JUNEAU - Nine participants of the United Way Leadership Juneau program recently finished up their semester-long community leadership program with a ceremony at Perseverance Theater. Candice Bressler, Cynthia Plantz, Jeff Vogt, Markus Bressler, Mark Mesdag, Jessie Grant, Tyler Browne, Jeff Rogers and Aaron Benson presented their three projects to a group of community leaders, family members and supporters on June 5.
The projects included "Fix the Pit" which focused on property located on Front Street and Seward in downtown Juneau. Through their push for public pressure to do something to beautify the downtown, they saw results. The lot is currently being filled in, sidewalks are getting fixed and a potential project by Sealaska has been proposed for future use.
A second project tackled the secondhand smoke issue in downtown Juneau. The indoor public smoking ban in bars forced smokers out onto the narrow sidewalks, making it difficult for passerby's to avoid the smoke. It also meant littering the streets with cigarette butts and vandalizing special smoking bins. The group made several recommendations that will go before the city assembly.
A third project revolved around helping UAS clean up the campus prior to the recent totem pole raising.
This was the third year of the Leadership Juneau Program that was begun in response to the United Way of Southeast Alaska's Compass II project where survey results showed a need for increased community leadership. It is based off the Community Leadership Association's model that is designed to have a positive influence on the communities they serve by identifying future leaders, equipping them with knowledge, skills and confidence to lead in their communities.