Anchorage has many people who are undereducated and underemployed, and Nine Star is committed to expanding their access to services that can help improve their lives. Despite considerable challenges, Nine Star is adept at creating and sustaining partnerships. As Nine Star’s director David Alexander says, “We give until it hurts. We don’t demand a quid pro quo.” Staff work hard to support their partners by attending partners’ events, sharing resources, finding ways to meet mutual goals, and providing advice and mentoring. They recognize that each partnership is unique and must be treated accordingly. Partners strive to maintain an open-door policy for staff and clients, coordinate regular meetings, and cultivate open communication.
As staff seek constantly to solve problems and reach more clients, they draw on their passion for service. As Alexander describes it, “Nine Star has allowed and encouraged community involvement, the development of relationships, and not being limited to one’s own program...an entrepreneurial attitude.” The focus is firmly on the needs of the client, and staff work with each other and with partners to keep that always foremost in mind. As Nine Star’s operations manager, Amy Young, observes, “It doesn’t happen by magic. People work hard.”