Tuesday, April 8, 2008

On the importance of taking time to reflect

MLSC Marianas Office had its annual "burn out" day at Managaha on Friday 4/4/2008. This is a time when we, as an office, have a picnic for an entire work day. It isn't all fun and games; we actually work.
We start with our general weekly staff meeting.
We review every new application for assistance (intake) and gauge whether the applicant is qualified for our services (meets income and asset eligibility criteria) and determine whether the case fits within our priorities. Our first priority is to the clients on cases we have already accepted. Sometimes this means that we cannot take a new case on, no matter how eligible and meritorious the case. And for those cases we do accept, we assign to one of the case handlers in the office.
Then we get to the real reason for our retreat. We take turns expressing our opinons about what we've done right during the past year, what problems we've encountered, what we want to do or do better on during the coming year, and how we're going to tackle these goals.
And then we barbecue, eat, swim, walk around the island, chat, relax.
There's something very rejuvenating about these retreats. The hectic day-in, day-out pace of work gets put into perspective. We can enjoy each other's company without the pressure of jobs that need urgent attention. We can see what our work means and how we can help our community by doing it.

A few photos:

The blue lagoon (from the boat).

Managaha-still beautiful.

Our newest staff: secretary Juanette Sablan

Frank Rogopes (1984 to present)

Omar Calimbas (2006-present)

Lolita Nazaire (2006-present)

Ed Peterson with wife Nenita (2007-present)

The whole gang-almost. (I've cropped myself out of the photo for aesthetic reasons! Maria P. Muna is off-island so missed the Managaha trip.)

In the shade of the pala-pala.

On the tour boat back to Saipan.

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