Thirty-one volunteers from different public high schools underwent a two-day training last week at the Hyatt Regency Saipan Ballroom on responding to community needs and part of it was learning life-saving skills such as how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR in cases of emergency.
Men and women from the Department of Fire Emergency and Medical Services served as instructors and gave hands-on training to the volunteers.
“The volunteers are ages 17 years old and above and are members of the AmeriCorps reading tutoring program from all three islands. …They tutor students in the elementary and middle school levels,” said Victoria S. Nicholas, program director for Public School System’s AmeriCorps program. “Programs like these are part of AmeriCorps training. Majority of these students have completed their service as they have already put in 675 hours at the schools and approximately 30 of them re-enrolled for an additional 300 hours and altogether they’re doing 975 hours in less than a year.”
AmeriCorps is a national service program and is funded by federal grants like the Corporation for National and Community Service, according to Nicholas. “AmeriCorps is a very prestigious brand and a recognized organization across all the United States and U.S. territories. …The goal is for them to provide reading tutoring services to students of PSS so they serve the students first. They are required to complete their service at 675 hours. Most of these volunteers did 700 hours-plus and one [did] 900 hours,” she said.
AmeriCorps volunteers get a monthly stipend of $250 per month, regardless of the number of hours. “At the end of it, they get an experience in educational work that they can use in college. …These kids are being given the opportunity not just to serve and improve the community but also since AmeriCorps is a nationally recognized program, it opens up opportunities in college as well as job opportunities,” she added.
DFEMS Commissioner Dennis C. Mendiola said it is quite important for the younger generation to acquire life-saving skills like CPR since they can be the first and primary responders before actual professionals come in. “They can help us get the process started by identifying the issues and they can relate that through telephone to the responders, so when we get there the assessment is a lot more easy and expedient,” he said. “…We do a lot of outreach and get our primary responders out there to help with training students, adults and try and get everybody educated in CPR.”
Nicholas said the next AmeriCorps reading tutoring program will start accepting new applicants by August or September this year. The program is looking for 60 members in all. They must be 17 years old and above, U.S. citizens, and with a grade-point average of 2.5. “The process is pretty strenuous but it is to make sure that we have students who have the heart of a volunteer and that they are committed and responsible,” she said.
For more information, contact San Nicolas at Victoria.email@example.com or Elizabeth Aguon at firstname.lastname@example.org.