“When I approach a child, he inspires in me two sentiments — tenderness for what he is and respect for what he may become.”
If you’ve been born, raised, and schooled a Catholic, I guess you will agree with me when I say that giving comes naturally. I, for one, was schooled in St. Agnes Academy – the oldest Catholic school in Albay, from 1992 to 2003. When we were in Grade 1, we were asked to bring canned goods, clothes, books, or anything else we could donate for the school’s regular outreach programs. Whenever there were calamities that hit the region, we would raise funds or goods to help the victims. In Grade 6, we had a club called “The Little Evangelizers” where every Saturday morning, children from adopted barangays would go to school and attend our evangelization classes. When we reached 4th year high school, the ladies did not have the usual cadet training. Instead, we went on weekly outreach programs in poor areas where we would do community building – teach kids, eat with them, have fun games and activities. Looking back, it was all so fun!
So when my best friend told me in 2011 that their family will be putting up a foundation for children, I never had second thoughts about giving my support. They were then mourning the untimely loss of Adrian, their 15-year old family member who died in a motorcycle accident. Instead of letting sadness shatter them, they decided to keep his memory alive by cultivating Adrian’s virtues of being God-loving, friendly, jolly, and generous in various activities and projects aimed at helping poor children and their families. On February 2, 2011, four days from Adrian’s death, the PAG-ASA ARKA Foundation, Inc* was founded.
Pag-asa means hope in Filipino. It’s also the barangay in Rawis, Legazpi City where most of the incorporators come from. ARKA, on the other hand, stands for ASK, RECEIVE, KNOCK, ANSWER. They got the inspiration from Matthew 7:7 of the Holy Bible – “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you (NLT)”. In 2011, they started helping 41 kids carefully selected from the poorest families in 5 barangays in Legazpi City and Camalig, Albay. As ARKA scholars, the kids were provided school uniforms, supplies, and weekly “baons” (allowances). They also conduct weekend Values Formation and Catechism classes. When their funds allow, the Foundation also holds feeding programs. By school year 2015, their scholars grew to 65. The foundation expects to increase its scholars this coming 2016 too.
As the foundation’s scholars grew, so did their expenses. Just a couple of months ago, I was told that ARKA’s funds were slowly getting challenged by the increasing cost of operations. While friends, relatives, and connections continued giving support, ARKA needs more to sustain its programs. I kept thinking how else I could help them.
Then two days ago, I replied to the e-mail of one of my readers who was beset with a labor-related problem. For some reason, I though about requesting her to pay it forward and then left her with ARKA’s account details. I did not expect her to respond but to my surprise, she indeed donated P 1,000.00 to the foundation! She was blessed by the e-mail I sent, and so she decided to bless others too. I could not explain the feeling I had upon knowing it. My heart was literally throbbing with happiness! Ganun pala kapag alam mo na, in your own little way, nakatulong ka sa iba. It was like an affirmation for me that there are still people willing to repay goodness with more goodness.
Now here I am, writing about ARKA in the hope that I will be able to reach more generous hearts. After all, it is in giving that we receive. If you feel that you have been blessed in your life, I hope that you will decide to share your blessings to help these kids continue with their education. You may also sponsor a child for only P500.00 (about 11 USD) per month. That’s only P5,000.00 for an entire school year. Imagine the difference your P5,000.00 can make in the life of a child.
You may deposit monetary donations to:
Account Name: Pag-asa ARKA Foundation Inc
Account Number: Savings Account 1810-336455
Bank: BDO Legazpi- Rizal
For donations in kind (such as school supplies, bags, clothes, books, shoes, etc), please send them to:
PAG-ASA ARKA Foundation Inc.
c/o Mrs. Hortencia Chan Lunas
Balete Street. Pag Asa Rawis
Legazpi City 4500
The Foundation is open to those who want to conduct their outreach programs or celebrate special occasions with the ARKA kids. You may also volunteer to be a weekend teacher for them. Please visit their Facebook page and send Mrs. Lunas a message if you are interested or if you have any questions. For me to know if your hearts were reached through this blog, please also send me a private message. I will be more than happy to include you in my thoughts.
Thank you in advance. 🙂
**Featured Image by Mr. Bolen Osial