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Commitment to Service & Community

Lusiana Tuga Hansen shares her story of helping establish Polynesian Association of Alaska (PAOA)

Lusiana Tuga HansenLusiana Tuga Hansen is being honored as a Champion of Change for her efforts as an AAPI Women leader.

I am a Pacific Islander born in a small Island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean called “Manu’a Island” in American Samoa. I have 5 sisters and 2 brothers and am from a big family of the Manu’atele, whose roots goes back to the last King of the Manu’a Island. I moved to Anchorage Alaska in 1985 and currently work for the State of Alaska at the Department of Administration Division of Motor Vehicles. Beside my full time job, I attend the University of Anchorage Alaska where I am majoring in Office Technology.

In 2004 I started the first Samoan Language Computer school for elders. In 2005, I helped establish a new organization called Polynesian Association of Alaska (PAOA) to help provide our Polynesian Community in Alaska with cultural events, history, arts and crafts programs that bring us together.

As the President of PAOA, I and my board members created a community event, “Polynesian Culture Flag Day,” to celebrate the history, culture, arts, and crafts of our Polynesian Islands. This event also brings together elders and young people from diverse communities in Anchorage.

On my volunteer journey in the City of Anchorage and the State of Alaska, I have found that helping others gives me a sense of belonging. Earlier this year, I volunteered again to start a new organization in Anchorage called the Anchorage Polynesian Lions Club. As a President of this Lions Club, our mission is simply “to serve.” We serve anyone and everyone that needs help in the community.

I still find the time to provide services to our elders, from helping them to move to driving them to their medical appointment and back home. There are so many ways in which we can provide services to our community. I encourage everyone to take that extra time you have to provide volunteer services for someone that need your help. Do it because you care.

Lucy Hansen is President of the Polynesian Association of Alaska.