Leslie Gauntt, a current JV in Juneau, AK, writes about the recent simple living challenge her community embraced:
Throughout the year, the Juneau community has done weekly simple living challenges ranging from timing our showers, to eating less cheese, to not using our dishwasher and having nights where we use limited electricity. The challenges have been fun and have helped us live out the simple living value as a community. In January, we decided to have a dry month where we chose not to consume any alcohol. While all of us decided to do this for different reasons, we did it in solidarity with one another. For me personally, I chose not to drink because alcoholism affects the small capital city of Juneau in big ways. We see the effects of alcohol in the faces of our clients, on our streets, and in the stories we hear from other community members. Also, our fellow Alaska community in Bethel is a dry community and we wished to start off the year in solidarity with them and their commitment. The month was challenging for all of us in different ways, and the strain of the Alaskan winter didn’t make it any easier. We spent many nights staying in and playing board games, in conversation with one another, reading, watching movies and learning new things (I learned how to knit hats/scarves and Shane learned how to play the guitar). However, it brought a new perspective on how we were using alcohol as a house and individually, on how much money we saved from our $100 stipends, and it allowed us to be in solidarity with others. Now every one of my community members has a hat and Shane is going to perform at the Juneau Folk Fest in April!