The year was 1982....
I came to Alaska in March of 1982 via the Alcan Highway from Minnesota. It almost feels like one of those dark and stormy night tales as we hit multiple snow storms in the Canadian Mountains and had some scary moments in getting through the storms to Alaska.
The first thing on my agenda was to secure a job. I put in multiple applications all over the city with little to no luck. I finally talked the manager of Budget Rent-a-Car into hiring me. I continued to look through the want ads in hopes of finding a position working with kids. I noticed an advertisement in the want ad section that just stated; Alaska Children’s Services and the agency telephone number. I did some research and found the Human Resources Office located in the basement of a church off Latouche and Northern Lights. I drove to the location and walked in to ask for an application based on the advertisement I had seen in the newspaper. I was told that the agency had no openings, that the ad I was referencing was informational regarding the agency. Sally Booher met with me and had me fill out an application anyway.
In early May I received a call from the agency to come in for an interview at the Jesse Lee location. I walked in with several other applicants. We were seated in a room with a large oval table. Multiple supervisors were in the room and proceeded to ask all of the applicant’s questions. It was a very intimidating process to be at a huge table with all these supervisors and applicants combined. I walked away from the interview convinced that I had failed miserably. I assured my boss at Budget that I really blew the interview and didn’t have the slightest chance of getting the job I applied for.
A couple of weeks later I received a call from the agency and I had been hired into Gould Cottage to work with teenage boys. At that time we were 10 bed units with 2 staff on shift. We had House Managers that worked M-F and Saturday and Sunday. The House Managers did the cooking for the unit except for lunch during the school year. Pat Brokaw provided school lunches in what is now called the Gilbert Center Conference Room. Pat and her assistant would cook all the food on site and serve it. We would all troop up unit by unit for regular style cafeteria lunches on trays. After that the students would go back to on site classrooms for school.
I came to AK Child & Family with a mission of my own to help children. I believe it is rare to have an alignment with your own personal mission and the mission/vision of the company you are working for. This agency’s mission resonated with my mission and here I am 30+years and counting.