To encourage more students to join the Project Healthy Oceans and People Empowerment, or Project HOPE, which seeks to nurture students’ interest in marine biology, the Office of Rep. Sheila Babauta (D-Saipan) is helping transports students from Precinct 4 to the Guma Sakman in Susupe every Austerity Monday.
Babauta said she is doing this because she wants to make sure that students from the northern part of Saipan are able to take advantage of this opportunity since transportation is always an issue for their community and she wants to “fill the gap.”
Babauta believes that Project HOPE is beneficial for the students because it can influence their behavior, even in the smallest way, that they can learn more about coral reefs, the oceans, and working toward a sustainable environment and community.
Babauta, who is actively involved in Project HOPE, not only ferries the students; she also participates in activities, such as swimming with them.
Because the students in the program are from different schools, Babauta said she’s seen the students grow and connect with one another. “It takes a lot of time for them to just get comfortable with each other, even students attending the same school. [Connecting] is so important because they’re going to be working together in the future, and hopefully even serve in the Legislature together,” she added.
Babauta wants to encourage parents to be aware of opportunities or programs, that are available for the youth because the CNMI has more than a handful of educators and experts that are coming together to coordinate opportunities, such as Project HOPE, for the community.
As for projects in Precinct 4, Babauta has been busy getting ready for the launch of the Hope Garden, which is a community garden behind the Tanapag Youth Center. Babauta is doing this in coordination with Northern Marianas College and Stellar Marianas. The fickle weather has been delaying the program’s official launch.
Babauta wants to look into other programs that will encourage employment among the youth, especially those coming out of high school looking for jobs. She’s working with Nicole Babauta at the Small Business Development to see how to create a program to help the youth in this aspect.