REACH: The Silk Road, Sharing Values and Opportunities

REACH: The Silk Road, Sharing Values and Opportunities

Written by Erika Ortiz. Edited by Denise Joaquin.

Photo Header by Catherine Wu.

On the 6th of October 2018, Ateneo Celadon hosted REACH, a program that invites volunteers to participate in a two-way culture-sharing through a series of area visits in Pinag-Isang Palad Community. This year, REACH follows the theme The Silk Road, based on the route in Ancient China that merchants would travel to exchange goods while warriors protect them from thieves. In this case, the parents in the partner community are likened to the merchants as they are focused on their livelihood, and the children are the warriors since the goal of this event is to teach the kids important values like openness and family solidarity.

With the first of three installments of REACH for the semester, Celadon exposed its members to an outreach program dedicated to exhibiting openness and sharing family-oriented values to children in the Pinag-Isang Palad Community by bringing them an afternoon of fun-filled activities and crafts. The event didn’t just cater to the kids, however, but it also provided the adults an avenue for learning and enhancing their skills to improve their livelihood.

The event started with opening remarks and a prayer by hosts Ervin Llobrera and Danielle Teo. The volunteers then prepared different sets of activities for the kids and parents. For the kids, the volunteers started with an icebreaker of handkerchief-chasing where the kids are arranged into two straight lines and hold the shoulder of the person in front of them. The heads will then try to get ahold of the handkerchief at the back of the last person of the competing group. This is to teach the lesson of family solidarity.

Next, they played the game “cobweb” where the kids must go through a path of plastic rope without hitting the rope. The kids cannot talk and must hold hands throughout the game. The lesson of this game was to be patient when forming lasting relationships and to stick to each other. After “cobweb,” the kids also created some Chinese Lanterns out of construction paper. Lastly, the kids also played “safe zone” where there are newspapers designated as safe zones on which the kids have to stay whenever someone yells “Bandit!” The lesson the volunteers wanted to impart was that openness and sensitivity expands one’s definition of a family to include anyone who is in need.

On the other hand, the adults attended a talk on operating an online business. The speaker for the talk is Janne Ngo, a 23-year-old Chemical Engineering graduate who started her online business in high school by selling pre-loved items and eventually imports from Bangkok, China, and Korea. She talked about her experiences in her business and showed the parents how they can start their own online business through different platforms such as Facebook and Carousell. She talked about the importance of selling a product that they’re passionate about, logistics, prices, and marketing. Afterwards, there was a Q&A portion for any parent who wanted to know more about the online business.

The main event for the parents was the Citronella Candle-making. They were given instructions as well as the materials necessary and they proceeded to the making of the candles. Tita Celi, the head of the community, said that, “Okay siya. Mukha ring interesado yung mga nanay. Pwede na kaming gumawa.” (It was okay. The mothers also seemed interested. Now, we can make our own candles).

After the giving out of snacks like Mentos and JellyAce to the kids, the program was concluded. Overall, the event was deemed a successful one for the project heads. “The effort and energy we put out in every engagement is always met by the community’s hospitality and enthusiasm. The matchless energy of the kids, and the overwhelming warmth and kindness of the elders truly make every REACH visit a precious one,” says Patricia Sevilla, one of the project managers.

At the end of the day, the volunteers and the partner community embraced the values that REACH wanted to impart. Alyssa Tan, the co-project head said,  “All the hard work was worth the while.”

The sponsors of the event include CocoLine, Mr. Gulaman, Doughnut, Head & Shoulders, Trampoline Park, Rackey Pop, Chinatown, and Salt Water.

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