As a requirement for my Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) class, we are required to render six hours of service learning. My group mates presented two options for our CSR project – dengue awareness or book drive with outreach to disadvantaged children. I wanted something different. I wanted a nature conservation activity. In fact, I was already coordinating a mangrove tree planting with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and their local government counterpart in Cavite. Unfortunately, now is not a good season for planting mangrove trees. Since my group mates have already scheduled a meeting with their contact person, I let them be and committed to abide with whatever they agree upon.
I was able to join our group during the scheduled activity observation last June 17. Unfortunately, during the said date, the outreach children were not allowed by their parents to go. However, it was during this visit, that we were able to clarify the organization’s activity and how we can help. The mechanics of their outreach is to make a house to house invitation from children residing at Anonas Sta. Mesa. These children are then brought by their service vehicle to Doulos for Christ World Harvest Ministry office at 4th floor of Philippine Bible Society building in Malate Manila to join with other children of J12 Kids whose parent are attending a service on the 5th floor. Even without the outreach children, this weekly J12 Kids will continue as it is part of their community activity.
The next outreach schedule will be on July 8, 2017. Our group agreed that on the said date we will hand-over the books we gathered. We will segregate it according to age of user and place it in a mobile container. These books will be used by the children while waiting for J12 kids to start. We will also join the house to house invitation and to help facilitate the children during the J12 kids service.
During our visit, we found out that the greatest challenge for the outreach is getting permission from parents. The volunteers who used to spearhead the activity are graduating college students and may not be able to sustain the service when they start working. Once they are gone, it would be difficult to get the parent’s trust to allow their children to go. Realizing this, our next activity on July 8 will also include the endorsement of new coordinators or facilitators to the parents. This will help cultivate trust and contribute on the sustainability of the project.
On my part, upon hearing that the children are residing at shanties along the railway near Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), the first thing that came to my mind is their health. I am assuming that these children are informal settlers and are undernourished. I suggested that we feed them with nutritious food during our outreach. I was reminded that ours is just a one-time activity and the children might expect to be fed every meeting (done twice a month). That made me thinks. How much is a piece of Milo sachet or a tetra pack of milk or Chuckie multiplied by thirty children times two sessions per month? The answer I guess will not make me poor, but paying for it will make me happy. So why not. From there maybe I can help find willing donors per session.
Doing my reflection, I realized that our service learning is still a planting activity. This time we are planting hope. Hope to our outreach children by helping them to get to know God. At the same time, we are also planting hope within our self that by this simple act, we can help influence this children to be better citizens in the future.
As it is said, it takes a community to raise a child, so help us by donating books and by donating nutritious drinks as well.
J12 Kids is a service program conducted by volunteers from the Doulos for Christ World Harvest Ministry based on the belief that children should be raised up in the fear and knowledge of God and His Word by cultivating leaders out of children.
For details of DENR NCR activities, please visit their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/denr.ncr.rpao