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Cruz wants youth to become social workers

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SPEAKER'S RADIO ADDRESS
ACTING SPEAKER BENJAMIN J.F. CRUZ

Hafa Adai Taotao Guam! I want to thank Speaker Won Pat for allowing me to deliver this week's legislative address.

On Monday, I toured the Correctional Facility at the Department of Youth Affairs with Senators Tony Ada and Chris Duenas, and Acting Director Adonis Mendiola. The overcrowding situation has reached a crisis point with the number of youth incarcerated. Critical staff positions must be filled immediately.

I call on the Governor and Lt. Governor to visit DYA and personally assess this situation. Awareness and acknowledgement is the first step to addressing this problem. Last week, I joined Lt. Governor Tenorio to proclaim March as Professional Social Workers month in honor of the role Social Workers have in our island. Social Work is an honorable profession and I commend all social work professionals for their dedication, patience, and commitment. I congratulate the Guam Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers and all organizations that advance social services, social justice and social consciousness.

I want to encourage our young people to become social workers. Social workers help individuals, groups and communities by providing counseling, assistance and care. They are problem solvers -- advocates of the disabled, disadvantaged, and many times, the discriminated. Very few professions allow us to show our humanity and help people transition and transform their lives. Social work is that kind of profession.

This week, the Guam Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Family Violence is hosting a regional summit focused on ‘Creating Safe, Healthy and Violence Free Island Communities.' I want to recognize the social workers from throughout our region assembled with visitors from Washington DC, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to discuss survivor confidentiality, community advocate training, and services to address sexual assault, family violence, and prevent HIV/AIDS infections in Women and Girls.

Later this month, the Micronesian Youth Services Network will convene their annual regional meeting to discuss best practices in the delivery of youth services. Conference organizers from Sanctuary, DYA, the Guam National Guard, and other agencies will focus on critical youth services in light of the bullying, violent crimes, teen suicide, and other social issues our communities are experiencing.

The University of Guam has a strong social work program that has produced some of our most effective public servants. Many are at the core of the Departments of Public Health & Social Services, DISID, Mental Health & Substance Abuse, Youth Affairs, Corrections, Education, the Hospital and the Judiciary. In our non-government sector, they provide services to our youth, veterans, the victims of violent crimes, the elderly and the disabled, single parents, the sick and even teenage parents.

Finally, as our University celebrates charter day I want to commend President Robert Underwood for incorporating Mes Chamorro into their festivities. Academic conferences, exhibits, displays, activities, and other unique events will be ongoing all month showcasing the excellence and opportunity at UOG. Under the leadership of Siñot Peter Onedera, students from 42 public and private schools in Guam, Saipan, Rota and Tinian competed in the 8th Annual Chamoru Language Competition entitled Na'oppan, Na'a'gang, Na'Fåmta.

As I convene the first meeting of the Guam Festival of Pacific Arts Planning Council this Thursday, I reflect on the important work required to ensure success and the progress we have made over the last 20 years.

In closing, I'd like to recite lyrics to a Chamorro composition written by Siñot Peter Onedera, with original music composed by Maria Yatar and choreographed by Master of Chamorro Dance Frank Rabon for the Guam presentation at the 7th Annual Festival of Pacific Arts held in Samoa, 1996. It is entitled "O'Asaina."  

O' asaina, O' aniti ni' numai'ham minesgnon yan minaoelek, In pega ham gi kannai-mu para hagu un na'tunas mo'na hinanao-mami.

Ancestors, spirits that gave us strength and goodness, we place ourselves in your hands to guide us forward on our journey.

O' asaina, O' aniti ni' manmofo'na kini hami guini gi hilo' tano', Nai'subetbiu ham ya un na'i ham sinat na para u gasgas mo'na hinanao-mami.

Ancestors, spirits who came before us on this land, let us be brave and give us the blessing to safely go forth on our journey.

O' asaina, O'aniti na taotaomo'na ina'i ham entre, inina-mu gi fiñañagu-mu nu hami ginen I mapagahes, yan hulo' gi langet.

Ancestors, spirits from the people who gave us life, shine on us your light from your birth, in completion of our life, from the sky and up to the heavens.

Saina ma'åse.

 

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