The island of Saipan—135 miles north of Guam—is breathtakingly beautiful, with many natural resources. Their greatest resource? The islanders themselves, who want the best for every child. I was honored to visit with Head Start and K–12 support faculty and staff there in February to talk about Framework and Bridges Out of Poverty.
During our workshops we talked about strategies for building resources—internal and external resources that fall into 11 categories: financial, emotional, mental, spiritual, physical, social capital/support systems, relationships/role models, knowledge of hidden rules, language/formal register, integrity and trust, and motivation and persistence. The more resources an individual or community has, the more successful that person or community can be.
Saipan demonstrates beautifully the interlocking nature of these resources. Following the devastating typhoon in 2015, for example, even though many houses were reduced to rubble, there were no homeless people on the streets. They were all staying with aunties, uncles, cousins, or neighbors. All were cared for. We are honored that educators and community members are now inviting aha! Process to play a role in examining more closely how to ensure that all children and community members are afforded opportunities for further resource development.
As we talked about building support systems for children during our Framework and Bridges workshops, I learned that in Saipan, students are encouraged to follow their dreams, wherever that may lead them. I also learned that most often, dreams that require study abroad eventually lead these same young adults right back home to Saipan. I understand why. What a supportive group of individuals and community. It was an honor to work alongside these professionals to better understand wealth, poverty, and strategies to improve stability for all.
Bethanie Tucker, Ed.D. of North Carolina has served in a number of critical teaching and program leadership roles at the elementary school level. She is currently a professor of education at Averett University in Danville, Virginia. Learn more about Bethanie.