For the first time in CNMI history, 4-H Marianas delegates participated in the 2019 National 4-H Conference in Washington, D.C., joining other representatives from all across the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
The CNMI delegation was composed of Alyssa Attao, 4-H Marianas president; Dan Salde, 4-H Marianas public relations officer; and Isa Long, 4-H Marianas Tinian representative.
Also called N4-HC, the conference gives the youth an opportunity to represent their state or territory as they learn and have hands-on educational activities, while discussing issues about the youth and their community.
Current issues addressed at the conference were also presented to many federal agencies and the U.S. Congress.
4-H Marianas is a non-profit organization that educates the youth about the environment, healthy living, indigenous culture, and helping the community.
Speaking to Saipan Tribune, Attao said that attending N4-HC “was definitely a foot in the door” and will open more opportunities for the CNMI youth community to be nationally recognized.
Among the issues that the 4-H Marianas delegates talked about at the conference were mental health, bullying, and cyberbullying, Attao said, “[and] presented our island’s perspective and our [proposed] solutions” to federal agencies, like the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
While in Washington, D.C., the young delegates also visited Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan and talked about what 4-H Marianas is currently doing in the CNMI and issues that concern the youth.
“We brought up the topic of mental health because we are concerned about the lack of knowledge, awareness, and actions surrounding the youth,” Attao said.
And since May is Mental Health Month, Attao said that 4-H Marianas will be following up with Sablan’s office on how they could work together “to make a positive change” in the community.
“4-H Marianas is very active within the community, from organizing our own programs to collaborating with other agencies on youth programming,” she said.
Toward this end, the organization is currently participating in an initiative known as “Raise Your Hand,” where people can support the 4-H program in their community by voting in an online poll. The territory with the highest number of votes will receive up to $20,000 that will go to education funding and more youth programs in the community. To vote, visit https://4-h.org/raise-your-hand/.