2019 marked the commencement of the Longevity Leave award for eligible Kawerak employees. The award was created in response to Kawerak President Melanie Bahnke’s recent sabbatical awarded by Rasmuson Foundation. Melanie reflected,¬†“As many of you know I had the privilege of being selected for a Rasmuson Foundation Sabbatical last year. It provided me an opportunity to take time off from work and spend time with my family fishing and camping. It was very restful and I came back to work energized and refreshed.” She wanted Kawerak staff who have provided invaluable and lengthy service to the organization to have a similar opportunity and privilege.

The Board approved the proposal from the staff policy committee for long-term (ten years or more), highly productive employees to receive one paid month off of work. The competitive award is merit-based and requires employees to submit an application as well as plan for their leave. Not all employees who meet the years of service threshold will be awarded the leave.

At the beginning of this determination, 41 employees were eligible to apply, and six (6) employees were awarded for 2019. At their recognition during the Kawerak Board of Directors Meeting in April, the six cited reasons varying from building a house, taking some much needed rest and relaxation, taking a family vacation, among others.

Kawerak recognizes the importance of acknowledging our long serving employees and their contributions they have made to their specific department/program and the region as a whole. Kawerak also recognizes the importance of taking time off to reflect on your work, gain insight into what you accomplished in your career and renew your personal energy. Five employees will be selected in 2020, and 4 employees each subsequent year.

Congratulations for the 2019 selections (from left to right in photo):

MaryJane Litchard (ABE/GED Program Specialist)

Pearl Mikulski (Planner)

Julie Raymond-Yakoubian (Social Science Program Director)

Sara Lizak (Vocational Rehabilitation Program Manager)

Gina Appolloni (VPSO Director)

Dan Harrelson (VPSO, White Mountain) second solo photo