Instead of becoming bitter after going through a difficult period in her life, Yehlen dela Luna or “Yee” to her friends was inspired to reach out to people who need help.
Help comes from everywhere
“Help would come when we need it the most, so we should learn to give back to others,” says Yee as she speaks from her experience.
Several years ago, her two younger brothers were involved in an accident that almost ended their life. The medical expenses were too much for her family to shoulder. One of her brothers had to stay in the intensive care unit for almost a month. She didn’t expect that help would come from everywhere, even from people they didn’t know. She recounted that Gawad Kalinga, where one of her brothers volunteered in the past, also organized a fun run to raise funds.
Paying it forward
“I thought to myself that I couldn’t repay the people who helped us. That’s when I decided that I would pay it forward. I would find a way to reach out to others and help them. My family have been at the receiving end of getting help when we badly needed it and our hearts are filled with gratitude from all the help we’ve got, no matter how big or small,” she says.
She started spending her free time volunteering whenever there’s an opportunity for her to do so. She would usually help repack relief goods in DSWD for victims of natural disasters like super typhoons Ondoy and Maring. However, she felt that she wasn’t doing enough. Later, she began to search on the Internet to be part of a volunteer group and came across the iVolunteer website. That’s how she started to join volunteering activities with HeCares and U! Happy, both of which cater to children in need.
“I met Rex when I first went to a U! Happy event with Tahan-Tahanan in East Avenue Medical Center. He was 10 years old and was suffering from leukemia. Meeting him touched my heart. I was so inspired and amazed with how he continued to have a sunny disposition in spite of his delicate condition,” she recounts.
Yee volunteering at U! Happy Events
Volunteering as an eye–opening experience
As Yee’s volunteering experience widened, she also learned to appreciate life better. According to her, she has seen both the worst and best life has to offer, but she found that in any situation joy and love could be felt when people learn to reach out to those in need.
“Volunteering became an eye-opener for me. I realized that even an ordi
nary person like me can bring happiness to others if we care to give our time and share our blessings to the less fortunate. If we do this together, we can really make a difference to make this world a better place to live in,” she shares.
Yee currently works as an accountant for a foundation. According to her, she makes sure to share to other people her story and experience in volunteering. She also invites her friends to join her in different volunteering activities so that they, too, could have the same experience of fulfillment by sharing their life’s blessings with others.
by Miko Mojica, iVolunteer Philippines