Throughout each year the Guam Chamber of Commerce is highly involved in a number of community activities. Highlights among its many projects for 2004 include the following:
Community Relations and Special Events
• Guam Juvenile Drug Court Program: Youths from ages 13 to 18 who are caught with marijuana or any illegal substance are charged and brought to juvenile court. Eloise R. Baza president of the chamber said “Our partnership with the Superior Court of Guam is the first of any state and local chambers of commerce in the United States. I will be sharing our Life Skills Program at the American Chamber of Commerce Executives conference in August.” Judge Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson of the Superior Court of Guam spoke to the Journal about the importance of the chamber’s involvement in Guam’s juvenile drug court programs. “The one thing I appreciate the most about the chamber’s efforts ” she said “is the partnership it has with these kids in drug court. It is a highly intensive monitoring and treatment program. I get all the kids who come before the court system on drug charges and give them a choice.
If they choose to go through the program — and complete it — their case is dismissed.” There are four phases of the program:
Introductory phase — heavy testing educate children about drugs/effects of drugs; second phase — counseling treatment & testing; third phase — counseling treatment and less intense testing; final phase — a curriculum- based program which teaches life skills such as CPR how to open a bank account how to maintain a car how to apply for a job and dress for a job how to read a rental agreement and other skills to help prepare youth for the work force.
Incentives and rewards such as movie tickets are given to the children as they progress through each phase of the program. “One of the highlights [of the program] ” Barrett-Anderson said “is career day. The Guam Hilton sponsors a four-hour presentation in which speakers from different companies teach about positive attitude when you go into the job market goal orientation drug-free workplace requirements … generally what an employer is looking for in a good employee. After the presentation Hilton allows kids to tour the hotel. We try to give them incredible opportunities because they volunteered for a tough program. We want it to be enriching and educational for them because we want them to leave saying ‘Not only am I drug free but I learned something.’ Barrett-Anderson said more than 40 students had graduated from the program in three graduations. “The Guam chamber presents each of the graduates with a silver dollar and in recognition of their support we have coined the graduation the Silver Dollar Graduation in honor of the Chamber’s continued support for drug court.”
• 9th Annual Summer Youth Swimming and Water Safety Program : Since 1996 over 1 500 children participated in this drug-prevention program which offers positive alternatives to children ages 5 to 15 years. Over a six-week period participants learn how to swim or swim better; learn about water safety; participate in drug-abuse presentations led by trained youth leaders from the Youth for Youth Organization; participate in workshops which focus on building self-esteem and self confidence increasing awareness and knowledge about drugs stress management suicide prevention and problem-solving/decision making.
The chamber’s goal is to achieve desirable levels of success in efforts to eradicate Guam’s illegal drug problem through obtaining the support and commitment of its friends and customers to join it in harnessing the energies of youth by providing positive activities they can get involved in and at the same time provide drug education.
• 2004 Christmas Festival: This year’s annual Christmas Festival at Skinner Plaza will mark 27 years of the Chamber’s Christmas holiday celebration for the community of Guam.
Membership Growth and Development
• Small Business Outreach Event
The chamber partners with the Small Business Development Center in co-sponsoring counseling and training programs of the SBDC. The chamber is holding a small business growth seminar series this year. The first seminar was March 12 and focused on customer care.
• Communications Program
• Member Benefits Program
Military Affairs: To promote the department of defense’s investment on Guam military tourism the development of quality jobs and business and commerce of the military.
• Holiday hosting
Governmental Affairs and Partnership
• Repeal/rollback of GRT increase
• To seek the privatization of utilities
• To continue to support the efforts of the Committee to Get Guam Working
• To defeat deposit fee legislation: To defeat the deposit fee on aluminum canned beverages.
• Oppose efforts to raise the drinking age
• Oppose awarding of federal contracts on Guam to Alaska Native corporations without competition
• Local sourcing of military purchases: To continue to encourage the local military commands to buy goods and services from Guam businesses.
Economic Focus and Industry Growth
• Education/Work Force Develop-ment: The chamber works closely with various organizations to assist in sourcing and training the local labor force to meet the employment needs of Guam. The chamber also works very closely with Guam Community College’s General Education Diploma program to assist the more than 20 000 adults in our work force who do not have high school diplomas.
• Na’La’ Bonita Guam Island Beautification and Anti-Litter Campaign Program: The mission of this campaign is to beautify Guam with a community anti-litter and beautification program that creates education pride excitement public awareness and community involvement between the chamber the Government of Guam and our local community. The Na’Bunitu Guam award is awarded to individuals businesses or organizations that contribute to improving the quality and beauty of our island by sprucing up and maintaining public areas business establishments and/or private properties. The 2004 Awards was presented at the Chamber’s March 31 general membership luncheon. The awardees were:
Marine Mania George Washington High School — Founded in 1992 this marine biology club actively participates in numerous community projects such as the annual Intercoastal Cleanup and Beauty and the Beach.
Henry M. Simpson — In consultation with the owners Simpson arranged and paid for all costs associated with the demolition of two condemned buildings located along Marine Drive. They were the Pagoda Jewelry building and the old Hong Kong Massage building. Simpson does not own these buildings. He is the owner of the National Panasonic Building — under renovation — located next two the two buildings torn down.
• Hagåtña Project: The chamber supports community efforts to revitalize Hagåtña. Among the priorities of the chamber this year the intent is to support the efforts of various community organizations working towards the revitalization of Hagåtña. MBJ