Love At First Meeting

By: Pia Jingco

A child nhcm_logo.pngamed Dado captured my heart recently.

Last week I signed up for a volunteer opportunity that would involve tutoring kids, through the iVolunteerwebsite. I must admit I was a bit apprehensive on my way to the venue as I had not done this for quite a long time.

The ministry I selected, called He Cares Mission, runs a shelter in Quezon City and undertakes education, health, livelihood and spiritual initiatives among street children and their families. Upon arriving there I was greeted by a perky, smiling worker named Cathy, who handles (and by “handles,” as most fellow workers in nonprofit organizations would understand, I mean literally running the whole thing by herself) the “Back to School” program. I am yet to understand fully the mechanics and components of this program but among the efforts is providing tutorial support and motivation to out-of-school children in hopes of re-enrolling them as soon as possible.

And so I was introduced to Dado, my student for the day. Our assigned subject was Reading Comprehension. I introduced myself to him and shook his hands, and asked (as instructed by Cathy) if I could lead a prayer. He said yes. I asked then if we could hold hands, and he said, “Pasmado po ako!” (“I have sweaty hands!”) I said it was okay, I was used to sweaty hands because I had a sister who had those, and he finally consented with a shy smile.

I prayed for our session, sought guidance, and thanked God for being the source of all intelligence and abilities. I prayed that He would not only enable Dado to learn, but would also make Dado experience His love.

Within minutes of our session I understood two things:

  1. He was supposed to be a fourth grader but his English reading and vocabulary skills were way below that level. He struggled reading (pronouncing) and retaining the meaning of words like survive and weather.
  2. He was very motivated. He conscientiously underlined each word that he had difficulty reading. He also listed the words he did not understand (double-spaced on his notebook) and asked me for the Tagalog translation of each (and oh, I struggled with some, like “sheet” [of ice] and “field”). He wrote each translation down beside the English word, and would refer to it time and again. He also requested that we work on a second article because “Gusto ko pong maraming matutunan” (“I want to learn a lot”).

I also realized as we proceeded that he might be poor at reading and comprehending English, but he certainly was insightful. We were learning what “survive difficult conditions” meant — we were studying an article about polar bears in the Arctic — when he looked at me and said, “Parang ako po pala, mahirap yung buhay na pinanggalingan…Pero si Hesus dumating tapos pinili nya na magdaan din sa mahirap para maligtas ako.” (“So it’s just like me, I have had a hard life… But Jesus came and chose to go through hardship, too, to save me.”) I just about melted then.

In the middle of the session he suddenly blurted out, “Sana po kayo lagi ang tutor ko” (“I wish you will always be my tutor.”) and I thought to myself and to God that I really would need His help to keep committed to this.

When we concluded our session I requested that he be the one to lead our closing prayer, and he obliged and took my hands. He thanked God for the session and prayed to be able to learn many more things. Afterward, he reminded me to be back. I said I would.

By God’s grace, I will keep my promise.

Interested to volunteer? Visit iVolunteer.com.ph to browse opportunities, including options to help with the He Cares Mission🙂

 

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Finding a Lifetime Partner in Volunteering

After her husband’s battle with the big C, Judy never expected to find a partner in volunteering. At present, Judy is running the family’s food service business while also being a mom to 10-year-old Jamielle.

Married life

Volunteering has always been a huge part of Judy’s life. However, when she started her own immediate family family, she also began drifting away from volunteering, as she became preoccupied with husband and daughter, and even her mom.

Judy still had the strong desire to pursue her volunteer journey, as she felt it was her calling. She always prayed to God to direct her path with whatever He wants her to do, as she experienced challenges with balancing her roles as a mom, child, and a business owner. So whenever she felt she needed reassurance, she will always recite, “Thy will be done, Lord,” even until the faithful day that her husband succumb to cancer. Nevertheless, all the challenges she faced just made her stronger.

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DOCTOR STRANGE Movie Block Screening: A Fundraising Event by iVolunteer PH

November 07, 2016 – Makati, Philippines – iVolunteer Philippines was successful again in the recently concluded Fundraising Event, a movie block screening of Doctor Strange last November 05, 2016 in Glorietta 4.

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Doctor Strange is a story of a former neurosurgeon who started his journey of healing only to be drawn into the world of mystic arts and learning to be a hero himself. Likely to the movie’s theme on being a superhero, iVolunteer PH believes that there’s a Hero in Every Filipino.

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Photo: Jasmine of Finance team pre-movie screening in Cinema 7, Glorietta 4

The fundraising activity was done by selling tickets for newest Marvel’s Hero, Doctor Strange and selling T-shirts to the participants during the screening.

The Everyday Hero Shirt

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Start Your Adventure Shirt

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The Everyday Hero Shirt is still up and we have one new design out. The new iVolunteer T- shirt (Start your adventure shirt), which comes in white, features a logo of  iVolunteer as a detour to a new adventure. On the detour signage is the tagline, “Start Your Adventure”, a message to jump start your volunteer journey with iVolunteer Philippines.

For your orders, kindly follow this link: http://tinyurl.com/zc6yerd.

iVolunteer Ph was joined by some of our top participating brands during the movie screening, they are:

Chippy, “Jack’n Jill Chippy, Kada bonding Chippy”;

Jack’n Jill Mang Juan, Packed with Sarap ng Pinoy!”;

Dos, “All Good Things Come in Pairs”;

Nissin Yakisoba, “Yummy Sobra!”.

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iVolunteer Philippines raises funds to sustain its operation in matching volunteers and advocacies through the website www.ivolunteer.com.ph. This includes cost for our services such as community meet-ups, capability training for partners, website IT infrastructure, legal requirements, etc.

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The Team is beyond grateful for the support of friends and colleagues who watched with them. “Just knowing that there are people who understands our advocacy and takes part is priceless,” said Jasmine of the org’s Finance Team Lead.

Photo: Registration Booth in front of Cinema 7

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Photo: iVolunteer Booth 

iVolunteer Team would like to thank you again for supporting our fundraiser last November 05! We hope you enjoyed the movie as much as we did! For any suggestions and feedback, feel free to send us a message at contactus@iVolunteer.com.ph or via our Facebook page http://facebook.com/iVolunteerPhils. We would love to hear from you!

Visit https://ivolunteer.com.ph/events for other volunteer opportunities!

 

 

by: Kei

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What do you envision this world to be?

What is your purpose in life? This is a question we all want to be answered. For Rina, one of the volunteers I met from PPCRV (manual count of the 2016 election returns), she genuinely believes that doing her best in helping others is her mission in life.

A student from Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Rina is currently the Executive Council President of the university’s Emergency Response Group (ERG), a rescue volunteer organization that primarily upholds the spirit of volunteerism within the community. She’s one of those who were captured by the spirit of the organization, and eventually one of the few who remained active from her batch.

During the manual count activity at PPCRV, she arrived alone. I already sense her genuine spirit, as she asked the question, “I’m one of the volunteers, what should I do?” As we talked, I found out that she’s been spending her summer joining volunteer activities available via the iVolunteer website. With or without her friends, she’d go as long as she’s able.

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Volunteering: food for the soul

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Project Pearl’s feeding activity at Tondo Manila

We all love to eat. We always look forward to a hearty meal after a hard day’s work. Even just a quick but sumptuous merienda in the afternoon is enough to light us up. And we also know sharing our food with good company, especially our loved ones is just priceless. We love it so much, it’s usually our first question or greeting – “Kumain ka na ba?!” And oftentimes, we do not really mind if we put on a little weight, as long as our stomach is full, because for most of us, it doesn’t take much to make us happy.

Now, imagine skipping a meal just for a day. We become grumpy, impatient, and frustrated. In short, an irreversible damage ensues, and our whole day is automatically ruined. In reality, not all of us could afford to whine if for some reason, there is no source of food when it’s time to eat. Some of us have no choice but to go on through the day finding ways to fill in empty stomachs, or maybe trying to forget about it completely. Yes, these children know the drill so well.

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From Fulfillment to Commitment: Hear From Your Everyday Hero

“Giving is limitless. I’d love to see every NGO working hand- in-hand with the government and the private sector, as everyone helps each other towards one goal. No one gets left behind. I believe every Filipino has a role in fulfilling this dream. “ – Jasmine Salem of iVolunteer

Meet Jasmine Salem: Auditor, Finance Associate Director, Everyday Hero.

As iVolunteer’s Associate Director of Finance, Jasmine Salem or “Jas” handles fundraising activities as well as the financial books of the organization. She is also the team’s Executive Secretary, and is in charge of iVolunteer’s legal requirements and documentations. As a state auditor, Jasmine loves how her day job coincides with her responsibilities in managing the organization. It makes her understand more about how the government and NGOs can work better together in nation-building.

For Jasmine, volunteering allows her to connect with her community and offers opportunities for her to make it a better place. She wants to see a world where serving others is a top priority.

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THE KWENTISTA (Storyteller)

For one dedicated man who relentlessly pursued his passion for service, volunteering isn’t just a part-time activity. It became his way of life.

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The Advocacy

Rey Bufi (Kuya Rey) is a simple gleeful person. His love for kids and his hope for our nation brought him to where he is right now.  He believes that if we want to have a progressive society, we must start with the children.

His passion started as early as his undergraduate years as a Philosophy student, where he actively participated in school activities in addressing societal issues like literacy. His degree demanded a lot of reading to which he was not exposed much in his younger years. The struggle inspired him to teach kids aged 7-10 the importance of reading. He believes that if we want to build a better nation, we must start young. Also, as the youngest in the family of seven, he also saw the importance of helping out in household responsibilities.

This hope paved way to the small beginnings of The Storytelling Project (TSP). He founded this non-profit organization that aims to instill love for reading through their 21-day storytelling program in remote communities. They also incorporate basic subjects such as math and science as well as dancing and singing in every session so that kids will grow to see reading and learning as fun, and not as a burdensome activity.

“Serving God is serving others. I am not a very religious person. I believe that faith is something personal. Service to people makes you human. Naniniwala rin ako na tayong mga tao ay likas na mabuti (And I believe people are naturally good.)” he said.

First Time Volunteer

He recalled his first experience as a volunteer way back his college days in Montalban, Payatas smiling. He was then invited by a friend to join an outreach for kids. Soon enough, he explored more volunteer activities as he worked for a telecommunications company. One of those, Kuya Rey committed his Saturdays read stories to kids in Palanan, Makati and Malibay, Pasay even after his affiliation to this telecommunications company where he worked for.

He admitted that he was shy at first. “May feeling ako na di ako pwedeng mag suggest ng initiatives. Tapos noong may napanood akong magaling na kwentista, nasabi ko sa sarili ko; naku di ata ako storyteller, iba yung galing niya!(I was so shy that I felt I can’t suggest any initiatives. And when I saw a storyteller, I felt inferior, he was admirable.) But in the end I realized, we are all storytellers, we have our own way of telling stories.”

To gain his confidence, he practiced and attended workshops and after all of that, he felt that he is ready to tell stories to kids as a certified “kwentista.”

A leap of faith

Realizing that he wanted to put more time in his outreach activities, he quit his full time job and took a part time job to fully manage TSP. He got a job as insurance agent as a part time job as he on the other hand is taking small vital steps for TSP. He ventured off to various provinces for a month, stayed in the schools, and began his reading advocacy.

This became one of the toughest chapters in his life. His family and friends began to question his choices pointing out that he should secure a stable job for his future family. Despite all these, Kuya Rey remained focused and steadfast in his advocacy.

Now, he is starting to reap the fruits of his labor. “I do workshops for teachers, for NGO’s, and mostly I work as a CSR provider. I also provide services for a telecommunications company in their CSR project which happens to be storytelling. Masaya na nagagawa mo yung gusto mo, may sweldo ka pa.”

Better Kids

With baby steps and taking on one community at a time, the TSP saw visible results of their efforts. They noticed that through their reading activities, they are also training children that they don’t force them to write a book report or enumerate the setting or characters. We give them the confidence that the material is easily understandable.

Key Take-Away(s) in Volunteering

As a volunteer veteran, Kuya Rey has shared to us some key points he learned as a volunteer:

  • In volunteering, we get intangible things. Influencing a kid or two in your lifetime might mean that these kids will influence more kids, the advocacy continues.
  • Most of the time, kids teach us more than we teach them. Kids teach us patience. They teach us to appreciate things- small or big. And best of all, they teach us the purity of the heart. They don’t hold grudges.
  • Kuya Rey believes that there are two types of volunteerism. First, if you have discovered it thru others and second, if that you have known that it is what you wanted for a long time.

Kuya Rey’s Advice on Volunteers

“Find your passion. Explore volunteer opportunities. Find where you enjoy most. Coz it’s easier to leave things when you get tired and you’re not happy with it and when you think you’re tired of what you’re doing, always go back to your happiness.”

Let’s start a culture of reading.

 

by Jhala Grace Salas