West Anchorage High School boasts nearly 35 clubs for students. YANA Club provides many students a safe place where they can share their thoughts and talk to fellow classmates, as well as learn skills to help others feel valued.
YANA stands for “You Are Not Alone” and is a national club across the nation. The goal of YANA is to make a difference one smile at a time. Yana Club is sponsored by Carri Jones, a West High math teacher. Jones has been teaching at West for five years and she never intended on running YANA Club, but is pleased with the effect it has had on the students who attend. “YANA Club has positively impacted a few people here at West to teach them how to get help and what resources that are actually available to them,” said Jones.
This year YANA has really focused on suicide prevention and awareness. Jones and club members presented in nearly all the English classes at West, teaching students about how to help someone who may be battling thoughts of suicide and sharing information on resources available. Jones took several YANA members to Kodiak in March to make the presentations to students.
To increase the amount of student participation, YANA club hosts a pizza party every third Tuesday of the month. Club members hope to have more and more people joining in the next years. The club welcomes all students. “You don’t have to be struggling to go. Its for anyone to just hang out or chill,” Jones said.
West High Junior Aaron Medina describes the club as a chill place to be where students can talk to friends and hear each other’s thoughts. Medina says, “The club has so much positivity. It’s all positive vibes in here.” Medina has been a part of YANA for about a year now and says he really enjoys it.
YANA Club meets every Tuesday during lunch in room 57.