My Grandma's House

2021:  A Healing Journey During Covid-19

My Grandma’s House

We are the ones We’ve been waiting for!

Cynthia Erickson started My Grandma’s House In 2010 after 6 suicide events took place in the interior villages – she personally knew all of them.  The devastating news broke her heart and she knew something had to be done to protect the youth.  Erickson’s home transformed into My Grandma’s House.  Like many grandmothers, her home is a welcoming, warm and safe haven for the children to come to.

Cynthia Erickson’s Story

Cynthia Erickson – Founder of My Grandma’s House

During the pandemic we rode on snow machines, went sledding, made Mother’s Day cards, picked berries, sewed neck warmers, made jam, baked, went caroling and made ornaments and gifts.  We tried our best to take away the stress and anxiety in our lives.  I do a lot long distance and on social media with kids all over Alaska!  They know they can always message or call me.  It’s been challenging for many.

I took a Laughing Yoga class last spring right before the pandemic.  I am planning to do this with the kids and we are excited!!  Humor is a MUST!  We always have so much fun!  It is a blessing for me to be with the children. They are so full of innocence, happiness and love! We have such wonderful children.  I hope all of you get inspired to take some children under your wing to give them some extra love, fun and memories. They will remember you and think of the safe environment.  It does make a huge impact in their life.  They in turn will be better people, better leaders, parents and community members.

Any activity you do with the kids is special.  I always say, it doesn’t take money to make a child’s day.  Moments are special.  Sit on the bank and watch them swim, pick berries, slide down, have a game night.

One of the kids said, ”I wish we had a My Grandma’s House in every village.  It is a place we can go to be kids and know we are loved.  We sometimes don’t have good homes and need a place to get away.”

Fun in Tanana!

Activities At My Grandma’s House

The children do many culturally-fun and engaging activities like, beading birch bark earrings, sewing kuspuks and neck warmers, baking, sledding, swimming, picking berries, making jam, jarring moose and fish.  The gathering is typically informal with no specific topic.  Their purpose at My Grandma’s House is to have a lot of fun, talk about life events, and exchange laughs.  When a youth has something personal going on in his/her life or has happened a safe conversation takes place.  Erickson expressed that discussions on suicides and sexual abuse in rural Alaska are common themes at her home.   At My Grandma’s House, the youth work out coping strategies and ways to deal with those difficult subjects.  

Their motto is to always welcome openness and honesty with the children.  Erickson said, “They know more than we give them credit for.  They go through a lot in their life and need to be armed with knowledge, care, and know who can help and give them resources for support.”

Contact information

Please contact Cynthia Erickson, Founder of My Grandma’s House at (907) 750-9123

The Resource Basket

This is a RurAL CAP affiliated program.