fi service as well.

Graduation from the program will take place on May 15, 2012 at the Anchorage Museum from 6 to 8PM. Each of the four public service project groups will be making a short presentation on the status of their public service project. The event is semi-formal. The particiapsnts of this past years 15th Leadership Anchorage program will receive a certificate of completion.

May 16, 2012

I attended my graduation from the Leadership Anchorage program last night. Taking the course, I learned a considerable amount internally about myself. The main part of the program asked a person to ask themselves a lot of questions about their past history and internal motivation. As a result, I got new insight into myself as a person. Just when you think you are finally over with therapudic counseling, here we go again. I did meet and get to know better thirteen other, very nice people with whom I probably would have never socialized. I do consider the program is a positive experience, but I have no idea with what I’m going to do with the knowledge, at this point.

June 1, 2012

My problem now is where I want to use my university training, leadership skills and what I really want to do with my life from now on. My past includes being a stay-at-home Mom, a working artist with gallery representation as a sculptor and jeweler, and a social worker with the Transgendered, disabled or clients in residentual alcohol and drug treatment  centers. I would prefer being of service to people and my community in some capacity.

8 thoughts on “Leadership Anchorage Program

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