“Sabi nila, ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan. Pero kung titingnan mo ang mga batang ito [na dating mga taga-Payatas na ngayon ay nasa Tanza, Cavite] alam ba nila sila ang pinatutungkulan nito? In the first place, alam kaya nila ang kahulugan ng salitang pag-asa?”
–Ms. Flor Gabriel, Unibersidad ng Pilipinas
I am counting down the days to September 5 as on that day I will no longer tread the path to the De La Salle Philippines office in Ortigas Avenue. It would be my Day 1 at the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), my new workplace.
The offer came out of left field. It came at a time when my dissonance over the status quo at DLSP is peaking but I am not actively looking for a new job. I really would have wanted to see the transition through, especially since I was chosen to be part of the Executive Team and Co-chair of the Lasallian Mission Services Group. But I think “hanggang doon na lang talaga ang kaya.” My prayers prior to the CEAP offer had been one of intense supplication–for Him to show me where a new Mission opens for me. Prayers granted.
I take the educational mission personally. It was a value that our parents handed over to us, something they hold dearly. I bet their children’s graduation from college meant a whole lot to them maybe because they were already assured that their task has been completed… that they no longer have to worry about our future because we’ve already been equipped with a potent weapon: a solid education. This is the same thing that I wish for the children after my generation.
I take the educational mission personally. Aside from being a professional teacher, I believe I am an educator at heart. That is why I felt truly blessed when I was invited to join DLSP in 2007. The Lasallian Mission is all about education of the young and making it accessible to the poor and those at-risk through its many creative expressions. My journey with DLSP had been fulfilling overall. It has exposed me to a system where most people share the same ideals that I believe in.
I take the educational mission personally that is why I am happy that I will be transferring to another network of schools. I will be their Advocacy Officer. One who will work with a topnotch team of lawyers and school heads in pushing for relevant educational agenda in the Congress and other governing bodies in the area of education. It was an offer of a lifetime, one that is fleeting and too hard to resist. Truth be told, it is something I dreamed of doing when I was still in college and the offer was like a dream coming true. I am excited!
The statement above is from Ms. Gabriel (aka Ms. G, Ma’am Gabs). She was my program adviser in college and one of the few professors (and friends) who I connect with at a certain wavelength. I visited her in UP yesterday and along the course of our conversation over dinner, we talked about her Mission in Tanza, Cavite. It’s a poor community that she adopted together with a friend. They go there every Saturday to teach young kids whose families barely have resources to send them to a public school.
“Fulfilling naman. These kids do not even dream of entering the university some day, that is why we are bringing the university to them.”
Amazing. Ms. Gabriel has been with UP for more than 15 years and had been a department head some years ago but for some reasons she is now only on a part-time engagement with the university. She only goes there every Monday and divides the rest of the week between her parents in Orion, Bataan and the Mission work she does in Tanza.
I don’t know how she and her friend did it but from her meager salary from the university, she was able to acquire rights for a piece of land in the community and also managed to a structure on it. That was a milestone for the community as they used to hold classes wherever there was shade.
I went home fired up for the Mission once again. We need more and more people taking the educational mission as their own passion. This way, hope is never lost, even to those who are in the sidelines, those who do not even have the chance to dream for themselves.
I was waiting for Ms. Gabriel to open the possibility of helping her raise funds or get donations for the educational center that she runs but I didn’t hear it from her. Thus, I volunteered to organize donations for at least two plastic boxes filled with books for the almost 50 kids that they reach out to every Saturday.
Please get in touch with me if you have old children’s books and toys that you want to donate. Cash donations are also welcome as we need to buy the plastic boxes in a department store. Let our target be the last week of September.
Thank you in advance!