Marites Aquino Castillo, president/chairwomen of the volunteer group known as Friends of the Mariana Islands (FMI), and Angelo O'Connor Villagomez were recently presented the Earth Team Volunteer Award and Certificates for their environmental efforts.
Castillo received two awards, one for herself and the other one for the FMI Group's activities.
Villagomez's's genius is as a grass roots organizer, while Castillo's Group, the FMI, provided the muscle and backbone for the Earth Team Volunteer activities with over 6,000 volunteer hours so far in 2008.
Castillo and the FMI Group performed miracles by volunteering to clean up the roads and beaches of Saipan. Their goal is to maintain the environment for the benefit of everyone in the CNMI. Their motto is: “Do it whole heartedly and expect nothing in return except from your self.”
According to Castillo, the FMI group began consistently cleaning up of roads and beaches in June 2006. Since then they have cleaned up Lau Lau Beach every third Sunday of the month, which now amounts to 23 consecutive months of activity.
During these same months on every second Sunday they were also cleaning up ISA Drive Rd. from the Saipan Botanical Gardens to the stoplight Intersection that leads to Northern Marianas Colleges.
The FMI has also worked other weekends beautifying other parts of Saipan.
When asked, “How can your group possibly do this much work?” Castillo replied: “The Friends of the Mariana Islands Earth Team Volunteers get a great feeling of pride for the work they do for the environment of Saipan.”
She cited the help of other individuals and groups who have contributed to FMI's cause. “Thanks to former Rep. Jacinta M. Kaipat, Angelo, and Mr. Ken [Kramer] for their motivation and assistance in helping us keep Saipan beautiful.”
“I hope that people will know, appreciate, and remember that it was and will be the hard work of Friends of the Mariana Islands Earth Team Volunteers that helps make Saipan a cleaner and more beautiful place to live! Let's all work together and keep this island even more beautiful!”