THIS past week, if you passed through Beach Road and Garapan Middle Road, you would’ve noticed a significant difference in how clean and refreshed they appeared. Thanks to the fresh coats of yellow paint, the medians and rails are brighter and provide greater visibility for drivers, especially at night.

The improvements were made possible by the latest campaign from the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers or GCEA, called the Adopt-A-Median program, and very willing groups of volunteers. I thank Shirley’s Coffee Shop and the Shirley’s Football Club for joining forces with Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang’s staff to clean and repaint the medians at Garapan Middle Road from the JG Sablan Ice & Water to the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation and the American Memorial Park tennis court intersection.

The group then moved to Beach Road and the Quartermaster intersection to clean and paint the median, barrier, and curbs. In one morning, our teams were able to refresh two heavily used intersections on Saipan and significantly improve the visibility, cleanliness, and safety in the area.

The council knew that the Adopt-A-Median program was something we needed to implement immediately and was an integral part of the Marianas Village Pride campaign. The program welcomes groups to play direct roles in improving safety on our roads. The group accomplished both median projects in a day, and the benefits to the community will be tremendous. With the completion of these two projects, children, bikers, and motorists will be safer because of it.

We’ve only begun, and we invite other groups to sign up through GCEA’s website to adopt medians in their villages throughout Rota, Tinian, and Saipan. We want to continue with the momentum and complete as many projects as possible. We’ve also received interest from schools to adopt the sidewalks, crosswalks, and medians in their vicinity. We want all schools to participate in the campaign, so please join us!

Village Flag Art Contest

I’ve been asking teachers how the conversations about village pride are resonating with their students. They are using downloadable materials from GCEA’s website, such as the MVP Village Flag contest for middle and high school students and the lessons and coloring pages for the elementary school students. I thank our educators for leading the conversations about village pride in their classrooms. Talking to our children about why it’s important to have pride in where they live will stay with them forever and make them better people. Be sure to have conversations with your children at home about what life was like when you were growing up in your village. Help them understand why we need to keep our villages clean and tidy. These conversations have the power to spark positive change for our future.

The Grotto has been transformed

We also celebrated another environmental win this week — the reopening of the beloved Grotto. After more than a year of being closed, countless hours of volunteer work, and the dedication of five Public Private Partners who adopted the site under GCEA’s PPP Program, we now have a cleaner, more beautiful, and enjoyable eco attraction that we can be proud of. Si Yu’us Ma’åse and Ghilisow to DIVEWISH, Saipan Adventure, Tasi & the Ali’is, Loco & Taco, and Bibong Corp. for dedication to improving the Grotto by fixing the railings, steps, restrooms, and decks.

Thanks to DIVEWISH and volunteer divers, the underwater areas are also much cleaner as a result. DIVEWISH led underwater cleanups as part of the transformation. They removed debris that was unsightly and harmful to the sea life. Thank you all for the incredible work!

There is a positive movement that is sweeping our islands. This past week, we have many people to recognize as MVPs of Saipan. I am encouraged by how residents are volunteering their time to improve their community, and that is my definition of what it means to be an MVP. Together, we can show our pride and make our neighborhoods, villages, and islands better places to live.

For more information about the Marianas Village Pride Campaign, visit the GCEA website at cnmieconomy.com, engage on Facebook and Instagram (@cnmigov.economy), or contact them at gceacnmi@gmail.com

Edna Grace Nisola serves on the Governor's Council of Economic Advisers public relations team and manages GCEA’s Public Private Partnership program, which has grown to include more than 60 private partners and 60 sites throughout the Marianas. Edna is the public relations officer for Tan Holdings Corporation. The GCEA’s mission is to improve the quality of life in the Marianas for all residents.

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