Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Service Learning Option - A Blog Action Day post

Our SLO or Service Learning Option for my Public Administration 161 (Ethics and Accountability) opened realities to me. For the last two Saturdays of August, I have conducted leadership-training seminars to underprivileged Grades 4-6 elementary students of Nayong Tsinoy, a resettlement/ former GK village created by the Federation of the Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in Ascoville, Caloocan City.

Our objective was to be able to teach them or at least show and give them inputs (based on their own basic knowledge and understanding of their surroundings) what it is to be a leader and a team member. We gave them several activities that would ultimately gauge, show, and teach them all about leadership and the skills and values (like cooperation, peace and unity among themselves and to others) that would make them better persons.

I felt that some of the activities we had weren’t really in line with their age level and ultimately didn’t impact them (as much as it would impact, say, a high school or college level student). But even with that constraint, we managed to pull through and cut across that problem with more explanations and other activities on our part.

During one of our activities, we were shocked to find out that these kids, at that early age, have knowledge on what's happening in our country. We did an activity which made them portray current situations on relationship among peers, relationship or status in their family, in school, in their community, and in our country.

To our surprise, some of what they portrayed are: their fathers beating up and shoo-ing off suitors of their "ate-s" (older sisters) and "tomadors" and "sugarols" (alcoholics and gamblers) wrecking havoc on the streets, and the war in Mindanao. It came to a point that we had a hard time leveling, relating and explaining to them those situations and where those situations lie in the grander scheme of things of being a leader.

But even with such social perspectives in these kids' (as young as 10 year-olds) minds, I guess I was thankful that some of them acted out something good they see in society - friends helping each other when one of their other friend is sick.

After everything we did, Teacher Mia, the head teacher/volunteer there, debriefed us. She was very thankful of what we have done, and that she hopes that we continue to do these kinds of things because according to her, "it gives hope and promise for these kids' future." It is with these little acts of kindness and sharing our time and talents (despite everyone's busy academic schedule) she holds the hope of a brighter and better future for the country and for the less fortunate people.

I was touched and moved by her words. This for me was more than enough to make all the exhaustion (from preparing, going there, and delivering the activities) go away.

Recently, we had our assessment in class, and our professor asked us if we see that these kids will be the hope of our future. Honestly, I really don't know if these kids will be among those people who'll result to stealing or street rambles (God forbid) or become leaders in their own communities.

The fact is that there are a lot of impovirished kids here in the Metro (What more in the provinces, right?) But what makes me keep on hoping, that indeed there will be future for these kids and for the Philippines, are the people who continue to go out of their comfort zones and continue to make a difference in the lives of our less-fortunate brothers and sisters. One small act of kindness may go a long long way in the hearts of these kids.

I really feel happy and fulfilled after everything. I nearly didn't want to go through with the Service Learning Option, and opt to just make a policy paper, but after everything, I am glad I did. From start until the end – from the trainings we went through with Eduk Inc. to the actual output we delivered and when we carried out our plans and did our best in making an impact and being the difference to these kids – we came out better individuals, who are more aware of the situations of these people.

My hope is that other schools consider giving Service Learning Options to their students. It's through these activities we open our hearts, minds, and actually act out and live out what we learn inside the four walls of our very comfortable learning institutions.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails