Voices of Prevention -- The SPF Prevention FaaSamoa Project

Uploaded by SAMHSA on 19.03.2012

My name is Marylynn Tanuvasa, and I hail from the beautiful village
of Vailoa, and I am 14 years of age.
We've learned a lot of good things from this program and it has helped me
with the way - how I manage peer pressure and drugs. They present ways
to stay away from peer pressure and drugs.
The most important thing I've learned is: think smart before you start.
Pago Pago is a very small island in the middle of nowhere.
But it's a very beautiful place, it's majestic; the mountains, the greenery here,
you cannot really compare it to a lot of other Pacific island nations.
The people are very humble people. They're friendly;
you will find that it would be very easy for you to go throughout the island
and meet people and talk with them. They're very religious people;
you will find we have lots of churches throughout the islands.
I think post-tsunami -- our department in particular--
we had a very significant role to play. We have a lot of behavioral
health issues and substance abuse issues that we're trying to address.
Working with SAMHSA, we're able to really build up a message of prevention
and also work towards treatment.
One of the unique things about the SPF SIG project is it actually takes
the responsibilities of getting the project out into the communities,
in the hands of the community members.
We have 11 counties in American Samoa and we've been able to mobilize
and set up 12 community coalitions. Staff for the project receives
initial training, but then they will turn around and train community members.
In our culture, adults are always the ones making decisions,
and children really don't have a lot of say.
[Speaking in Samoan]
And that's one thing that project has brought to each of these communities--
to have the children be able to share because when they have problems,
they're taught to bottle that in and not really express that and
ask someone else for assistance.
[Speaking in Samoan]
I believe that this department is making huge strides towards our prevention work,
and we have had so much community support. They're ready to listen
to the message because they see the effects on our families and our children.
What's been wonderful to see is that we actually have the community members
buy into the project.
From the young folks to the older, from leaders to church pastors.
The more programs we put out, we believe that's better for us to take them
away from involving in some outside activities that lead them into troubles.
Because we realize the need to really get the message to the young folks
to really understand that prevention is really key to a healthy and successful
life going forward for them.