ACT on the Iditarod Trail

the challenge
The challenge is to find a solution for all communities in Alaska to build resilience and solutions to Adverse Childhood Experiences. Read Overview...
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Submission Deadline
Total Prize Amount


The ACT on the Iditarod Trail HeroX Challenge is a platform for all Alaskans to compete for a $35,000 prize to be awarded to the Wellness Community which finds a solution for local issue. This challenge is issued by the Alaskans Changing Together initiative and its partners: The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and the Iditarod Sled Dog Race.

Communities state-wide, can compete (through their youth council, wellness coalition, or youth leader club) for a heroX Prize which will be judged based on positive community impact, creativity, and collaboration.

Please join Governor Walker, our partners statewide, and the ACT Team, by becoming a part of “ACT on the Trail”.  Your participation will help Alaskans come together through the Iditarod and impact wellness statewide.

The Problem

Positive experiences in childhood often lead to healthy and productive adulthood. “Adverse Childhood Experiences” (ACEs) are stressful or traumatic experiences, including abuse, neglect, witnessing domestic violence, or growing up with substance abuse, mental illness, or a parent in jail. Findings of the Adverse Childhood Experience study suggest that certain experiences are major risk factors for the leading causes of illness and death as well as poor quality of life in the United States. The more trauma a child experiences, the higher their risk of experiencing one or more of the many behavioral, social and physical ills we are trying to prevent. “Rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among Native youth are roughly three times the national average, for example – about the same as those of veterans returning from wars in the Middle East.” 68% of surveyed Alaskans have experienced at least one ACE, 16% of which had score of over 4, the higher the ACE score the higher the likelihood of numerous negative health and social outcomes such as depression, substance abuse, intimidate partner violence, low health-related quality of life, and others.

“Negative coping mechanisms such as domestic violence, sexual violence (DV/SV) and child maltreatment can result in life-long—even intergenerational—effects on the health and wellness of family members and communities.” ~ANTHC Health Families Initiative


  • To increase the positive protective factors for youth and/or adults in a way that creates sustained hope for them to thrive, have purpose, and take engaged leadership roles in their community
  • To foster and strengthen  resilience in Alaskans who have experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences
  • To create locally-driven sustainable solutions for comprehensive wellness in rural Alaska.


Challenge Guidelines:

To compete in the HeroX Challenge you will need to meet the following criteria:

1.     Complete the activities and criteria needed to receive the Incentive Award.

2.     Identify one to two top community needs that meet the Challenge Goals

3.     Select activity(s) to build positive protective factors in your top need(s) area(s)

  • Review and score possible activities based on criteria such as:
    • Appropriateness / fit with priority needs audience
    • Strength as a positive solution to build protective factors
    • Ease for people to see the value
    • Appeal to the community
    • Resources required to implement
    • Ease of access by priority needs audience
    • Possibility for success in the short term
    • Cultural relevance
    • Other

4.     Develop an action plan to address the selected community need(s)

  • Goal and objectives
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Timeline / Calendar
  • Budget
  • Tracking Plan
  • Resources required:
    • People
    • Materials
    • Money
    • In kind
    • Other

5.     Make it happen! This is the fun part.  Don’t forget to capture your progress through pictures, videos, stories, or other method so that we all can share and celebrate with each other’s successes.  

Submission Requirements

Submissions must present an original idea or offer an innovative adaptation or approach to a previously implemented idea that relates to building resilience and solutions to Adverse Childhood Experiences. All submissions should have evidence of at least partial execution of concept or solution establishment. Such evidence may include written or web based documentation, program establishment, details or concepts of a hosted event, or any other relevant information related to finding a community solution. Submissions are encouraged to be community oriented e.g. projects resulting in a solution for your school, workplace, municipality, neighborhood, region, corporations, or larger based community. 

Submissions can include but are not limited to the following:

  • Program design and implementation
  • Adaptation of an existing program
  • Hosting a community event
  • Creating a change in community protocols
  • Designing or fostering a constructive solution in some way to build resilience and resist ACES in the community

Competitors can present the implemented solution through:

  • social media
  • video presentation
  • brochure of program
  • campaign
  • website or blog
  • in person presentation


Presenting a written document, no longer than 4 pages with content to include:

  • Introduction (outline the problem) 
  • Solution or proposed solution
  • Evidence the proposed solution involved community inclusion or support
  • Outcome measures, such as community needs findings
  • Research findings (if applicable) and citations



Who can participate:

The Challenge is open to all active Wellness Coalitions, Youth Councils, or Youth Leader Clubs in Alaska that have followed ACT on the Trail heroX Challenge criteria.

  • Youth Leader Clubs: K-12 students associated with a school in Alaska
  • Youth Councils: Youth ages 18-24 that are part of an Alaskan community
  • Wellness Coalitions: Age 25+ in an Alaskan community.


Registration and Submissions:

Submissions must be made online (only), via upload to the website. All uploads must be in PDF format. All wellness teams must be registered prior to submitting an entry. Submissions must be received on or before April 30th, 2016. No late submissions will be accepted.

No specific qualifications or expertise in the field of mental health or wellness are required. ACT on the Trail organizers encourage outside individuals and non-expert teams to compete and propose new solutions.

To be eligible to compete, you must complete the Challenge Guideline Criteria

Selection of Winners:

Based on the winning criteria one prize will be awarded for a total prize of $35,000 USD. In the case of a tie, the winner(s) will be selected based on the highest votes from the Judges.

The ultimate prize will be awarded to the community effort that best creates this breakthrough:

Our communities will be places where adults can overcome a rough start and thrive, and where the next generation is raised in a healthier, more supportive environment. (Adopted from “Overcoming ACEs in Alaska”)

Judging Panel:

The determination of the winners will be made by a group of people including leaders, influencers, community or board members, and people with unique insight into ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences) in Alaska.

Additional Information

  • By participating in the Prize, each competitor agrees to submit only their original idea. Any indication of "copying" amongst competitors is grounds for disqualification.
  • All applications will go through a process of due diligence; any application found to be misrepresentative, plagiarized, or sharing an idea that is not their own will be automatically disqualified.
  • All ineligible applicants will be automatically removed from the competition with no recourse or reimbursement.
  • No purchase or payment of any kind is necessary to enter or win the competition.
  • Void wherever restricted or prohibited by law.
  • Click "Follow the Challenge" above to be notified of any status updates to the challenge.
  • Click "Yes Sign Me Up!" above to register for the challenge. You will be notified of any status updates and be able to create an entry to the challenge when it opens.
  • Click on the "Share" button or social media icons above to share this challenge with your friends, your family, or anyone you know who has a passion for discovery.
  • Leave a comment in our Comments Thread to join the conversation, ask questions or connect with other innovators.

Challenge Guidelines are subject to change. Registered competitors will receive notification when changes are made, however, we highly encourage you to visit the Challenge Site often to review updates.