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Where to Start Giving Back to the Community

By ELLA LAXA-PANGILINAN

HELP ME IF YOU CAN An outreach program organized by Called to Rescue, which have trained thousands of Filipino youths and their family

HELP ME IF YOU CAN An outreach program organized by Called to Rescue, which have trained thousands of Filipino youths and their family

Taal volcano’s recent activity, among other calamities our country has faced, has negatively impacted the lives of so many people. It was automatic for me to find ways to help those who truly suffered. I think it is worth recognizing that as Filipinos we genuinely want to help our countrymen during times of need, but there are so many options. It helped me that I was exposed to different organizations growing up, and going through the process of making them a part of my life.

A family friend of ours, Jenny Santi, published a book entitled The Giving Way of Happiness, where she looks at how giving can be truly life changing. She argues that we should not give out of guilt, nor give just because. There must be purpose and intent so that it can become meaningful. It gave me a whole new perspective on and purpose for giving back, detailed in an upcoming piece for Panorama.

I believe that God blesses us so that we are able to be a blessing to others. While this article is not enough to sum up all of my thoughts, learnings, and reflections through the years when it comes to giving, I hope that it will be able to inspire and add value to your own thoughts on giving back. One day, I aspire to experience the fulfillment and privilege of being able to give back.

To give you a springboard on getting started yourself, here is my EDIT of NGOs that I trust, which you can look at and get involved with:

  • CALLED TO RESCUE PHILIPPINES. This anti-human trafficking organization helps rescue children who are missing, have been abused, or trafficked. They also lead awareness and prevention campaigns, advocating for the protection of children victimized by abuse.

  • THE MASTER’S LIGHTHOUSE FOUNDATION. The Foundation supports various insititutions aligned with training, teaching, and the broad spectrum of learning for a better society, particularly in the areas of parenting and entrepreneurship.

  • NEW LIFE COMMUNITY CARE. This organization is committed to disaster preparation, response, and rehabilitation to families affected by disasters and calamities. Their mission is to respond, reach out, and rebuild.

  • PAWS PHILIPPINES. PAWS exists to prevent animal cruelty, alleviate pain, fear, and suffering in animals, and to promote a society based on humane principles.

  • MOVED ORG. Their vision is for every Filipino child to have quality early childhood education, and so they provide early childhood care and development programs in underserved communities through holistic education, providing children with the foundation to succeed in school.

  • KIDS FOR KIDS. They are solely run by kids for kids in need all over the country. They are composed of over 500 members, who inspire other kids to become game changers for peace, hope, happiness, and unity for a better tomorrow.

  • HABITAT FOR HUMANITY PHILIPPINES. This organization helps people in our community, and around the world, build and improve the place they call home.

  • REEF CHECK PHILIPPINES. They seek to promote the conservation of coral reefs through reef monitoring and education.

Trusted brands mat

Some people can even start something of their own if they feel like there is something more they can contribute. I asked a friend, Kai Yulo, to reflect on her efforts to save the horses in Tagaytay through the Taal Horse Rescue:

“I was in a wheelchair. Our flight was delayed for several hours. Our phones were at 20 percent. We had followed the news on Taal volcano since the very first plumes of ash, and had almost gotten stranded in Boracay because of the bad visibility in Manila.

I was scrolling through Instagram and chanced upon a story by an old friend. She posted a video of ponies caked in thick ash amid an arid, hellish landscape. Everything was gray. The only color came from the bright yellow mucus dripping from the nostrils of the surviving horses. It looked apocalyptic. And it was absolutely heartbreaking.

Her next post asked if anybody had connections to the local government in Tagaytay. Horse owners and rescue groups wanted to get clearance to save the stranded horses, and were looking for transport and farms to take them in. As luck would have it, I was traveling with the daughter of the city’s mayor and congressman.

Aniela Tolentino and I immediately sprang into action. From that moment until we boarded the plane, we messaged and called every person we thought could help. We spent the 45-minute flight taking notes and mapping out our plan on the back of a barf bag. Upon landing, Aniela went straight to Tagaytay while I went to the ER (long story). I spent the afternoon frantically calling contacts and simultaneously messaging several WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger groups while waiting for my turn to be treated.

Abandoned houses and coconut trees are seen covered in mud and ash due to the eruption of the nearby Taal volcano, in Laurel in Batangas province on January 16, 2020. - The threat of the Philippines' Taal volcano unleashing a potentially catastrophic eruption remains high, authorities warned on January 16, saying it was showing dangerous signs despite a "lull" in spewing ash. (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP)

CLAD IN DUST Abandoned houses and coconut trees are seen covered in mud and ash due to the eruption of the nearby Taal volcano, in Laurel in Batangas province. (Photo by Ted Aljibe)

Within 48 hours, we were able to establish two horse evacuation centers and provide medical care for 19 horses. Approximately one week and no sleep later, we had a total of 130 horses receiving love and care at our farms.

The experience continues to humble me, surprise me, scare me, and inspire me. It took a village to get the whole operation together. There were many hiccups, breakdowns, and curve balls. But what I’ve learned from this experience is that we should never lose hope.

In the face of adversity, Filipinos have the strength and resilience to come together and work toward a common goal. Anyone and everyone can make a difference. I am beyond grateful to the dedicated men and women who fought so fiercely alongside us. Whether on the ground or spreading the news, everyone played a part in our grand, chaotic orchestra.”

EDIT is a youth column that discusses topical ideas and thoughts of the author relevant to the youth of today. Ella Laxa-Pangilinan is based in Metro Manila, where she is a board member of Called to Rescue, a non-profit organization given to rescuing minor children from sex trafficking, violence, and abuse.



Source: Manila Bulletin

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