Aleina Tanabe is KYUK's newest staff member and our first Jesuit Volunteer. As the Wellness Programming Producer, Aleina produces health and wellness programming at KYUK for TV, radio, and web. She also works with our high school interns.
Aleina was born and raised in Kailua, Hawaii and studied Biology and Sociology at Regis University in Denver, Colorado. Before moving to Bethel, Aleina served as a Jesuit Volunteer in Yakima, Washington. She hit the ground running by taking Wellness Wednesdays under her wing, a radio show about health and wellness in the YK Delta that spans topics from diabetes to domestic violence. Having grown up in Hawaii, Aleina is always eager to learn about different cultures and has a special place in her heart for Elders. With this perspective, she is confident that she will thrive in Bethel.
John Active introduced Aleina on Talkline. Read the transcription of their interview below.
John: I am very happy to announce and welcome our newest volunteer here at KYUK, Aleina Tanabe. Aloha.
John: Aleina, welcome to Bethel and KYUK. Pray tell, where you are from?
Aleina: I am from Hawaii. I grew up in Kailua, which is on the island of Oahu.
John: The Big Island?
Aleina: No, but it is the most populated.
John: Are you full Hawaiian?
Aleina: No, I am "hapa" which means half. I am half Japanese and half Caucasian.
John: Really? Tell us a little bit more about yourself.
Aleina: So I grew up on Oahu. Then after high school, I went to college in Colorado, in Denver at a school called Regis University. And then last year was my first year as a Jesuit Volunteer in Yakima, Washington. And now I am a Jesuit Volunteer here in Bethel.
John: I understand this is your first time in Alaska, and therefore your first time in Bethel. What do you think?
Aleina: It's been great! I've only been here for a week, but so far everyone here has been really nice. I've eaten really good food and there are lots of activities going on.
John: I heard you'll be working as a Wellness Programmer with Ikayutet and with our interns here at KYUK. Are you excited?
Aleina: I am very excited. Yes.
John: How many other Jesuit volunteers are here with you? Where are the others volunteering?
Aleina: This year there are seven total, including me. We all live together out in Uivik. So there is me here at KYUK; there is one at the Public Defender; one at KuC Sackett Hall dorm; one at the library; there are two at TWC; and there is also one at KLA.
John: I heard there is one at YK too, right?
Aleina: No, not this year.
John: Oh ok. So how did you decide to volunteer here at KYUK, or were you placed here?
Aleina: I chose Bethel! Bethel was my first choice. I knew I always wanted to come to Alaska and out of all the choices through Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest, which are Juneau, Anchorage, Sitka, and Bethel, I figured if I wanted to come to Alaska so much, why not choose the most Alaska choice. Which was Bethel.
John: So you have been here for about a week? What have you and the others been doing in your free time?
Aleina: We've been invited to a lot of potlucks, which we love. Lots of good food. We've played softball down at Pinky's Park. Just walking around and exploring, learning all about Bethel. It's been fun!
John: Great! How are the people here?
Aleina: So nice! Very nice!
John: Just like you folks down in the islands. I was down there a couple years ago and everyone called me "uncle." It was very interesting.
Aleina: Yeah! That is a way to respect your Elders. You call them uncle or auntie even if you are not related.
John: Very interesting. Any closing comments?
Aleina: I'm just super excited to be here and experience Bethel, as well as KYUK. It'll be a new challenge and adventure for me.
John: I say Aloha Nui to Aleina, our new Jesuit Volunteer here at KYUK. Welcome to Bethel once again.
Aleina: Thank you!!
John: Thank you for being here.