Celebrating the Goodness of Hooper Bay

March 2019

Sobriety is a daily struggle; if you are working at being sober, the community is there supporting you.  Sobriety, or effort to sobriety, could be for days, weeks, or years.  If you are making an effort, we want to recognize your strength!  Be a ROLE MODEL for our YOUTH!  Be the ENCOURAGEMENT we all need! — Agatha Napoleon

Hooper Bay's 2nd Annual Celebration of Life & Sobriety

March 2019

The community of Hooper Bay generates hope and resilience through strengthening the connection among their people, by sharing and learning the traditional ways of the Yupik while supporting one another in the effort to fight addiction while always remembering to celebrate life.

A Welcome Celebration

The Hooper Bay Wellness Program sponsored the community’s 2nd Annual Sobriety Celebration on April 13, 2019.  There were over a hundred community members who came out for the celebration. The celebration began with an opening from Agatha Napoleon, Hooper Bay Wellness Coordinator, followed by a Prayer by Albina Joe. Later a special Yupik dance and song were performed by the Hooper Bays Kindergarten class.  

This event recognized and celebrated those individuals who have chosen to live a healthy life, including hearing their personal story on their journey to and of sobriety.  There were twelve community members recognized in the celebration commencement for their sobriety. 

Performance by the Hooper Bays Kindergarten class

Finding Inspiration

Of the twelve, a brave young mother, Willamina O’Brien was also the inspiration for the development of the annual event in Hooper Bay.  Willamina demonstrated her courage by sharing her own story of alcohol misuse and abuse while stressing the importance of celebrating life.  In her speech, she discussed how she decided it was time to take action and “just do it—you do not need a reason to celebrate life and sobriety.”  So, she began her celebration two years before by buying a turkey and inviting folks to join her at her home in potluck fashion.  This first gathering was a success and inspired one attendee, Hooper Bay’s Wellness Coordinator, Agatha Napoleon, to begin its own community-wide annual Sobriety Celebration. 

How the Celebration Began

Hooper Bay Holds Its First Sobriety Celebration

The first annual Hooper Bay Sobriety Celebration in 2018, was an inspiration to many and was recognized by former Governor of Alaska, Bill Walker, who wrote a personal thank you note to Agatha Napoleon, the Hooper Bay Wellness Program Coordinator for her work.

Modeling For Other Communities

The Hooper Bay Wellness Program, Community Planning Group, Agatha, Willamina, and all its community members continue to be a model for other communities to celebrate life and all of its challenges and success in the efforts to decrease alcohol misuse and abuse among their people.

Alcohol Is Not The Answer

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This project was supported by Award No. 2016-TY-FX-K001 awarded to the Rural Community Action Program Alaska Native Youth Training and Technical Assistance Project, by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs.

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