742 Ate Arianne’s Paper Emoticon with PCMC
Written by Vice President for External, Glenn Costales
There’s always something to look forward to whenever we visit the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) in Quezon City. It had been about 4 months or so since our last event and we were rightfully due for another one last Saturday, led by Ate Arianne. With the help of some of her close friends, this event was put together to celebrate her birthday.
A dozen enthusiastic volunteers arrived to spend the day with the kids from the Hema-Onco Ward. Hemo-Onco, short for Hematology-Oncology, deals with the treatment of blood diseases and cancer. Because of the special conditions the kids were in, we couldn’t all be inside the ward at the same time.
It was certainly a bit of a challenge as the volunteers were going to have to go in in batches, and at some occasions, we would have to leave them by themselves. To our pleasant astonishment, we found out that our awesome volunteers also happened to be working with amazing non-government organizations (World Vision and Save the Children). This was truly a relief knowing they can more than hold their own.
Two (2) activities highlighted the event – an inspiring Art Workshop and an intimate Storytelling session. Before the event got rolling though, we had to make sure to introduce the volunteers to the kids and the parents/ guardians inside the Ward. The old ilong-ilong game proved valuable as it was quick, fun and didn’t need a lot of movement from where the kids were – the perfect icebreaker.
The first batch of storytellers then made their way inside. The parents and guardians were very welcoming as they also engaged the volunteers by introducing themselves, as well as telling them a bit of their own story. After getting to know one another, the volunteers finally got animated and told an enriching tale using the colorful storybooks they were armed with.
The Art Workshop team did more than their fair share as well. Resident artist Ate Blanca first showed the volunteers how the art materials would be put together consisting of a paper plate, strips of paper and color pens. The kuyas and ates then became impromptu art teachers and demonstrated to the kids how to make a ‘Paper Plate Emoticon’. It didn’t take long before the materials came to life exhibiting a lot of vibrant expressions.
A generous lunch was then served along with some tasty treats. The storybooks were also given out to the kids together with the gifts prepared by Ate Arianne and her friends.
This event did not have the usual conditions we were used to but the volunteers made sure it was going to be special nonetheless. They were game with whatever the event needed. Kuya RJ, had this to say about his experience –
My first volunteer experience with U! Happy Events has been like no other. I did witness a lot of suffering in six years while working for an NGO; but what I saw at PCMC has brought me another perspective to life.
Seeing impoverished, young cancer patients was a moment when I was moved to minister through prayer. It’s so difficult to imagine how I could not. They are totally different from the “poor but healthy” people I’ve encountered before.
A few days from now, I would forget this intense compassion and would get back to doing the things I normally do. So I say: when it comes to volunteering, it’s all about seizing the moment while it’s in front of you. Don’t get stuck in sympathy; move to pray. You can’t touch the same water twice.
To the kids, may the healing grace of Jesus be upon you as you recover and may His faithfulness bring comfort to your families as well. From all of us at U! Happy Events, thank U! to Ate Arianne and her friends for taking part in this event. It was their energy and joy that also made a difference. Lastly, thank U! to PCMC for opening their doors to us. We can’t wait to visit again soon.