Friday, March 21, 2014

Question and Answer Interview with Guma’ Mami, Inc. Project Coordinator Jirrah Paz Cabrales Bautista


1.What is your mission (goals & objectives) at Guma’ Mami, Inc.?
My goals and objectives, along with providing services that will facilitate the reintegration of individuals with developmental disabilities and serious mental illness, are to raise the community’s awareness of the issues that women with disabilities and elderly women face – especially cases involving sexual and domestic violence. 

As the Program Coordinator for Guma’ Mami, Inc.’s STOP Violence Against Women grant, it is my goal to ensure that we provide events and activities to the community which are aligned with the grant’s objectives.  We provide direct services to women with disabilities who are survivors of sexual violence through our monthly women’s support group, and we go out into the community to provide Safety Plan training in order to empower and educate the public.  I also coordinate various other community-based workshops for the consumers that are served by Guma’ Mami. These workshops range from recreational-therapeutic sessions, wellness-promotion workshops, creative-art workshops, vocational preparation workshops, etc. 

Overall, my objective is to plan and coordinate various activities for our consumers to gain skills and knowledge that will assist them in reintegrating back into the community to lead quality lives.

2. What specific services does Guma’ Mami, Inc. provide?
Guma’ Mami, Inc. provides a residential program and a community based program.  We currently have two community homes in Mangilao, Mary Claire Home and Independent Group Home, where up to 5 individuals are placed. Each has a home and are provided with a transitional residential program. GMI also has community-based programs including a monthly women’s support group for women with disabilities who are survivors of sexual assault and/or domestic violence, various community-training workshops, and various community outreach activities that provide the general public with information about the services available.

3. Who is your target audience?
Individuals with developmental disabilities and/or serious mental illness.

4. What are your hours of operation and what is the best way for people to reach you that are interested in assistance?
Our Community Homes in Mangilao are 24/7- we have staff on shift every day and every hour.  Our main office is located in Sinajana and our hours are 8:00am-5:00pm, Monday – Friday.  Our number is 477-1505, and people can contact me via email at

5. In addition to direct services, what resources does Guma’ Mami, Inc. offer?
GMI can provide various training workshops to organizations, employees, management staff, and agencies throughout Guam.  Our goal is to educate both our clients and the community that surrounds our clients.  We provide training workshops that educate employers about how to interact with persons with disabilities through various topics such as “People First Language” where the focus of the training is treating individuals with disabilities as people rather than a disability.  GMI’s goal through these workshops is to encourage the community to become more inclusive- in the workplace, school and public areas- so that our consumers can be more successful at reintegrating back into the community as independently as possible.

6. Thinking about current events, how do you foresee recent events in your field of work affecting your organization and its work?
The Federal sequestration has definitely placed a financial burden on our programs.  For example, we have had to cut our budget and be as creative as possible to ensure that we are still providing quality care to our consumers and to the community that we serve. We are constantly thinking of creative ways to provide quality service on a budget.

7. Can you discuss your community partnerships and how they contribute to the overall success of Guma’ Mami, Inc. individually.
The partnerships that Guma’ Mami, Inc. has formed and maintained over the years have contributed greatly toward the mission and success of Guma’ Mami‘s efforts in the community.  Without these contributions to our various art exhibits, workshops, and programs the consumers whom we support would not receive the quality service that we provide.  We have had hotels and furniture stores donate new and used furniture to our clients; other organizations have contributed staff talent to lead training sessions/workshops; and various companies have donated money and/or food to our annual events where consumers directly receive food.  The partnerships we have formed with various government agencies have allowed us to serve as advocates for our consumers.  We are able to voice their opinions, their struggles and their hopes for positive change in the community.  These partnerships allow us to provide various organizations, agencies and businesses with input that can have a positive impact in the community our consumers are trying to reintegrate into.

8. Can you touch on the history of Guma’ Mami, Inc. and how the organization is set up?
Guma’ Mami, Inc. (GMI), is a 501©3 private non-profit organization serving the Guam disability community for over 32 years.  Guma’ Mami’s mission is to facilitate the full inclusion and integration of adults with cognitive disabilities and other developmental disabilities and adults with serious mental illness into their communities through individual and family supports.  In line with this mission, Guma’ Mami’s programs provide residential services to individuals who are referred through Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center.  Individuals, organizations, companies, and agencies in the community can sign up for our various workshops and trainings sessions by contacting our office @ 477-1505.

9.  Any upcoming plans or projects that our island community should be aware of?
In April, Guma’ Mami will host our annual Clothesline Project that also promotes awareness of the violence that women endure.  This is an opportunity for the public to participate by creating their own t-shirt that expresses their thoughts about violence against women.  

10.Why do you think the work you do is important to our island community and the world at large?
I think that the work that Guma’ Mami, Inc. does in the community is important to our island community because it gives a voice of advocacy for many of the island’s most vulnerable, overlooked, and underserved populations.  The work that we do to increase awareness of the issues that our island’s people face, including violence, sexual assault, stalking, harassment and abuse is important because we find that there are many people who do not know what to do or where to turn to if they or someone the love is faced with such a crime.  It’s important that the people of our island community are educated about the available resources, the identification of these wrongful actions, and their ability to do something to make a difference.  We want to encourage our community to view people with disabilities as human beings before seeing their disabilities or social status.  By providing the “People First” workshops, we teach leaders, employers, and teachers how create an inclusive environment.

11. Lastly, could you please provide any current relevant statistics that you have.
We recently received statistics from GPD regarding sexual crimes on the island.  According to these reports, in 2013 there was a total of 250 arrests made for family violence, 84 arrests made for sexual assault, and 17 arrests made for stalking.  These numbers appear to be lower than previous years, however the fight against these crimes continues. 

In 2012 a report published in the Social Science Research Network by the Violence Against Women with Disabilities Working Group titled “Forgotten Sisters- A Report on Violence Against Women with Disabilities: An Overview of its Nature, Scope, Causes and Consequences” was released.  This report takes a look at this issue on an international scale, and due to its recent release, has been referenced in several websites advocating for human and women’s rights. This report states that “women with disabilities are twice as likely to experience domestic violence and other forms of gender-based and non-sexual violence as non-disabled women, and are likely to experience abuse over a longer period of time and to suffer more injuries as a result of violence” (Ortoleva, Stephanie and Lewis, Hope, Forgotten Sisters - A Report on Violence Against Women with Disabilities: An Overview of its Nature, Scope, Causes and Consequences (August 21, 2012). Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 104-2012. Available at SSRN:

These are just a few figures to consider when thinking about whether or not there is a need for programs like ours.    

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