“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.” – Mother Teresa
This is the message that struck Arvin’s heart when he met a female social worker at Tahanan ng Pagmamahal Orphanage in Mandaluyong City during his visit to do a class project.
Arvin witnessed the dedication and passion of this woman in helping kids at the orphanage despite the meager salary she gets from her job. Her devotion in doing her work gave Arvin some profound thought about helping other people.
“When I saw how the social worker exhausts herself to fulfill her duty, I saw in her the embodiment of Mother Teresa’s quote. She may not know it during that time, but seeing how passionate she was in helping those kids and how devoted she was in doing her work at the orphanage despite the small return, somehow made a change in me. It was through her and that experience in the orphanage that I was able to find my passion in selfless service.”
That encounter with a dedicated social worker, evoked hunger in Arvin’s heart. He looked for ways to contribute to the greater good in other people’s lives. To feed his hunger, he joined a service-oriented organization in school and became a member of UP Task Force Arki. He said that through this organization, he became exposed to various NGOs and some volunteering activities inside and outside the campus.
But he desired more. He realized that the activities and events of the organization were not enough to satiate his craving to do more good for others. He searched for other volunteering opportunities outside school and found iVolunteer Philippines online. Arvin’s volunteering journey began.
He started with U Happy Events, a group that focuses on providing means and mechanism for sponsors and volunteers to meet and reach out to beneficiaries. He then moved on to his next volunteering adventure at Project Pearls, an organization that helps the community in Helping Land, Tondo. He volunteered as a tutor to the kids in the community and taught the basic subjects of English, Math, and Science.
These encounters were followed by another tutoring experience with ATD (All-together in Dignity) Fourth World Philippines, another organization that helps the poor community in Manila North Cemetery. His charm among children and his concern for them made it easy for him to be a tutor. For Arvin, it is important to reinforce literacy to children, especially to the ones who belong to less fortunate communities.
All these realities of poverty and hardships of people he saw during his volunteering journey became the eye-opener for him to give volunteering better attention. For Arvin, volunteering creates sensitivity in people. It got him to realize the need to help.
He knows that volunteering gives people the opportunity to contribute to the betterment of the community no matter how small it could be and he shared his thought about it.
“Some may say that volunteering doesn’t really make that much of a difference. But in reality, it does – it does make a difference in the life of the person you’ve helped. Let’s not underestimate what we can do as individuals – with our actions and with our words we can do so much. In the end, what counts is that we strive to make the effort to do something, to make a difference, and to be part of the change.”
This is Arvin Dimalanta, a graduating Architecture student of UP Diliman. A volunteer. A change.
by Nenia Dulom, iVolunteer Philippines