With donations from several community partners, the Division of Youth Services under the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs will soon be distributing over 300 gifts to its clients on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.
DYS director Vivian Sablan explained Wednesday that DYS works with community partners and distributes gifts every year and this year the Saipan Chamber of Commerce and car organizations TeamExotic and the Island Summer Auto Fest made donations to DYS’ toy drive.
Sablan said that DYS received the donations on Tuesday, and that DYS staff has since been sorting the gifts. She added that the Chamber has been a DYS partner for some time now and the two car clubs are recent partners.
Participants in DYS’ programs on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota will be getting the gifts, such as participants in the emergency shelter, foster care, Child Protective Services, juvenile probation, and participants in the Parents Anonymous support group.
Sablan said that children at the emergency shelter were the first to get their gifts yesterday, Dec. 23. For DYS’ clients on Tinian and Rota, Sablan said the toys will be shipped over soon.
For all other DYS clients on Saipan, Sablan said that DYS caseworkers will be going to households and personally giving the gifts. She said that DYS eill first come up with client lists and sorts gifts based on those lists.
For Rota and Tinian, Sablan said that toys will be distributed during scheduled pickups at community centers on both islands, or through in-person gift deliveries done by DYS staff.
When asked for her thoughts on the large amount of community support for DYS’ gift-giving initiative, Sablan said the additional support is “always a blessing” and said that working with partnering agencies allows DYS to better serve its clients.
“It’s always a blessing to have the additional support. What I always tell our partnering agencies, both public and private, is [that] DYS can only do so much, and we know that we are not able to cover so many areas unless we establish these partnerships. This is one good example of a partnership that can bring a lot of joy and [smiles] to the children that we serve,” said Sablan.
Sablan also lauded the CNMI Salvation Army and Tyler’s Gelatte Stone for supporting DYS.
Yesterday, the Salvation Army sponsored a Christmas luncheon at the DYS emergency shelter. Sablan said the Salvation Army has been giving gifts through DYS and has been a partner for over five years now. This year, Salvation Army bought clothing and footwear for the children at the shelter.
Sablan shared that Tyler’s Gelatte Stone will be donating 100 cups of gelato to DYS, made possible through an ongoing campaign by the creamery where Tyler’s will donate one gelato to DYS for every one sold.