For his birthday this year, my husband decided that we would make it our annual tradition to do an outreach activity with the preschools in the barangay where their family farm is located in a provincial town in Iloilo.
He coordinated with the barangay captain and the teachers at the two preschools located close to the farm to try to find out what the kids need and when we can give it to them. There were around 200 kids in total, and we were told they needed notebooks and pencils.
My husband has a tendency to decide on things on a whim, so we didn’t really have a lot of time to prepare for this one. He very quickly bought notebooks and pencils and then waited for the captain and the teachers’ advice when we could distribute them. It fell on a day Jessie and I were supposed to attend a morning wedding out of town (I had to downplay my dress with a rain jacket), but that was okay. This was a commitment he made, and the wedding would have to wait (we were just guests anyway).
First we visited the daycare at the barangay center where around 50 kids went to preschool. The captain introduced my husband so he can say a few words, and he introduced our family, explained that it would become our annual tradition to give to the kids on his birthday, and we proceeded to distribute notebooks and pencils to the kids. They were all so behaved and cute, lined up obediently with a parent or guardian, and went up to us with a smile, sometimes with a hug or kiss, and said thank you.
We did the same at the baptist school where around 150 kids attended nursery and kindergarten. This was a bigger group so my husband and I had our work cut out for us—we split the group and the materials in two.
As we were leaving both schools, the parents and kids bade us a warm goodbye on our way, some even kissing and hugging me again. I will never forget the huge smiles from both parents and kids. Maliit na bagay, but they were all so appreciative.
But I think our smiles were even bigger, our hearts even fuller. It didn’t take too long, but the time we spent giving notebooks and pencils to those kids, chatting up some of them, and exchanging smiles and hugs with some of them exhilarated me so much and filled me with purpose. The moment we got back to our truck, I was already planning with Jessie how we can do it better next year—what else we can bring, who else we can help, and who else we can tap to donate with us, too.
We didn’t even have to wait a year to get another chance to help out and spend time with the kids. The baptist school invited us to judge the Nutrition Month cooking contest of the nursery and kindergarten kids with their parents. It was followed by song and dance numbers from each class (nursery, kinder 1, kinder 2) who performed songs about the wonders and benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, complete with fruit and vegetable headdresses. They were all so cute!
The only photo I was able to take during the Nutrition Month activity because we were busy watching the kids’ performances!
Again, this was another last-minute thing, so we were only able to prepare juices and biscuits for the kids and their parents to snack on after their performances. But even so, everyone thanked us, not just for the snacks but for our presence. We had such a wonderful time with these kids.
All this time, I’ve been feeling lost, having moved to a quiet and remote farm after living in bustling Metro Manila all my life. But as we get more involved in the community and share with them even these little things like school supplies and snacks, I feel like I’m being renewed. I’m getting back my sense of purpose, slowly but surely. And I continue to think of creative ways we can contribute to more people. Kids and education are so close to my heart, and I really would like to contribute to helping these two causes in any way I can.
Sharing and giving back to the community can be done anywhere. Whether you’re in Manila or in a remote farm like me, there’s always someone you can help, something you can do. And if you’re wondering where to start, there’s one website where you can look for the best place to help out, near or far: the volunteer matching portal timeplease.ph, developed with Globe Future Maker iVolunteer Philippines and the volunteer portal of Gawad Kalinga.
A collaboration between Globe Telecom and The Walt Disney Company, Time Please is a nationwide volunteering program that encourages and empowers Filipinos—including companies, organizations, employees, families, and friends—to provide volunteer activities or participate in existing volunteer programs. It strives to match individuals or groups of volunteers with various volunteering opportunities around the country. Companies, organizations, or groups with existing volunteer programs can also enlist their volunteer activities in the platform and get their volunteer hours registered in this initiative. You can learn more about Time Please on my recent blog post about it here.
I like how it helps us find volunteer activities in various places we otherwise wouldn’t know about. Time Please provides a robust menu of volunteering activities and unites the volunteering ecosystem by connecting the volunteers to volunteer organizations using a simple, convenient and easy to understand web platform. Through any device with online access, individuals from all regions in the Philippines can now sign up for free and form groups to join volunteer activities enrolled in Time Please.
You now have until August 31, 2018 to sign up for an existing volunteer activity or to register your own. Globe decided to extend it from the original August 19 because so many are still volunteering!
The group with the most number of volunteer hour credits at the end of the program will win an all-expense paid trip for four to Hong Kong Disneyland—how’s that for a reward? Members of groups who will complete and register their volunteer hours through timeplease.ph will also get 100 Globe Rewards points each.
Visit timeplease.ph to volunteer and to learn more today.