Braided Stories Workshop Registration Now Open

Wasilla, Alaska – The public is invited to register for three upcoming presentations of the Braided Stories: Building Equitable Communities for Alaska’s Children & Families workshop. Braided Stories aims to engage community members and social change leaders in an educational experience that will deepen their understanding of systemic racism by connecting to the history and setting of the Mat-Su Borough. Each workshop includes four sessions over four days with options available in September, October, and December. It is conducted over Zoom at no cost to participants. More details and registration information are available at

“R.O.C.K. Mat-Su partners created Braided Stories for adult audiences because understanding and addressing historical and intergenerational trauma is critical to achieving the vison of reducing child abuse and increasing family resilience in the Mat-Su,” said R.O.C.K. Mat-Su Director Betsy Larson. “Braided Stories was intentionally designed to be reflective rather than instructive and to create a safe space for the exploration and transformation of racism in Mat-Su communities.”

Braided Stories was developed in deep partnership with local residents who helped to build a curriculum that explores racial equity in the context of the Mat-Su community. This was accomplished through the dedication of a local workgroup, by using credible sources to build a timeline that includes Alaska and Mat-Su history, and by interviewing Mat-Su residents about their own experiences. In addition to community workgroup members, the work was guided by a design team composed of Agnew::Beck, Alaska Humanities Forum, COIO, and Bethel Public Media KYUK, with additional historical research provided by David Reamer.

Since its founding in 2014, R.O.C.K. Mat-Su has grown to be a collaborative of over 60 cross-sector partners engaging in 16 strategies spanning the public health prevention spectrum.  R.O.C.K. Mat-Su strives to achieve its goals by changing the systems that influence the lives of children and families in the Mat-Su Borough. The collaborative embraces a spectrum of strategies that impact families both universally and through targeted interventions. Some highlights of the work of R.O.C.K. Mat-Su include developing the Palmer Families with Infants and Toddlers (FIT) Court and collaborating with the Office of Children’s Services to improve the experience of family contact for parents with children in foster care.


About Mat-Su Health Foundation: Mat-Su Health Foundation (MSHF) is the official business name of Valley Hospital Association, Inc., which shares ownership in Mat-Su Regional Medical Center. In this capacity, MSHF board members and representatives actively participate in the governance of Mat-Su’s community hospital to protect the community’s interest in this important healthcare institution. The MSHF mission is to improve the health and wellness of Alaskans living in the Mat-Su and the tools it uses include grantmaking, convening of local partners, and policy change. The foundation’s work has resulted in significant improvements in systems that support the health of Mat-Su residents in areas such as behavioral health, child welfare, crisis response, community connections, workforce development, transportation, housing, and senior services. More information is available at .

About R.O.C.K. Mat-Su: R.O.C.K. (Raising Our Children with Kindness) Mat-Su is a collaborative of community members joining together to promote family resilience and reduce child maltreatment. It was developed as a cross-sector partnership of Mat-Su agencies. The Mat-Su Health Foundation provides ongoing staff support to the collaborative. R.O.C.K. Mat-Su works to build social supports, eliminate silos, and influence systems that affect children and families throughout the borough, all in support of achieving the goal of ending child abuse in Mat-Su. R.O.C.K. Mat-Su strives to achieve its goals through the development of prevention strategies that run the gamut of impacting all families to targeting families with more specific experiences and challenges. More information is available at