TINIAN—While some youth programs like the Tinian Chapter of the Tasi to Table Inc, which aims to equip its members with fishing skills and knowledge, are quite expensive, the Tinian Municipal Council believes it is necessary to support and sustain these programs as they are investments in the island’s children.
Tinian Municipal Council executive director Eric Reyes said in an interview after the Tinian chapter’s rod and reel presentation last Saturday that supporting youth programs like Tasi to Table Inc. is financially “on the high-end level compared to other programs” but he, TMC secretary Juanita Masga Mendiola, and other council members believe that the benefits of funding and maintaining TTT’s presence on Tinian outweighs the costs.
Reyes commended TTT for not only exposing Tinian’s youth to fishing and fishing derbies, but for also providing the students with the necessary knowledge and resources to get fishing events of their own going on Tinian.
“The program is good in and of itself as a result of it being a youth program running from the high school level and out to the community. …It’s not just a normal [fishing] derby; they actually teach the kids how to manage and run an entire event, and that’s something new. …It is a beautiful program from top to bottom,” said Reyes.
Mendiola agrees, saying, “There is no [amount of money that’s too] big to invest in the children.” According to her, the working number for the costs of supporting TTT’s presence on Tinian, as well as covering the possible travel costs of advisers, chaperones, and students, comes out to between $6,000 and $12,000 per event.
“When you talk about investing in children, [increasing] their knowledge about themselves, and pursuing life in whatever capacity, it’s a [worthwhile] investment. We’re going to do everything we can to make sure that this program continues. …It’s a challenge, but I think with the kids, parents, and community coming together we can pull this off,” said Mendiola.
Tasi to Table is an organization that exposes youth to the joys of fishing while also providing high school students the opportunity to earn elective credits that go toward graduation. Tasi to Table will begin eight-month programs on Tinian and Rota next school year, and the organization’s leadership has expressed interest in holding student fishing derbies for its Tinian and Rota students at their respective islands in the future.