An open house held last Friday at a center that teaches high school graduates with disabilities how to live independently also gave Senate President Arnold Palacios (R-Saipan) new insights.
“It opened up our eyes,” said Palacios. “There certainly are members in our community who needs these kinds of programs to function. I am happy and I am glad I took the time to stop by,” he said, adding that the Legislature owes the Center for Independent Living a “sustained contribution from the local resources that we have.”
“We will be looking into doing things along those lines,” he added.
The Center for Independent Living, which has three officers (executive director Susan Satur, Nieves Camacho, and Maria Pangelinan), is open every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and caters to individuals who have mental and physical challenges. The CLI, according to Satur, is visited by 20 to 25 individuals with disabilities, known as consumers.
Over 60 consumers frequent the office. The Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority brings the consumers to CLI.
Satur noted that the office is composed of donated items such as books, computers, furniture, art supplies, and even gardening tools. Satur noted that most of the books in the mini-library at the CLI were donated by Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP).
The CLI was visited Friday by over 250 people, including Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang, Fr. James Balajadia, and members of the Legislature.
Palacios, who visited during Saipan Tribune’s coverage of the event, said in a quick interview that he wishes for the Legislature to support the center after seeing the consumers who served guests, used the computers, and maintained their own consumable garden.
“…She had invited us and the members of the Legislature to come to their open house and I appreciate it, not only for inviting us, but for us to see what the center is about and what it does for the members in our community,” he said.
According to Satur, the CLI currently functions through federal funding of $95,000 annually.
Satur has requested the CNMI Legislature for a van in order to teach clients how to do their own shopping.