Yumbassadors: Helping others help themselves
MANILA, Philippines - “It’s about bridging the gap,” begins Leana Vibal. “We want our public high school kids to at least be academically at par with those who come from private high schools.
“The dream is for them to surpass all the limits that have been imposed on them, so that when they make life choices, they’re informed.”
Alay ni Ignacio
As the deputy for administration of Alay ni Ignacio, a volunteer-based organization that provides leadership and academic formation to public high school students, it is Leana’s and more than 60 volunteer tutors’ goal to make sure that the children they teach don’t just understand basic subject-verb agreement, solve algebraic expressions, or memorize the table of elements.
Through education, the aim is to let them know of the infinite possibilities life has to offer.
It is for this reason that Alay ni Ignacio, together with two other youth volunteer groups, were recently declared Jollibee’s newest Yumbassadors in the nationwide competition “Choice Ko Yum: Choosing the Next Yumbassadors.”
The competition aimed to find groups that have been helping inspire others to lead the way in youth empowerment and community development. From the different video entries around the country that were submitted, Jollibee and its panel of judges chose 3 winners:
- Alay ni Ignacio
- Junior Jaycees Noveleta Kalero - a leadership organization with numerous community service programs in Cavite
- Philippine Stagers Foundation - a theater company that uses art and performance in their outreach programs for the poor, sick, and elderly
In Alay ni Ignacio, volunteers teach public high school kids from Quezon City and Marikina academic classes during the summer season, and hold leadership sessions during the regular school year.
“What we’re doing is important because it’s not just about addressing the problem of education,” says Leana. “It’s about providing them the opportunities to go where they want to go.
“We don’t want them to go through their life because that’s the only thing that’s offered to them. We want to offer them everything we’ve got, so that when they do make choices, they make them in an informed manner.”
To contact Alay ni Ignacio, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Marianne Fabian and/or Leana Isabel Vibal at landline 920-0153 or mobile 0917-8881052.
For Raymond Salazar, founder and national chairman of Junior Jaycees, it’s about community service.
“As a leadership organization, we want to teach our members that helping others isn’t just about shelling out money or giving solicitations. We could’ve easily raised money by asking members to donate,” Raymond tells Rappler. “But that would just be very easy. By going through the process of the project, we learn from it while helping others at the same time.”
That project is their Junk to School program which helps raise funds for public schools in the depressed area of Noveleta, Cavite by collecting, segregating, and selling recyclable trash. “Since the local government in our town was starting to teach the community on waste segregation, we decided to become a part of it as well,” says Raymond.
First, they became partners in disseminating information to the community. “Then we saw that we could also raise funds by collecting junk materials from households that would have been otherwise discarded,” recalls Raymond. “We were literally walking along the streets, knocking on doors, asking for junk.”
As the project grew, so did their collected funds. “We were able to give school supplies to more than 100 kids, as well as cabinets to some schools,” says Raymond.
“What we do is important because we’re able to touch lives. When we give a notebook and a pencil to these children, their sincere gratitude is just priceless.”
To contact JJC Noveleta and JJI Noveleta ASIN, email email@example.com or call Raymond Salazar at mobile 0917-8615658.
For the Philippine Stagers Foundation, it’s all about using their talents to help others discover their own. “We are theater with a purpose,” says head facilitator JP Lopez. “Part of our proceeds goes to our various outreach projects that aim to help the poor, sick, and elderly in our partner schools and institutions.”
They also conduct performance and personality development workshops all over the country.
Established in 2001, the goal was to make theater more accessible to the general public. But in trying to achieve that goal, they found that theater was simply a means to an end. “Art and culture are the soul of the nation,” says JP. “It’s the avenue to express our being Filipino.
“And we hope and pray that through our performances we could inspire others to become better versions of themselves. We hope we’re able to help them grow and find themselves through performing.”
Inspiration for others
With organizations like Alay ni Ignacio, Junior Jaycees Noveleta Kalero, and the Philippine Stagers Foundation leading the country’s new generation of young volunteers, it is the hope of Jollibee that others will be inspired to make a change in their own communities as well.
As the winners of the “Choice Ko Yum: Choosing the Next Yumbassadors” contest, first place Alay ni Ignacio received P80,000 cash from Jollibee and P20,000 worth of gift certificates; second place Junior Jaycees received P10,000 cash and P5,000 worth of gift certificates; 3rd place Philippine Stagers Foundation received P8,000 cash from Jollibee and P4,000 worth of gift certificates — apart from the distinction of being included in the roster of Jollibee’s Yumbassadors. - Rappler.com