Reachout : Damas De Filipinas

It was a sunny and bright Sunday, 22 July 2007. It was the day that the Lord had made for a number of TEENS Program and SINGLES Program members, with the support and assistance of the YOUTH Ministry core (and prayer groups like MMG, JON, SJW and OLP; and a number of individuals who in one way or another extended their help and support – materials, financial and prayers) to spend with the “less fortunate” children at Damas de Filipinas.

Formerly known as “Fundacion de Damas de Filipinas Settlement House”, the “Asociacion De Damas Filipinas” is a non-profit organization / non-government society founded on September 26, 1913 by Dra. Honoria Acosta Sison (the first lady physician in the country). The Settlement House was razed by fire in December 1998, killing 25 children and five caretakers. The then President Joseph Ejercito Estrada acted swiftly to help the non-profit Damas rebuild the shelter in 45 days.

The Asociacion accepts neglected, abandoned, abused and orphaned children aged 2 months to 8 years old - when they reach age seven, they will be transferred to the Department of Social Welfare Development (DSWD) and Boys Town at Bacood Street, Sta. Mesa, Manila for their schooling.

The children started the program with their very touching prayers and songs – which penetrated deep into the hearts and brought repressed tears instantly to the eyes of all.

And then, everybody really had a blast in every activity there was in the program. A number of fun games (such as paper / statue dance, stop dance, trip to Jerusalem and longest line) were staged. The stop dance game (where a Singles/Teens member was grouped with two of the children) showed the most touching moments – the children happily and tightly clinging to their Singles/Teens partners just as the music stops! Oh, what a sight!

As the Teens/Singles wanted to make an impression to the children in a number of impromptu presentations and action dances, the children could not just let their guards down that easy as they showed their very best in their presentations (cheers, dancing, singing, poems and prayers) – and whoa! Would we have expected that they would do their group presentations in a very well-choreographed and in near-perfect unison!?

And of course, the best seller: Body / Face painting! As if every kid would want some moments to be “different”!

Lunch (of spaghetti and hotdogs, with juices and ice creams) was served before mid-noon. The prepared food was initially thought to fall short for everybody but by the grace of God, there were even leftovers!

The program would not end without gift-giving to the children and to the Settlement House. Prizes were given to the winners of the games and loot-bags were distributed to all of the children in the house (for the distribution, we even had a clown from San Juan’s Mascot Services for free!). A pool of gifts were graciously presented and handed over to the administrator of the Settlement House: Electric fans, boxes of diapers, milk powders, biscuits, juices, cotton buds, toothpastes and toothbrushes, soaps, shampoos, lotions, and used clothes.

The activity was planned primarily to bring hope, joy, happiness and positive outlook in life to the “less fortunate” kids at least for the moment the visit was made, but most of those who went to the visit, if not all, claimed to have experienced otherwise – that they gained more out of the experience. General sentiment was that, it was very humbling to realize that those we see as “less fortunate” would find full happiness, joy and satisfaction even on the simplest of things more easily than the “more fortunate” ones. It was everybody’s realization that with what the “more fortunate’ ones have (family and almost everything they want), all the ‘more fortunate” ones do would be to complain about what they “just” have and that they even demand for more. Whilst these children, with no families of their own and nothing else but what they need to survive, all they do is cheerily accept and enjoy whatever graces extended to them. And that the “more fortunate” ones would have the most sophisticated things and yet they see nothing of it – thanking no one and feeling short-changed; whilst these children would have the simplest of things and yet they see the most it and they make the most of it – and they thank Jesus for all that they have.

So, “less fortunate”?
“More fortunate”?
Who’s who?

'Till the next reachout experience!



Anonymous said...

Dear team HJM - Youth,

Congratulations to the organizers and all the participants of this REACHOUT.

The Hearts of Jesus and Mary has shown is manifestation, an unconditional love in motion.

May the ministry continue doing good services like this one. Surely, our Lord is so pleased.

Praise Jesus !

Anonymous said...

To all HJM Youths:

.... Let us not be weary in doing good, for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good..." Galatians 6:9-10.

God bless those who stand up and say - let us go and serve Jesus among our brethren!

Blessed are the peacemakers.