ANCHORAGE, AK – Dozens of residents from Coastal Villages Region Fund (CVRF) member villages are preparing to attend higher education programs this fall with help from CVRF. CVRF has awarded 79 residents with a total of $351,000 for the Fall 2012 semester. Of the 79 scholarship recipients, 62 are attending universities and 17 are attending vocational programs.

The Fall 2012 scholarship awards brings the total provided by CVRF in 2012 to 130 awards totaling over $500,000.

“I am very thankful to receive scholarship money from CVRF as I continue to work towards earning my degree in Education at the Kuskokwim University Campus” says Kimberly Nicholai, a Napaskiak resident.

Since 2007, CVRF has disbursed almost $3 million in scholarships in 782 awards for students at both universities and vocational programs.

“The Coastal Villages Scholarship Program provides much-needed assistance to our residents, many of whom have limited financial resources for higher education. We encourage our residents to take advantage of this program, to earn degrees or certificates in their field of study and to ultimately find a stable and better paying career than they would otherwise have,” says Neil Rodriguez, CVRF Community Benefits Director.

One resident who completed his program is Arthur Abalama of Quinhagak who received a commercial pilot certificate in 2010 from Yuut Yaqungviat in Bethel and who now pilots aircraft for Era Aviation. “I completed my training to receive my commercial pilot certificate in less than a year and I wouldn’t have been able to obtain it as fast without the scholarships I received from CVRF” says Arthur.

Arthur’s younger brother Daniel Abalama also received scholarships from CVRF and earned his commercial pilot certificate on August 14, 2012 from Yuut Yaqungviat and will soon start flying for Era Aviation in Bethel. “My brother had some influence on my decision to pursue flying as well as my grandfather, dad, and uncle who flew airplanes. The training was definitely challenging but I took it one step at a time and told myself to push through. As for flying, I enjoy the freedom I feel in the air and the scenery is always changing as I fly to different areas” says Daniel.

CVRF also provides grants to residents through its Training Program, for shorter-term programs that last 12 weeks or less. Nine residents were awarded almost $60,000 by CVRF in 2012 for programs such as structural welding, pipe fitting, or heavy equipment operation.

“I encourage and challenge our youth to push themselves to pursue higher education. In order to be successful, they must exercise high standards in the work or the learning place by being punctual, productive, and honest. More importantly, our youth must not be afraid to ask questions so they can continue to learn and be productive” says CVRF’s President John O. Mark of Quinhagak. John has a Master’s Degree in Public School Administration and served as a long-time educator and school principal.

The deadline to apply for a CVRF scholarship for the Spring 2013 semester (January – July) is October 31, 2012. The deadline to apply for a Fall 2013 scholarship will be May 31, 2013.

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CVRF is a 501(c)(4) Alaska non-profit corporation whose 20 member villages are along the west coast of Alaska from Scammon Bay to Platinum. CVRF participates in the federal Western Alaska Community Development Quota (CDQ) Program and is governed by a 20-member Board of Directors, with one director elected by the residents of each of the 20 member communities. CVRF is dedicated to providing economic development in its 20 member communities by creating sensible, tangible and long-term opportunities that generate Hope for residents who want to Fish and Work. CVRF is the largest jobs provider in its member villages and is the first CDQ group to own and control the vessels that harvest its CDQ allocations. For more information, visit or contact Dawson Hoover at 907-278-5151.