Project Bisita Activities

Community Services: Technical Assistance Department of Public Health & Social Services Project Bisita I Familia
Project Bisita I Familia staff spent a few hours with Suruhana Rosalia Fejeran Mateo, or Mama Chai at Sagan Kottura located in Tumon.Staff were introduced to various traditional Chamoru healing methods and the plants needed.
Vera Blaz, CEDDERS Training Associate (front left), and Jenika Ballesta, CEDDERS Research Associate (kneeling front left), co-facilitated the Project Bisita I Familia Parent Cafe on October 18, 2019 at the Hilton Resort Guam. The theme for the cafe was “Building Strong Relationships with Your Children.” Thirteen parents participated in the event.
Jenika Ballesta, CEDDERS Research Associate (front right), and Vera Blaz, CEDDERS Training Associate (back middle), co-facilitated the Project Bisita I Familia Parent Cafe on November 22, 2019 at the Hilton Resort Guam. The theme for the cafe was “You Are Not Alone.” Six parents participated in the event.

Guam EHDI Participates in the DPHSS Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Fair

Guam Early Hearing Detection & Intervention
November 24, 2019: Guam EHDI participated in the Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Fair held at the Agana Shopping Center. Information and resources were provided to attendees on the importance of early hearing screening, detection, and intervention. Pictured from left to right, Tanya Simer, Guam CEDDERS Research Associate; Clarissa Leon Guerrero, UOG Social Work Intern.

Guam EHDI Participates in the G.A.L.A. Power of Play Outreach

Guam Early Hearing Detection & Intervention
November 16, 2019: Clarissa Leon Guerrero, UOG Social Work Intern, is pictured helping two children who participated in the Pom Pom Drop activity for toddlers to develop their fine motor skills, coordination, and concentration at the Power of Play Outreach at Sinajana Community Center. Not pictured: Tanya Simer, Guam CEDDERS Research Associate.
November 23, 2019: Clarissa Leon Guerrero, UOG Social Work Intern assisted a mother and her toddler with the Pom Pom Drop activity at the Power of Play Outreach held at Toto Gardens GHURA. Not pictured: Tanya Simer, Guam CEDDERS Research Associate.

The CARE Project

Guam Early Hearing Detection & Intervention

Guam’s Positive Parents Together Inc. (GPPT) the non-profit parent driven organization responsible for facilitating the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) Parent Support Group for Guam’s families with children identified with a hearing loss has had an exciting and busy September!

GPPT hit the ground running in September with a Deaf Awareness Proclamation signing at the Governor’s Conference Room on Monday, September 9, 2019.  Present at the signing was Governor Lourdes Leon Guerrero, Senator Kelly Marsh (Taitano), Ann Marie Cruz, GPPT Board President, Mary-Therese, GPPT Board Vice President, Evelyn Claros, GPPT Board Treasurer, Trisha Suzuki, Parent Mentor, Margarita Gay, DPHSS Nursing Administrator, Kirsten Rosario, GCC ASL Instructor, Terrie Fejarang, retired Guam CEDDERS Associate Director, Marie Wusstig, Guam CEDDERS Training Associate along with numerous supporters present to witness the inaugural declaration of Deaf Awareness Month for the month of September.

As part of celebrating Deaf Awareness month , GPPT spearheaded activities to promote Deaf Awareness in the community with a WAVE at the Paseo Loop on Friday, September 13. Then on Sunday, September 15,  members of the community were invited to show their support by participating in first Deaf Awareness Outreach held at the Agana Shopping Center.  The group also organized a special Sunday Mass for members of the DHH Community and their families on September 22 at the Our Lady of Purification Church in Maina.  Family members and friends attended to celebrate September, Deaf Awareness Month.

GPPT also organized its first Deaf Awareness fundraising dinner.  The purpose for this event was to bring awareness to the community of the issues that DHH families and their children face.  Funds raised were identified to support DHH families with hearing aids and other necessities families may require such as adequate health and or educational resources for their DHH child.

GPPT continued to meet with Guam EHDI and The CARE Project of North Carolina, via Zoom to finalize plans for the first Guam CARE Project Family Retreat. In November, the collaborative efforts between Guam EHDI – Fitme Project , GPPT and The CARE Project from North Carolina, held its first Guam CARE Project Family Retreat on November 8 – 10, 2019.  Members from North Carolina’s CARE Project, under the direction of Johnnie Sexton, Executive Director of The CARE Project facilitated the three-day Family Retreat at the Lotte Hotel Guam.  Day one was an informal meeting with the families to meet with the volunteers, The CARE Project Team and Guam EHDI staff and allow for questions families may have regarding the retreat.  On day two, the team presenting included Pediatric Audiologist, John J. (JJ) Whicker, Director, Inspirational Speaker, Katie Whicker, Parent Mentors Bo and Jessica Peterson and their sons, Oscar and Magnus.  The families experienced a motivational seminar facilitated by Katie Whicker, a woman with Treacher Collins Syndrome and has grown up with a hearing loss.  Parents, engaged in a focus group facilitated by JJ Whicker, “The Emotional Journey” which allowed parents to share their stories related to their children’s birth and diagnosis of deafness and hearing loss. This focus group allowed for the parents to openly express their grief among a safe group of listeners who understood and had shared experiences. In the afternoon, two families volunteered to be recorded sharing their stories to provide The CARE Project footage to share as they conduct sensitivity training with hearing screeners and health care professionals.  The rest of the afternoon was spent with the main focus group split in two smaller groups (mothers and fathers) to further openly discuss their experiences and challenges in a more private and intimate setting with parent mentors Bo and Jessica Peterson.  Parents spent the final morning in two seminars led by JJ Whicker, “Understanding Your Child’s Hearing” and “Disability Law:  Knowing Your Rights and Advocating for Your Child”.  The group convened for one last photo before departing.

Parents, The CARE Project Team, Guam’s Positive Parents Together (GPPT) and Guam Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (Guam EHDI) staff at the Friday night Meet
and Greet. Seated are Jessica and Bo Peterson, The CARE Project Parent Mentors, Katie Whicker, inspirational speaker. Standing: JJ Whicker The CARE Project Facilitator.
JJ Whicker, Pediatric Audiologist and volunteer with The CARE Project Family Retreat Team provided families with an overview of “How to Understand Your Child’s Hearing Loss.
A volunteer from the Academy of Our Lady of Guam (AOLG) Interact Group play with children at the Family Retreat.
Volunteers from the Academy of Our Lady of Guam (AOLG) Interact Group assist with caring for the youngest son of the Model Parent Mentors who facilitated theEmotional Journey component of The Guam CARE Project Family Retreat.
Children of parents attending The Guam CARE Project Family Retreat are pictured with a volunteer from the Academy of Our Lady of Guam (AOLG) Interact Group.
Dangkulu na si yu’us ma’ ase to the families, who participated in the three day retreat, The CARE Project Team, volunteers from GCC’s ASL classes, AOLG Interact Group, and DOE‘s Middle and Elementary School Teachers along with GPPT and Guam EHDI/CEDDERS for making the event a success for the parents and children!

Program Completion Quickly Approaching for EPICS Scholars

Continuing Education EPICS Interdisciplinary Pre-Service Preparation

The light at the end of the tunnel is shining brightly for 18 scholars in the Educating Pacific Island Clinicians in Speech Pathology (EPICS) Project as they get closer to earning their graduate degree in Speech Language Pathology from San José State University (SJSU).

Now in the fifth and last year of the project, scholars have a very challenging workload that will only intensify as the final semester approaches. Scholars continue to take online classes and complete their practicum hours to meet course requirements for a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology. In addition, scholars will be preparing and taking their program’s comprehensive examination May 2, 2020.  They will also be preparing and taking the PRAXIS for Speech-Language Pathologists shortly after.

In June 2020, the second cohort of scholars will be spending about eight weeks in an externship in San José, California. Graduation will take place on Guam in August.

The EPICS Project is supported by a personnel preparation grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, awarded to SJSU, in partnership with Guam CEDDERS.

Nicole Duenas, CCC-SLP, (Center) supervises EPICS Scholars Megan Merfalen (Left) at Wettengel Elementary and Joseph Mendiola (R) at J. M. Guerrero Elementary School.
Meagan Terlaje, EPICS Scholar (Left), has her Practicum Placement at C.L. Taitano Elementary School, under the supervision of Terry Lujan, CCC-SLP (Right).
Liahlanni Cruz, EPICS Scholar (Left), works with Michelle Camacho, CCC-SLP (Right), at P.C. Lujan Elementary School.
Rowena Dimla, CCC-SLP (Left), provides supervision for Aileen Serrano, EPICS scholar (Right), at Upi Elementary School.
Camille Onglao Gonzales, EPICS Scholar (Left), works with Elizabeth Blas, CCC-SLP (Right), in her Practicum site at the Guam Early Intervention System (GEIS).
Cassandra Dimla, EPICS Scholar (L), earns her practicum hours under the supervision of Erica Sgro, CCC-SLP (R), at Maria Ulloa and Finegayan Elementary Schools.
Bobbie Obillo, EPICS Scholar (Left), is supervised by Melanie Torre, CCC-SLP (Right), at D.L. Perez Elementary School.
Erica Sgro, SLP-CCC (L), supervises Lisa Eclavea, EPICS Scholar (R), at Machananao Elementary School.
Lillian Reyes, EPICS Scholar (Right), is supervised by Bernice Cepeda, CCC-SLP (Left), at Agueda Johnston Middle School.
Melanie Torres, CCC-SLP (Left), supervises Dianne Sapido, EPICS Scholar (Right), at D.L. Perez Elementary and Adacao Elementary School.

Guam Early Learning Council Convenes First Meeting

Continuing Education Department of Public Health & Social Services Early Childhood Guam Early Intervention System Guam Launch Information Dissemination Project Kariñu

On September 4, the Guam Early Learning Council convened its first meeting under the new administration with Co-Chairperson Elaine Eclavea at the helm. New council members were provided with orientation in the development of the council and the timeline of early childhood initiatives on Guam. Early Childhood Program Administrators provided an overview of their respective programs as well as updates on services provided to families over the last eight months. Workgroup facilitators also reported on the status of the goals and activities for their focus areas as related to the Guam Early Childhood State Plan, which was last published in 2015. The next quarterly meeting will take place in December. Workgroup members spent the afternoon participating in the Karinu/Guam LAUNCH Early Childhood Evaluation Forum.

Members reviewed the progress of activities over the past year as well as data from the Wilder Survey used for Guam LAUNCH Evaluation reports and learned about the latest research in the Early Childhood field. Commitments on next steps and meeting dates were made to ensure that activities will continue.

On September 4, Guam Early Learning Council Workgroup Members posed for a photo at the end of the Karinu/Guam LAUNCH Early Childhood Evaluation Forum held at the Outrigger Guam Resort.
Elaine Eclavea (standing), Guam CEDDERS Early Childhood Consultant and Guam Early Learning Council Co-Chairperson, reviewed a new grant opportunity with council members.
Bonnie Brandt (standing), Guam CEDDERS Training Associate and Karinu/Guam LAUNCH Lead Evaluator, reviewed data from results of the Wilder Survey as workgroup participants looked on.
Members of the Guam Early Learning Council Family Engagement Workgroup
(FEW) showed their great collaborative skills as they erected a structure made from uncooked spaghetti noodles, rope, tape, and a marshmallow during the afternoon session. The FEW members built the tallest structure in the room at 20.25 inches.

CNMI Early Intervention Engages in Professional Development

Community Services: Technical Assistance Early Childhood
On August 28 & 29, Elaine Eclavea (standing), Guam CEDDERS Early Childhood Consultant along with Keith Villaluna (not pictured), Guam CEDDERS Data Specialist facilitated professional development trainings for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Public School System IDEA Part C, Early Intervention Program staff in Saipan. The trainings focused on the CNMI Early Intervention Coaching Procedures called the LATTE, the Tiers of Intervention (TOI), and the Child Outcome Summary (COS) and Early Childhood Outcomes (ECO) data.

Guam State Rehabilitation (SRC) Outreach Committee Meet

Developmental Disabilities Guam Systems for Assistive Technology
On August 27, The Guam State Rehabilitation (SRC) Outreach Committee held their work session to discuss about the Customer Satisfaction Surveys that will be going out to the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Clients. In attendance were: (Standing L-R) Lourdes Ann Mesa, SRC Chairperson; Leah Abelon, Outreach Committee Chairperson; Tim Murphy, Member; Seated (L-R) Brittney Cruz, Member; and Rodney Calimlim.

Guam System for Assistive Technology (GSAT) Client Demonstration

Community Services: Demonstration Services Guam Systems for Assistive Technology
On August 27, Shawni Acfalle (standing), Guam System for Assistive Technology (GSAT) Center Assistant demonstrates the first Braille and tactile smartwatch called the Dot Watch to Rodney Calimlim (seated), an individual who is blind. The smartwatch synchronizes to your smartphone and displays caller, text messages, appointments, or notifications from various apps on your smartphone. The Dot Watch is now available for demonstration and individuals can contact the GSAT Office at 735-2490 for an appointment.

GSAT and Guam EHDI attend Breastfeeding Awareness Month Fair

Community Services: Demonstration Services Guam Early Hearing Detection & Intervention Guam Systems for Assistive Technology Information Dissemination
On August 24, 2019, Guam System for Assistive Technology (GSAT) participated in the 6th Annual Breast Feeding Awareness Fair at the Micronesia Mall Center Court. GSAT shared information on various assistive technology available to assist children with communication and limited fine and gross motor skills. (Pictured L-R) Shawni Acfalle, GSAT AT Center Assistant; and Leah Abelon, GSAT Program Coordinator.
On August 24, 2019, Guam Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) and Guam Positive Parents Together (GPPT), participated in the 6th Annual Breastfeeding Awareness Fair at the Micronesia Mall Center Court. Guam EHDI and GPPT shared information about the importance of initial hearing screening for newborns and the parent support group available to assist families of children identified with a hearing loss. (Pictured L-R) Bernadine Reyes, Guam CEDDERS Office Assistant; fair participant, and Bobbie Afjelle, GPPT Support Staff.