My practicum class just had a culminating activity for our Community Service project last July 26.  It was a memorable experience for all of us.

The site was the Gawad Kalinga (GK) Onyx, San Andres Bukid, Manila. Gawad Kalinga, which means “to give care,” is a movement that was first started out by Couples For Christ.  It aims to bring out the best in the Filipino spirit by promoting unity, cooperation, sharing, and generosity which are all embodied in our “bayanihan” values.

GK has many projects, including community-building.  My classmates and I were at the Onyx site for their Child and Youth Development Program (CYDP) which provides education and assistance for the Filipino disadvantaged youth.  It has three programs, namely: SIBOL (“grow”) for pre-school children, aged 3 to 6 years old; SAGIP (“to save a life”) for elementary aged children, from 7 to 13 years old; and SIGA (“to light up”) for teens aged 14 to 17 years old.  Their programs include value-based education, free academic tutorials, sports and creative workshops, counselling and rehabilitation program, and scholarships for those with the mental aptitude to pursue higher education.

Mr. Raul Ramiterre, of the GK-CYD Program and our practicum supervisor, Dr. Bautista (right)

The children, teens, and teachers had a great time.  They took part in the games, and received gifts and prizes.  They performed as well–singing, dancing and rapping their own original GK theme songs.  Some of the kids were talented and creative.  We all had fun and enjoyed ourselves immensely!

“Salamat sa mga ate at kuya…di n’yo kami pinapabayaan…” SIGA teens, rapping and singing from the heart. Bravos!

SAGIP kids: Promoting core values of pro-God,pro-country, and pro-humanity

“So long as the children are allowed to suffer, there is no true love in this world.” -Isadore Duncan

“For in the final analysis, our most basic common link, is that we all inhabit this small planet, we all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children’s futures, and we are all mortal.” – John F. Kennedy

It was heartwarming to see the children bringing along their younger siblings, and the older teens assuming leadership roles by guiding and leading the younger ones during the program.  These kids are forced to grow up fast, and take in big responsibilities at a young age.

Teen Role Models (right): Kuya Joel and Ate Aileen (with the dimples) can make promising future leaders if given the chance to pursue higher education through scholarships.

Educate your children to self-control, to the habit of holding passion and prejudice and evil tendencies subject to an upright and reasoning will, and you have done much to abolish misery from their future and crimes from society.” -Benjamin Franklin

If you want to help out, donate or volunteer your services, click on the Gawad Kalinga website for more information.  Wherever you are in the Philippines, there may be a GK site near you. Be a GK Bayani and make a stand against poverty…Less for self, More for others, Enough for all!