The classroom suddenly gets filled with laughter. Everyone is attentive and everyone is excited to win a prize. It was supposed to be a normal day for selected Grade 2 students of Inuman Elementary School. Little did they know that today, its gonna be a bit different.
Few weeks ago, I kept thinking about how can I make by 30th birthday celebration more memorable. I know for sure it’s not gonna be another pizza day in the office or Sunday night bonding with church friends. So I thought about spending it with kids and give a little help at the same time. I was told by Aira, a church friend and a Grade 2 class advisor, about her students’ struggles: getting to school on empty stomach, falling asleep in class because of not having enough rest after selling stuff for baon or skipping school to give way to younger sibling because baon is not sufficient for two. These are perhaps the “common” struggles of a deprived Filipino kid. And these kids are just around us.
So instead of buying myself the usual birthday handa, I pooled by budget, called out a few willing friends and decided to treat Aira’s pupils for a day of spaghetti, fried chicken and lots of treats!
I’m blessed to have friends who have the spirit of charity (naks). I’m glad that though we’re often just a bunch of noisy, scandalous and bullies-to-ourselves, I’m happy that when it comes to rendering time to those in need, I can say I can name people whom I can rely on. It wasn’t easy to get people involved in a volunteer work. Particularly if the volunteer activity will happen on a weekday where most people are at work.
In a 3rd world country like the Philippines, charity work can be done everywhere. I am effin sure of that. You don’t have to wait for your company’s CSR or rely on your donations to your church or be a member of a charity foundation, just to volunteer or to help people in need. You can always do it your own way. And opportunities to help is always around the corner. Doing a summer volunteer program I started last year, #ProjectBatangAurora (on its 3rd year this 2017) has helped me realize, that we, especially millennials, can always help. We may not always render help that is sustainable (like a livelihood program or a startup for social good), but I believe spending time and resources to someone to make his or her life better than yesterday even a little, is what always count.
Teacher Aira chose 50 students from different classes based on the student’s background to join our quick program. Upon getting into the empty classroom to get the room ready while waiting for kids to arrive, the smell of our elementary days brought our childhood memories back. Tho we only had shared desks before (not the arm chairs kids have now), stepping into a grade school classroom is like suddenly looking back to our elementary days when we only worry about assignments, projects, and recitations.
50 energetic Grade 2 students quickly filled the room with curiosity and anticipation. For the next one hour, we will spend the afternoon with games, prizes, and some meals. We had games like Bring Me, Pera O Bayong and The Boat is Sinking where the kids won extra school supplies. For meal time, we brought fried chicken, red spaghetti, cheese sandwich, and juice. Some pupils who showed off their talents like singing and dancing also took home additional goodies like toys.
Before the program ends, we handed out few school supplies which they can also use for next school year. Each kid got:
We then took our official groupies & selfies and send kids home with a handful of things they rightfully deserve. I’m so happy na ganito inabot ng more or less P6,000 budget. Hehe.
Medyo celebrity na this part. I would like to sincerely thank all people who have help me organized this. As in serious. A feeding program like this can’t be done by one person. It has to be teamwork. I thank the Lord for making this activity a simple success. I thank Him for giving me the capacity to pull this off and for giving me a set of peeps who have the willing hearts. Totoo talaga that as long as you want to do the Lord’s will, He will help you find a way talaga (in a Kris Aquino tone, char).
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
2 Cor 9:8