REACH 4: A Mutual Exchange of Blessings

Written by Aaron Medina and Erika Ortiz. Edited by Matthew Yuching, Denise Joaquin.

Photo Header by Alfred Olivan.

Last April 6, 2019, Ateneo Celadon held its concluding Responding to Encourage Action towards Care and Hope (REACH) program for the school year in the Pinag-isang Palad Community. Armed with a number of activities, the volunteers felt determined to make the last event a memorable one for the small community located near the bustling Commonwealth Avenue.

The theme of REACH for the school year centered around The Silk Road, a reference to the route in ancient China that merchants would take to exchange goods while warriors protected them from thieves. Unlike in the previous REACH programs, where emphasis revolved around imparting lessons to the nanays of the community, the activities this time involved the children of the community.

True to its welcoming and happy environment, the community members invited the volunteers to join their boodle fight, coincidentally happening as they arrived. The children greeted the volunteers with cheerfulness almost immediately after they realized that the community had guests; pretty soon, more kids started coming out of their houses.

The program started with a prayer, followed by a number of fun activities. First, a lively dancing game ensued; the kids danced their hearts out to music as it played and froze as it paused. Even the volunteers decided to dance along.

The kids then had an art activity where they colored pieces of paper. Each piece of paper served as a part of a wider puzzle, so after the kids finished coloring, the volunteers helped them hang the pieces on a nearby wall to complete the different sets of puzzles provided.

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A fashion show soon followed. Using newspaper and tape, the kids made costumes for a selected volunteers. They then had to model and strike three different poses, to the laughter of those present.

While the kids had their activities, some of the volunteers cooked traditional Chinese mantou, which they then distributed to the kids, volunteers, and those nearby.

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Being the last REACH program with the Pinag-isang Palad community for the school year, the team really wanted to make sure that the residents of the community, especially the kids, had a great time.

One of the community residents Marilou Jakosalem couldn’t help but radiate gratitude for the time given to them. Holding a siopao in her hand, Marilou expressed her awareness of the graces she receives, with the REACH program serving as a strong example of it. She noted how the kids would be very excited during outreach programs, anticipating the fun games volunteers had in store for them.

Blessings are always abound, and in this case, they flowed both ways: the volunteers served as blessings to the community, but the community also served as blessings to the volunteers. What more can they ask for, after all, besides the smiling faces of people who they showed solidarity to? In the words of Marilou, “Sana hindi kayo magsawa.” May Celadon, indeed, never tire of sharing fun and cheer, as a bright new school year gleams just ahead.

This event wouldn’t have been possible without the following sponsors: CocoLine, Mr. Gulaman, Doughnut, Head & Shoulders, Trampoline Park, Rackey Pop, Chinatown TV, and Salt Water.

REACH core team and volunteers. Photo by Janela Gaw.
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