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The Northern Marianas College Cooperative Research, Extension, and Education Services’ (CREES) My Preparedness Initiative (MyPI), in partnership with Homeland Security Emergency Management (HSEM), Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services (DFEMS), CNMI Public School System (PSS), and the Division of Youth Services (DYS), has produced many CNMI teenagers who are able to help their fellow community members in the event of any disaster or emergency. 

Shaniyah Cabrera, one of the Rota residents who is in the MyPI program said that she is glad to have been a participant. 

“This program has taught me skills to help not only myself but others around me,” Cabrera said. “I am excited to help wherever is needed in the near future. Because of the MyPI program I am able to help out in my community.”

Another Rota participant, Hanna Ogo, said that the MyPI program was very beneficial for her.

“By gaining all these new skills and information, I can one day help my fellow peers and community by being there to assist them in almost any emergency,” Ogo said. “I would definitely recommend participating in the MyPI program, as it would benefit many of our youth to prepare themselves for future emergencies.”

Tinian participants Yesha Reyes and Ryan Nuera also shared the same sentiments.

“After doing the classes for MyPI, I am more prepared for natural disasters,” Reyes said. “Doing the training in person also helped me to understand how to assist those in need. With the newfound knowledge I have I can help my peers to prepare their families for natural disasters that may occur. I can help my community by offering my assistance after typhoons and other disasters. I'm so glad that I took the opportunity of being a part of the My Preparedness Initiative.”

For Nuera, he said he has learned many new skills. 

“I have learned how I can respond to any disasters and was given the opportunity to battle any disaster that poses a threat to my community.” Nuera said. “The MyPI Program is something that I believe every teen in the Marianas should take because it prepares them to help protect their community in times of need.”

Remedio “Bedu” Dela Cruz, a Saipan resident in the program, said that she has gained new skills as a result of being in MyPI.

“One aspect that really stuck out to me was the “Disaster Psychology” unit we learned in the program,” Dela Cruz said. “I would try to incorporate and tell others about what I learned on this unit and how we have to be careful with our words on specific phrases. Making sure that we are careful with the words that we use when dealing with traumatized individuals is a very important part of disaster recovery.”

Leandro Dela Cruz, another Saipan resident, said that he is more aware of the potential disasters a community can face. 

“The simple yet effective curriculum that MyPI teaches is incredibly easy to understand, Dela Cruz said. “The information that I, and my peers, learned from the short program is something that I would use to aid my community in times of need, especially since the NMI is in a typhoon-prone area.”

MyPI Northern Mariana Islands is a component of the National Youth Preparedness Initiative (MyPI National), a partnership of 27 states and 2 US territories, delivering an innovative and engaging curriculum for teenagers.

For more information about the MyPI program, contact Tayna Belyeu-Camacho, NMC CREES Program Leader and MyPI NMI Program Manager at tayna.belyeu-camacho@marianas.edu or 670.237.6841. Interested individuals can also visit https://mypinorthernmarianaislands.org/ or follow them on Facebook (@MyPICNMI).