Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska believes a diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization is one where all employees, volunteers, youth, and families, feel valued and respected whatever their race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, education, income, or health condition. We respect and value diverse life experiences and heritages and ensure that all voices are valued and heard.

Our vision at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska is that all youth achieve their full potential. We recognize that while all children have equal potential, they do not have equal opportunity. Too many children are struggling with generational poverty, limited academic opportunities, familial incarceration, violence, and a lack of access to positive adult role models. Inequities that impact our youth often result from systemic biases that "sort" people into resource-rich or resource-poor neighborhoods and school systems--largely on the basis of race and income. With this context, we are committed to serving children and youth who are impacted by adversity.

Our program helps build up children's resilience and enhance their self-esteem, opportunities, and employability. Our goal is to reduce the economic and health imbalances that damage educational opportunities, health care, and wealth accumulation.

Adverse Childhood Experiences

At Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska, we use a trauma-informed care approach in working with our families, Bigs, and youth. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) impair children’s brain development. Based on the Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study, childhood experiences are correlated with current health and behaviors of adults. The researchers found that more than 67% of the adult population had an ACE score of at least one. One in eight adults has a score of 4 or more, which correlates to a 4.5 times higher likelihood of being diagnosed with depression and is 12 times greater risk of suicide. They found that the higher your ACEs score, the worse your health outcomes as an adult. Click here to learn more about ACEs in Alaska.

Determine your own ACEs score here.
*Please note: taking the ACEs questionnaire may bring up some upsetting feelings for some. Please reach out should you need to process your results.

Resiliency Building

Research also shows that resiliency is the number one protective factor against ACE and inequities. This is powerful! This means being a positive mentor for a child directly impacts their health, wellness, and success. You can make this level of impact for a child. YOU can make a BIG difference!

How to activate the ally in you

Become a Mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska. Our Littles are diverse in race, gender, religion, socioeconomic class, and age. They’re looking to relate to and benefit from a positive mentor just like you.

Donate financially. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska is a 501c(3) non-profit and all donations are tax-deductible. Learn more about other ways to give by clicking here.

Listen and learn. Here are just a few examples of resources that might help you on your way:

Start a book club with your colleagues, friends, Little, or family members and discuss injustices amongst race, gender, class, religion, or age. Some of our favorites include:

Adult Books

  • How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
  • White Fragility by Robin Di Angelo

Young Adult Books

  • You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
  • ·Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds

Children’s Books

  • We’re Different, We’re the Same and We’re Wonderful by Bobbi Kates
  • AntiRacist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi
  • A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara

Look at your own implicit biases and ways that you combat preconceived thoughts about others. This can be uncomfortable but is the best way to grow and move forward in being an ally.

Watch and share a documentary, TedTalk, podcast, or visual storytelling of a social group that you do not know much about.

Local Resources

  • United Way 2-1-1: database and call center of local resources available. Call 2-1-1 or visit alaska211.org for more information. Input your zip-code and you will see a variety of resources accessible in your area.
  • Alaska Legal Services assists clients facing critical civil legal issues ranging from consumer law, family law, housing problems, public benefits, healthcare, Alaska Native law, and other areas specific to veterans or the elderly.
  • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU):  legal counsel for any injustices on a social group of persons. These issues include race, free speech, disability rights, juvenile justice, human rights, security and privacy, and many more.

National Resources

  • Human Rights Campaign (HRC):  national platform addressing LGBTQ+ issues as well as racial and ethnic disparity.
  • Center for Social Inclusion: researches policies and identifies inequities, discusses innovative ways to talk about race, offers training opportunities for leadership, and implements strategies to create institutional change.
  • Haas Center for a Fair and Inclusive Society: researches religious diversity, LGBTQ+ citizenship, diversity in democracy, economic disparities, and many more to develop a multidisciplinary approach for constructive solutions to society's most pressing DEI issues.