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Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands
Janice Sablan is a warm and generous woman who prefers to do her great works away from the spotlight, and that is what makes her endearing to the hearts of many. Married for many years to the current Mayor of Saipan, Jose Sablan, she is a powerful influence in many circles, especially when it comes to furthering the interests of child victims of abuse.
Ms. Sablan's unfailing efforts have benefited hundreds of children in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). In 1998, the Division of Youth Services (DYS), the only youth services government agency on the island, organized a massive campaign to promote awareness of child abuse and neglect and to aide in its prevention, A committee comprised of mostly community people, called For the Children Campaign Committee, was organized to assist in this endeavor. Ms. Sablan became one of its most active members, and her involvement has helped to overcome some of the barriers that previously had hindered the committee's progress, especially during its start-up phase.
One of the major activities organized by the committee was a Celebrity Bagging event, which had well known public figures in the community bagging groceries at major supermarkets on the island. Ms. Sablan was a major force behind these events, encouraging community leaders to take more active roles in the fight against child abuse.
Ms. Sablan took the lead coordinating another "For the Children" campaign activity to raise awareness of child abuse and neglect. School children from eight schools exhibited their talents and creativity by decorating paper bags with written messages and artwork. These were then used by participating supermarkets to bag groceries for their customers, disseminating the message to families throughout the island. Businesses on the island donated thousands of brown bags in support of this event.
Other awareness and prevention activities undertaken by Ms. Sablan include a "Children's Circus Parade," in which school-aged children wearing homemade costumes participated in the Liberation Day parade to help spread awareness on child abuse and neglect. Ms. Sablan was also instrumental in helping to coordinate efforts for the "l998 Year for the Children" photo contest, which portrayed the importance of children and showed ways that the community could help in preventing child abuse and neglect.
With her outspoken concern for and efforts on behalf of children who are victims of abuse and neglect, Ms. Sablan continues to be a source of great help and inspiration for the island community.