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Organizations step-up to help Guam community

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Two local organizations focused on helping youth and families facing adversity received over $200,000 in grant funding from the Department of the Interior.

There are hundreds of children and families in Guam that face adversity, and that's where organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters of Guam and the Micronesia Resource Center step in to help. MRC case worker Edimund Wengu said, "Mid-year, just by our outreach programs, we've touched base with over 800 people in our community."

The Micronesia Resource Center was founded in 2015 under big brothers big sisters of Guam, and aims to provide informational services and resources to migrant families from the FSM. "We have on staff multilingual case workers who help," he said.

The organization was awarded $217,000 in grant funding from the Department of Interior, while another $63,000 was awarded to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Guam to provide mentoring services to other non-profits that work to benefit disenfranchised youth. Executive director Victor Camacho says the organization matches volunteers with youth in an effort to provide support and mentorship.

"The volunteers, we have over 50 one-to-one matches that are active right now, with the school year coming up we look to almost double that number," said Wengu. "What we want, is we want kids to perform well in school, live positive lives."

The unfortunate fact is that children that face adversity are more likely to drop out of high school. The 2010 Guam census indicates that ethnicity may also play a role, possibly due to language barriers.

While the Department of Education has tracked a pattern of decreasing dropout rates in recent years, those studies don't account for student gender, ethnicity, and other factors. Camacho says both Big Brothers Big Sisters of Guam and the MRC hope to use the additional grant money to ramp up efforts for the island's at-risk youth and families.

"The end goal essentially this was a special project of Big Brothers Big Sisters, creating this resource center, and eventually what we want to do is have this as its own stand-alone 501c3 organization," he said.

To find out more about these organizations you can visit them on Facebook.

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