People who have been through a lot and came out victorious are walking examples of fortitude, patience, and hope. Moreover, these people turn out to have the heart and passion to serve and help others because they know exactly how it feels to desperately need help.
Keshia the Entrepreneur
A quick Facebook search reveals several people of the same name. All girls, of course. All beautiful in their own right. Meanwhile, a lady with a smile on her face, sunglasses resting on top of her blond hair, sunlight striking her visage from an angle making her appear calm yet invigorating strikes a pose. I may not have known her personally, yet I could hear her voice. Frivolous yet reserved. Someone who has completed one stage of life, someone who has matured unto adulthood. This is her, Keshia Fraser.
If you have a big heart for the needy, what would you do?
When I started my walk on the path of volunteerism, I did not exactly know what I wanted to do or to accomplish. Many questions crowded my mind. I never thought I would encounter a question like this. This is a question that Miss Lorybelle Jarligo answered when I saw how passionate and dedicated she was when our path met in my first volunteering stint at Karinderia ni Mang Urot (KMU), a feeding program held three times a week for homeless people in Quezon City.
“Volunteering is an effort that needs nothing but a passionate heart. I look at it as something that adds essence to life. When I first volunteered, I did not expect that I would give it more of myself. But it turned out to be so good that I became hooked to it.
On October 22, 2016 at Karinderia ni Mang Urot, a feeding program by Mr. Benjie Abad in Quezon City, I met Mr. Hamilcar Cabusi. He arrived with his Aunt. Judging from his American accent, I knew instantly that he is not a local. We exchanged stories of how we started volunteering and why we decided to volunteer while waiting for the others and preparing food for the program.
“The family that volunteers together, stays together.”
Having the usual weekend dinner with your family is quite typical these days, and we get that a lot in social media. Sure, what more can be worth sharing than the quality time you spend with your family, right?
By: Pia Jingco
A child named 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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
Offering the work of their hands
Rachel and Joseph’s passion for their careers, the heart for service, and their strong faith naturally brought them together. Through sheer dedication and love for the arts, Rachel and Joseph were able to successfully set-up their own graphic design business, Pixel Pencils. In every step of their entrepreneurial journey, they believed that God has guided them and blessed them tremendously. “We strive hard to earn money. But we strive harder to use what we earned in more meaningful ways — not because of what we have nor what we can do, but because of His will to provide everything we need,” they shared. This statement is a testament of how they offer back to the Lord all their triumphs and blessings, because for them, they are instruments from whom others could also be blessed.
Celebrating a New Adventure
It’s not everyday that we hear a story of a 20-year-old fresh graduate celebrating her birthday with a group of kids from an NGO, together with her friends and other volunteers. Raissa happily shared how she had a very eventful birthday when she spent it with the children from Mano Amiga Academy, complete with belly dancing and a whole lot of fun activities.
Even before organizing a party for the girls of Mano Amiga, Raissa has been actively volunteering in her university’s Pastoral Office, and has also been attending volunteer work during weekends through iVolunteer. And apart from joining different immersion activities, she would make sure she follows through with the project she was involved in. For Raissa, volunteering should be relevant and impactful, which then requires her to proactively monitor the progress of the activities she has attended. She has also volunteered for the Citizens’ Disaster Response Center (CDRC), where she helped with the silk screen printing of eco-bags for relief goods. And since then, she has become an active volunteer in CDRC.
Since I started my journey with iVolunteer Philippines, it has been at the top of my mind that I will not just work for the organization, but I will also get to be hands-on in doing the work with the communities that we help. But apart from that, I also expected to meet new people, go to new places and do something that I never thought I could do. And so, our promise of being an everyday hero starts here.
Bayanihan sa Brigada Eskwela
Brigada Eskwela is an annual program of the Department of Education in preparation for the opening of classes. Last June 4, Saturday, a group of selfless volunteers, including myself, united to set an adventure in helping out teachers in setting up classrooms and creating an exciting atmosphere for the students. Our encounters and realizations exceeded our expectations and everyone experienced a one-of-a-kind bayanihan even for just a day. Continue reading “Bayanihan sa Brigada Eskwela 2016: A Diary of an Everyday Hero”
Volunteerism has made such a significant impact in Gemma’s life that it has been ingrained in her personal life – her values and beliefs all point to sparking positive change. She has even initiated her own programs, such as her Be D.E.A.F. (Doing Extraordinary Actions Fulfillingly) project, a volunteer raising awareness workshop in Cagayan De Oro. Truly, Gemma is on a mission bigger than herself, and she plans to share her unyielding zest for service to anyone who is willing to join her in this journey.
In light of the upcoming elections, Gemma’s volunteering journey is truly a testament that anyone of us can spark change within our own communities as long as we have the humility and commitment to serve.
Defining Life Through Volunteerism
Hailing from South Cotabato, Mindanao, 26-year-old Gemma Ordoyo has already charted an extraordinary volunteering quest, both in her hometown and even within Manila. With her unwavering dedication, she was able to lead her own projects with the help of some of her friends and family members, as inspired by the many volunteer activities she has participated in. One project she headed was for the Special Deaf Youth of Cagayan De Oro, and another for the Minimum Security Inmates of New Bilibid Prison. She takes pride in these personal projects, as it keeps her passionate in sharing the spirit of volunteerism by engaging in initiatives she cares for.
Before she participated in different volunteering projects, Gemma was first part of Save the Children Philippines. Her involvement with them opened her eyes to her mission of serving others. She realized that sharing a part of herself gave more meaning to her life: “Dito ko pala makukuha ang depinisyon ko sa buhay.” And as a socially responsible citizen, she draws inspiration from the different stories of defeat and victory, colorful personalities, and the natural undiscovered beauty of the places she visits. For Gemma, there is a whole new world to learn about and discover beyond her own beliefs, thoughts, and community. She is now currently based home again in South Cotabato, and is an Online Social Campaigner – Volunteer of the M.A.D. (Making a Difference) campaign, particularly for their scholarship project. In every volunteering project she participates in, Gemma ensures she keeps the fire and passion burning in her.