It all started with an idea. The opportunity to create our own corporate social responsibility project has enabled us to help a marginalized sector within the society. Initially, our group had a number of ideas that we wanted to materialize – from teaching children basic self-defense to promoting the importance of learning and education. Our ideas had one thing in common though – targeting kids as our beneficiaries. Finally, we arrived with a decision of implementing a program to improve health and safety of children.
Our group submitted a proposal to our professor, which included our project’s goals, plans, program design, and necessary materials. However, our professor mentioned that our proposed project lacked sustainability. We revised the proposal, which our professor eventually approved.
Our project, Changing the World through Hygiene, is a Health and Wellness activity that intends to promote proper methods of healthy eating, cleaning one’s body, and maintaining an active lifestyle. The group will conduct a seminar and engagement with the kids of the group’s chosen beneficiary and provide visual aids and instructional materials to educate more children and to ensure sustainability of the project.
We started with looking for a beneficiary, which helps street children, and contacted the said organization. Despite the group’s persistence in contacting, we did not get a response. We then asked help from the Center for Social Concern and Action (COSCA) office and met with them to explain our project. Days after, they provided us with a new beneficiary, Missionaries of the Poor, an organization that caters to housing abandoned elderly and children. After finalizing our beneficiary, each member became more proactive in participating in discussions regarding the implementation of the project.
Then, we assessed the resources and materials needed to execute the project. We decided with creating visual materials that focus on the food pyramid, oral health, and good hygiene habits. Moreover, the group intends to concertize the objective of the program by providing a healthy lunch meal for the participants – pancit and juice. Soon, with everyone’s full participation, the project began to materialize.
On June 9 (Tuesday), COSCA informed us that we will be visiting Missionaries of the Poor on June 13 (Saturday) and gave us permission slips to notify our parents about this out-of-campus visit. The purpose of the visit was to allow us to align our project with the current needs and issues of Missionaries of the Poor.
On June 11 (Thursday), we discussed the details of our initial trip and the progress we have made. At that point, we realized that the expenses for the project might be too excessive. To resolve the issue, we decided to email Colgate and Nestle about possible sponsorship deals or donations to lessen the group’s expenses. We also looked for visual aids to serve as basis for our handouts and materials and searched for relevant videos in line with our theme of promoting a healthy and active lifestyle.
On the morning of Saturday (June 13), majority of the group conducted an initial visit to the Missionaries of the Poor in San Andres. A few were not able to attend due to prior engagements. The group met in campus and was escorted by COSCA, along with another group from our CSR class.
Once we arrived at Missionaries of the Poor, we were greeted by some elderly and were introduced to Br. Moses, the primary caretaker of the institution. He allowed us to take photos of the place, and so, we did.
Br. Moses gave us a brief introduction about himself and the organization he leads, Missionaries of the Poor. According to him, their organization mainly caters to abandoned elderly men and children with disabilities and special needs. The groups then explained the proposed projects and asked about the needs of the organization. Although he believed that our project could be of great importance, he requested that we include either the elderly and children with disabilities in the implementation of our project, one that would make them feel loved and cared for.
After the initial meeting, Br. Moses showed us around the place, where we met elderly and kids with disabilities. He also introduced us to some volunteers, who provide the necessary care, especially among children with disabilities. One volunteer mentioned that she works for the institution to help those who cannot help themselves.
Br. Moses also mentioned the organization’s future plans on expanding to cater to more people. The organization currently relies on donations and accommodates as many people.
Missionaries of the Poor also helps other Filipinos within the community by providing a feeding program for children in San Andres. Br. Moses cheerfully explained that some of these children will be the beneficiaries for our program on Saturday (June 20).
Our trip to the Missionaries of the Poor provided us the perfect context to fine tune our program flow. After the visit, we had a lunch meeting to discuss strategies and constraints that arose. We listed all the materials needed to make the project successful and consented on paying a certain amount to buy the necessary materials in Divisioria.
Possible challenges were also discussed by the group, such as lack of time and resources in implementing the project. However, the group ensures that each member is doing his and her best in order to execute a great activity for the organization. Also, we are concerned with ensuring that we reach the expectations and needs of the organization, as they expressed enthusiasm in our program. After all, the group wants the community to benefit from the project and understand the essence of doing such projects for the betterment of the society.
Currently, the group is finalizing the preparations of our program on Saturday (June 20). We are in the works of printing the posters, dubbing the videos and contacting the necessary people in order to make our project successful. We are also looking for possible new speakers to discussing the topic to the kids. We have worked extensively and put a great amount of our energy in ensuring that what we will be doing an outstanding job on our project. In our own way, we hope that our project will create a lasting positive impact on their community.
As I look back, the preparations for our Service Learning Project, which we entitled Changing the World, seemed to be easy to implement, especially since I have already experienced spearheading and organizing large-scaled activities and events inside and outside the University. As the leader of the group, I encouraged my groupmates to start planning early; foreseeing that we will most likely encounter problems. While working on our proposal, I appointed two of my groupmates to become the Project Heads of our activity, knowing that they had prior experience in implementing socio-civic activities, which were somehow similar to our project.
However, as we spent more days on planning, the group faced difficulties and challenges along the way. The non-responsive chosen beneficiary which led us to partner with COSCA, the change of implementation date to a later one due to the tasks needed to be accomplished, the lack of funds needed to purchase materials, the additional needs of Bahay Tuluyan realized through the initial visit, and the backing out of the speaker just days before our implementation were just some of them.
Grateful, the spirit of team work and cooperation fostered within the group, allowing us to resolve problems and stick to our initial plan. In ensuring that the project will materialize, each and everyone contributed time and effort in fulfilling the tasks needed to be accomplished – making a module on health and wellness, coming up with posters that complement the module, brainstorming on fun and engaging activities for the children, and even asking for donations on toy, clothes, and toiletries from the entire class.
Although the preparation proved to be difficult, it was truly the participation and cooperation of the group members that allowed us to overcome the challenges together. As we implement the project, I am hoping that each of us will make a difference on the children’s lives and together, we will make a change to the community as the project is continuously sustained by other volunteers. By teaching children about the importance of health, they will be more mindful of what they eat, have healthier bodies, and hopefully, play an active role in community-building.
– Denisse Lim
When Sir first mentioned about the Service Learning Program, it made me think about the Talaban activity we had in High School. This is where we would go to a barangay and be assigned to a family and we would help them around the house and ask them what help can we give them. In preparing for the SLP though, it made me realize that it’s not the same as the other activities we had in college or high school, because the SLP should really make an impact in the community and it’s a long-term thing.
In preparing for the SLP, I wanted to do something simple but something meaningful at the same time and I wanted something that had to do with the less fortunate kids. Our group had different ideas and there were problems that we had to go through, but at the end we were able to make things work with the help of the COSCA and I honestly prayed to God that things would work out for our group, because we really want something great for the kids!
– Sugar Sanchez
Our SLP had many facets to it because of the groups’ numerous ideas on what to implement. We did not know each other prior to this class; however, the project really brought us together as a team in such a way other classes have failed to incorporate. Our group had really good synergy with one another in implementing the project. We often disagreed on the details of the project, but whatever it is, we will always come up with an alternative that was better than what we had previously planned before. I think that our regular updates through facebook and after class sessions were quite effective in ensuring that the preparation for the SLP would go smoothly.
The whole process of preparing for the SLP really took much of my personal time and energy. We had to ask COSCA for help and we even went to Divisoria to buy materials for our project at cheaper prices. However, I felt that our struggle was entirely worth it because I knew that our project will mean something to someone. And maybe it will have a lasting impact on the way they live their lives
– Paul Mangune
The preparations for our group’s Service Learning Project was difficult in my case because I wasn’t present for a few meetings in class. I relied on information that was relayed to me by our leader as well as the posts and conversations that our group had on Facebook, which I regularly updated myself and participated in as much as possible. I saw that there were a few difficulties like finding beneficiaries. There was even an issue about finding a speaker because the speaker, who I found, was not returning my calls or texts and that really made me feel guilty.
Upon arriving back to Manila, I contacted my groupmates to catch up on the progress of our SLP. As I attended the first class that I had since arriving, I contributed as much as I could to make myself more involved with the project like go to Divisoria, cook the food for the kids, go to school on weekends to repack items. Doing those activities in such a short amount of time, days before the SLP itself, made the project personal to me and I think the same goes for all of my groupmates because we wanted the kids to love what we’ve prepared for them. It wasn’t simply buying and making an effort for the grade but it was really an effort for the kids and giving a hand to the brothers in Missionaries of the Poor.
– Kristina Robles
To serve for a community that truly needs caring for has always been something that I look forward to. And so being given the opportunity to do such through our Service Learning Program for CSRGOVE was really something exciting yet challenging. Exciting because we would be exposed to a whole new side of life that we don’t normally see every day and challenging in a sense that would we be able to create a program that will surely help our participants in their lives.
Our SLP had a theme of Changing the World Through Hygiene; which was a program that focused on the health and wellness of young children. This idea was thought of by the group seeing that many children nowadays don’t realize the importance of eating the right kind of food, proper hygiene and physical fitness. Hence, the group wanted to conduct such program to help growing kids develop their bodies into its best healthy and active state.
In partnership with COSCA, we were able to find a beneficiary that needs the program that we had in mind. To assure the alignment of it to our audience, our group had a on-site visit at Missionaries of the Poor located in San Andres Bukid, Manila. In our visit, we then were able to see the kids who will be our participants for our SLP, since at that time they were included in the feeding program of MOP. Also we interacted with the children who were in-housed at MOP whom had special needs. In such, we saw how much the children lacked. They lacked toys, clothes, medicine, milk, necessary toiletries like soap, toothbrushes, shampoo as well as guidelines for health like posters and tarpaulins that are put up inside and out their clinic. They had some posters about proper dental hygiene and tooth-brushing, but these posters already looked very old and faded. Some guidelines were even just written on a manila paper.
After that first visit, the group became more inspired to take action and to really ensure that we will have a great program for those kids. We made a program flow and lectures about the food pyramid, proper hygiene — tooth-brushing and hand-washing as its focal points, and physical fitness; guaranteeing that it will be fun and interactive for the children. Furthermore, we gathered donations for toys, clothes and toiletries from CSRGOVE classes and allocated some of our budget to provide tarpaulins as guidelines for proper health and wellness. Additionally, we arranged on what kinds of healthy food we could serve the children on the day of the SLP itself.
Admittedly, it was difficult to make everything fall into place before the actual implementation of our program. There were a hurdles to overcome along the way. But at the end of the day, we knew our hard work will pay-off and that our program will help the children to be the best that they can be to be achievers in life making them understand that their health is their wealth. Plus, having a great group that was well dedicated to the cause, hard working, energetic, intellectual and fun all around, made everything even more worthwhile and priceless.
– Kathleen Kato
The main challenge was to come up with a sustainable project for our Service Learning Program (SLP). Our group had a lot of ideas concerning the type of activity, implementation, and outcome that often leads to a discussion. However, we focused on one aspect which is the health and wellness. During the preparation, we encountered a number of difficulties from the looking for beneficiaries to the program itself, yet we understood to keep a constant communication among each other. Then, with the help of COSCA, we found our beneficiaries, which are the children from Missionaries of the Poor. Despite the challenges, on the day of the project’s implementation, our group managed to prepare all the things we need — program flow, educational posters & videos, activities, food, and learning materials.