The Department of Community and Cultural Affairs’ Commonwealth Respite Service Program kicked off the program with a three-day open house last Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, from 10am to 3pm on Capital Hill.
CRSP administrative assistant Regina Terlaje said the open house was intended to educate the public about their office and to encourage the public to avail of their services.
“We want to welcome the community to come and use our services,” she said. “Let us know how we can help you and we see if you are eligible for our program.”
The main purpose of respite care service providers is to help caregivers who don’t have time for themselves. They will either go into a home during a scheduled time and relieve the primary caretaker for a period of time or utilize the Respite Service facility.
The open house drew a lot of people. “I feel very overwhelmed with the turnout actually. We did send out invitations since last week and we’re all just happy to know that we have this much support for the center,” said DCCA spokesperson Eulalia V. Arriola. “I know that we still have a ways to get it to where we want it to be but this is a very great start.”
According to Arriola, there has already been calls to the facility from primary caregivers who want to know more about the services that are being provided. They have already inked an agreement with Marianas Health Services to provide home care when needed.
“If anyone in the community is interested in learning more about [respite care], maybe in the future, they are interested in volunteering in the office or learning more about a program as we expand. We welcome them to come and check it out,” said Arriola.
“I can’t wait to start the program. I can’t wait to start teaching on how to garden, that’s my passion,” said
Froilan Camacho, whose job is to check one’s eligibility for respite care services, is “excited” about the program—a sentiment echoed by Keoni Hosono, also of CRSP. “I know that this is something that our community can really benefit from here on the island,” he said. “We just wanted to get the community to come in and be aware that we have this service available for those people who give full time care.”
According to DCCA Secretary Robert H. Hunter, the open house for CRSP was supposed to happen in early November 2018 but, due to Super Typhoon Yutu, most of the staff were assigned to recovery duties and didn’t get back to their office until last summer of 2019.
“We’re really excited that we’re finally getting off the ground,” said Hunter.
The open house continued until Jan. 10, 2019.
The CRSP office is at building No. 1354 on Mednilla Avenue on Capital Hill.