The phrase, “A hand to help” was painted on the ceiling of Ms. Ronie Bautista’s (Project Head) home when she woke up early in the morning. Sipping a cup of coffee in their balcony, watching the kids playing on the street while letting the sun refresh her day, and hearing the birds’ chirps made her come up with “PATTSkwelahan Project: FORDA Donation.” This Social Orientation and Community Involvement (SOCI) activity aimed to provide basic learning supplies to the grade 1 pupils in San Isidro Elementary School, Sucat, Paranaque City. Last December 12, 2022, officers from different organizations gathered as early as 8:00 AM to see the smiles of every kid waiting along the corridor.
Mr. Ken Exequiel Dela Peña (President - PATTS Achiever’s League) began his speech by quoting Ronald Reagan saying, “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” Indeed, an inspirational quote has been lighting someone’s candle—especially to kids who once had their dreams dashed because of the lack of child support. For months, every organization involved in this project had gathered enough donations and other necessary materials needed for this project, which the students and the faculty of PATTS College of Aeronautics gave. He leaned back in his chair and penned, “As we are about to reach the end of this project, we are hoping to bring a smile to everyone’s faces, especially this Christmas season [...].” Anyone can be a symbol of hope, particularly during this time wherein many people out there are pleading for aid and grasping at any available straw.
As the program progressed, when the writer talked with the kids about their aspirations, a boy approached him and said, “Kuya, I want to be a policeman.” Then another kid said, “I want to help [the less fortunate] when I grow up.” At such a tender age, it smelled like petals of roses, knowing that they were already dreaming. Whether they were taught or not, one thing is for sure: they will shine by reflecting on their childhood dreams, just like how diamonds sparkle when held up to the light.
The principal of San Isidro Elementary School, Ms. Veronica Francisco, expressed her heartfelt thanks to the officers involved by saying, “It’s very heartwarming to see you, young people, be the future leaders and future parents. At a very young age, you have that enthusiasm to help others.” Helping is for everyone; this act is not something anyone can adopt. It’s a burning desire—an igniting calling deep within your heart. After that, Ms. Bautista took over and thanked the backbones of her project, which had been with her from the beginning to the last day, where the tears and sweat they shed had been all worth it.
According to the Manila Times (2022), 5% of Filipino children aged 10 are still unschooled. This might be a small percentage, but this significantly impacts our society. Remember, they are the hope of our fatherland. We need to teach them how to dream for themselves, and we need to let them feel that compassion. In this world where cruelty is inevitable, humanity still persists in someone’s spirit. Indeed, we have two hands, one for ourselves and one to help someone. Be the one to say, “I have lit someone’s torch, and this hand has helped genuinely.”