NHA, Southville 7 Housing Project Barangay Dayap Calauan, Laguna is one of the relocation sites for the informal settlers (IFS) in the metropolis; settlers living near esteros, riverbanks, other floodwater areas (Malabon & the like) and the displaced families of typhoon “Ondoy”. Apart from the government’s rehabilitation plans, were private initiatives and it was Ayala Group of Companies who tapped Don Bosco to take part in the development plan for the IFS and take heed in its socio-pastoral care.
The Salesian (Don Bosco) presence started May 2010 and until to date, with the collaboration of other stakeholders (corporate foundations, construction companies, Manila Water, Diocese of San Pablo, etc.) and volunteer groups remains vibrant and active in achieving a sustainable & empowered community. The integration of the spiritual formation is juxtaposed in the establishment of the socio-economic programs.
The Young Upbeat Professionals for Peace (Yuppeace), a faith community, is strongly supporting Don Bosco’s Calauan project through the value formation programs for the young. Yuppeace volunteered for a once a month (every 3rd Saturday) catechism program. The participants for the program are young boys and girls ages 6-16 years old and are grouped by grade levels. Common to all these youngsters is their hyperactive nature (like excited wrigglersJ), mostly unkempt, and a number of them are out-of-school. To contain these kids to quiet & stimulate them to learn and enjoy a seemingly boring topic as catechism or bible study, require an equally hyperactive & dynamic volunteers who could spice up a half day activity (8:30 ‘till lunch time) with fun and excitement!
As Yuppeace volunteers are all working professionals, preparations are made weeks prior to the 3rd Saturday. To face “excited wrigglers”, the volunteers study their respective topics and animate their students with their story-telling techniques, games and the usual coloring and writing activities. All materials for the activities or games are provided for by the volunteers. A more exciting fanfare is prepared during special occasions as Christmas and Easter.
Besides the teaching preparations, one major concern of the volunteers is the feeding of all the students. Knowing that these kids are from poor families, to digest the teachings inculcated to them is not possible with starving stomachs. As the volunteers feed their mind & heart with goodness- so is their physical body. Morning snack and lunch are provided. In some cases when there are volunteers or their friends or officemates who wishes to celebrate their birthdays with the Calauan kids & sponsor some meals, the food preparations are more sumptuous & delectable. The joy is simply igniting as one sees the exciting smiles of the children.
For 4 years now, Yuppeace volunteers has been faithful to the 3rd Saturday catechism bonding with the Calauan kids. The consistency of the volunteers led to an increasing participation of kids. It started with about 100 young boys & girls and has now grown to 300. Running the logistical & funding concerns is no easy for the volunteers as costs are taken from their own pockets. With the growing number of kids participating and with very few volunteers shelling out their resources- meeting the requirements to maintain a warm spirit filled formation is rather weighty for the volunteers to carry. Hence, the Yuppeace volunteers are truly grateful to donors and sponsors who generously pitch in to help sustain the dynamism of this meaningful & enriching program which the children of Calauan look forward to. May we continue sharing and spreading the joy of giving!