R.O.C.K. Mat-Su (Raising Our Children With Kindness) 

Director: Desiré Shepler,, (907) 352-2845

Female Nurse showing brochure

R.O.C.K. Mat-Su (Raising Our Children With Kindness) is a collaborative of community members – including individuals and organizations – joining together to promote family resilience and reduce child maltreatment. R.O.C.K. works to build social supports, eliminate silos, and influence systems that affect kids and families throughout the borough, all in support of achieving the goal of ending child abuse in Mat-Su.

R.O.C.K. began developing in 2014 when a group of influential champions in the fields of child protection, early childhood education, behavioral health, primary care, tribal health, infant learning, and education began exploring the Collective Impact framework. The goal was for individuals working to improve the lives of children and families in Mat-Su to identify a new way of working, a way that left behind silos in favor of a collective approach to working toward a common goal. Since that time, R.O.C.K. Mat-Su has grown from the initial group of 18 champions exploring a new way of working together to a functioning collaborative of over 30 partners structured around the Collective Impact framework.

R.O.C.K. Mat-Su operates under the oversight of a Community Advisory Board, at the direction of a Steering Committee, and under the governance of the Mat-Su Health Foundation Program Committee. The work of the initiative is coordinated by three working groups: Primary Prevention; Secondary and Tertiary Prevention; and Policy. Each R.O.C.K. Mat-Su work-group is working on a limited number of strategies.

Training Available

Much of the work of R.O.C.K. Mat-Su centers around Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the effect ACEs can have on physical health. We also focus on the resiliency factors that can help people overcome ACEs they may have experienced. Interested in learning more? R.O.C.K. Mat-Su offers free training about ACEs and resilience.

Contact Information

Desiré Shepler, Director, R.O.C.K. Mat-Su:

Lindsay Prunella, Project Coordinator,

Betsy Smith, Upper Su Community Coordinator:

Telsche Thiessen, Chickaloon/Sutton Community Coordinator:

R.O.C.K. Mat-Su Steering Committee Members

Dawn Adams, Office of Children’s Services

Aaron Clements, Co-Occurring Disorders Institute

Diane Demoski, Burchell High School

Deb Haynes, Mat-Su Central School

Peter Host, Wasilla Area Seniors

Paula Jones, The Children’s Place

Shelis Jorgensen, Sunshine Community Health Center

Jean Kincaid, Mat-Su Services for Children and Adults

Mark Lackey, CCS Early Learning

Philip Licht, Set-Free Alaska

Rachel Olson, Royal Family Kids

Sammye Pokryfki, CASA Volunteer

Pam Robinson, Alaska Family Services

Trevor Storrs, Alaska Children’s Trust

Jeff Vereide, Full Circle Counseling

Lisa Wade, Chickaloon Native Village

Betsy Woodin, Alaska Center for Resource Families