Each year, CITC recognizes an outstanding employee or team of employees with the annual President’s Susten Award. This year’s Susten Award recipient is Malia Davis, an intervention services supervisor with our Recovery Services (RS) department.
Susten, which is Dena’ina Athabaskan for “breaking trail,” is all about forging ahead, pushing through obstacles, and refusing to give up hope. The President’s Susten Award is an annual recognition that celebrates employees for their extraordinary service to CITC’s mission and for going above and beyond to carry out this important work.
Under Malia’s leadership, RS intervention services and outreach teams have been on the front lines throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As one nominator put it, “Malia’s team is where help is needed: at the congregate shelters, in the community speaking to individuals who experience homelessness, on the street corners encouraging support and a compassionate ear, providing assessments to individuals who have been using substances and who have experienced trauma.”
According to another nominator, “Malia and her team hear the toughest situations and cries for help from participants, potential participants, and their loved ones. As a result of Malia’s leadership style — [characterized by] vulnerability, transparency and encouragement to utilize resources offered by our organization — her team has persevered and had the least amount of staff changeover in the last year, let alone the last 2-3 years.”
Malia embodies interdependence through her open communication with other departments, as she works to secure resources for participants. She coordinates and partners with other organizations, housing units, and detox facilities to work towards the common goal of support for individuals experiencing substance use and adverse life experiences. In addition, Malia coordinated with the RS Peer Team to provide wrap-around support prior to participants entering into treatment, resulting in a higher engagement rate for participants early in their recovery and better follow through of their treatment recommendations. She also coordinated with senior directors to remove barriers for folks, making the process for getting into residential treatment much more seamless, even in the face of the COVID pandemic.
One of Malia’s team members highlighted the weekly meetings Malia launched: “During the pandemic, she started, ‘The Sanity Meeting.’ The name of the meeting validated my thoughts at the time. I felt like it brought us all together in a quarantine situation. I appreciated the humor.”
Other staff and nominators cited Malia’s approachability, optimism, dependability, resiliency, supportiveness, and consistency.
Perhaps nothing sums up the way Malia has demonstrated CITC’s values over the last year more than this sentiment from a nominator: “Malia embodies resiliency and respect through the encouragement and daily vigor she brings to work and to her team. [She inspires her team] to keep the hope and faith that any individual who comes in is given a seed of hope for change, no matter what part of the journey they are on. Malia and her team save lives.”
In recognition of her outstanding service to CITC and as the 2021 President’s Susten Award, Malia will receive a garment of her choice from Copper River Fleece, which will be customized with CITC branding and the Susten Award logo. She will also be given a handmade tile of the Susten Award crafted by Redoubt Press & Tiles. The Susten Tile is made exclusively for CITC by local Alaska Native Artist Edwin Michell and is made from local clay from the Anchorage mud flats.