Cabrera: AmeriCorps program is rewarding

Members of the CNMI AmeriCorps program and Public School System officials pose with Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan in Thursday’s grant announcement at the latter’s office in Susupe. (Jon Perez)

It has been a year since Gedin Cabrera joined the CNMI AmeriCorps, a program for that also helped her prepare for college and decide what career path she would take. She will be attending Hollins University this fall semester

She said that being part of the AmeriCorps program takes a lot of dedication in volunteering to help other students, but it is rewarding. “You need to have the dedication and skills to work with students. It takes a lot of your skills.”

“But it motivated me to do the work, because not every student is willing to work with you. So you need to have the patience and drive to help motivate them,” Cabrera told Saipan Tribune after Thursday’s AmeriCorps grant announcement at Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan’s (Ind-MP) office in Susupe.

You need to be 17 years old and a U.S. citizen are some of the requirements in order to become an AmeriCorps volunteer.

Cabrera said she plans to continue being an AmeriCorps volunteer even after completing the hours she had served. “I’ve been an AmeriCorps volunteer for about a year, but I plan to continue on as an alum when I go to college.”

“In order for you to graduate in the program, you need to complete a set of hours that you applied for. You can also continue as an alum which can last for a lifetime,” added Cabrera, who plans to double major in forensic psychology and education.

The 18-year-old Cabrera graduated at Kagman High School last month and had completed her hours last month. “Since I’m done with the AmeriCorps here in the CNMI, I can still continue on wherever I go as long as they also have the program there.”

NMI funding

Sablan said AmeriCorps volunteers in the CNMI are warriors for helping hundreds of students in 16 public schools—nine elementary schools and seven middle schools—in reading and literacy

“You help struggling students in their reading level through tutoring and mentorship, you volunteer at the public library, in schools, and in island-wide education activities. With this, you earn education awards that help your college dreams of up to $6,000 to help pay college tuition or student loans,” said Sablan.

He added that the CNMI will be receiving $493,647 in funding that would allow the local Public School System to engage 50 AmeriCorps members in providing tutoring services from Kinder to middle school.

“By the end of next year AmeriCorps will be responsible in increasing the reading levesl of 480 students. The AmeriCorps grants in the CNMI is greater than last year, more than $30,000. I always said that education is an important investment and economic catalyst.”

Since 2006

PSS acting interim commissioner Lynette Villagomez said the program had been big help for the college education of CNMI students since it started in 2006. “There have been over 531 members, high school students that were qualified to participate.”

“We have 378 members who earned education awards for college where they received up to $6,000 for tuition or help pay their student loans. We had served over 18,101 students where we provided support for reading and literacy.”

The program, which currently had 52 members that had a combined 23,673 hours served, had received over $4.5 million in funds since its inception.

“The program helped them in their future. The support given by the members are not only reading and literacy but they also provide emotional support for being mentors to other students,” added Villagomez.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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