Ate Cyrine Celebrates with 2KK Escopa
Written by: Ate Mia Villavicencio, Volunteer
Last November 19, I volunteered for U! Happy’s event at 2KK Escopa for Ate Cyrine’s birthday.
When I arrived, the children were already divided into 5 groups, waiting patiently and quietly for the program to start. I was assigned to group 5. As I walked towards them, I couldn’t help but feel nervous about how they were going to react to me. Would they talk to me or were the next few hours going to be really awkward for all of us? As soon as I sat down, they all greeted me with a smile. “Hi, Ate!” they said warmly. All my anxieties then disappeared. “This is going to be a good day,” I thought to myself.
Before the games started, we were given 10 minutes to get to know each other by saying what we wanted to receive this Christmas. “Gusto ko ng rubber shoes,” Avril answered quickly. “Bakit rubber shoes?” I asked, surprised that she didn’t want a toy. “Kasi ‘pag P.E. namin naka tsinelas lang ako.” “Gusto ko ng kotse,”AJ said. “Yung totoong kotse? Marunong ka na mag-drive?” I asked teasingly. “Yung laruan lang,” he said laughing. “Ako rin gusto ko ng maliit lang na kotse,” John chimed in. “Ako naman, bike,” Chrisnica said. “Ako rin! Marunong na ako nung dalawang gulong lang,” Aliyah said proudly. There was a lot more conversation going on among the whole group – the ten minutes were not enough to finish it – however, it was time to start the game.
The game was more challenging than I expected it to be. Kuya Harvard had us mentally adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing numbers, then representing our answer by standing up quickly while holding up orange cones. I was tempted to whip out my phone for the calculator because I’d always been bad at Math and I really didn’t want to disappoint the children in my group. In the end, we won (without the use of a calculator!), and I was so happy to see the kids smiling proudly at their accomplishment.
Ate Nikki then taught us how to make an art project using magazine pages cut into long strips. While the older children in my group were able to do the crafts pretty much on their own, the two younger boys needed help with drawing and cutting. AJ, in particular, asked for help every step of the project. “Hindi ako marunong,” he kept saying whenever he had to do another step. When it was time to cut, I had him sit beside me, showed him how to hold the scissors properly, and guided his hand while cutting along the line. After a while, I let go of his hand and watched him finish cutting with ease. I realized that he actually knew how to do it himself, he was probably just seeking encouragement or affirmation from other people. “Huwag na huwag mong sasabihing hindi mo kaya,” I reminded him. “Subukan mo muna dahil kahit ano, kayang kaya mong gawin.” He smiled and nodded. Afterwards, I was impressed to see the children take the initiative to clean up.
Afterwards, we all enjoyed a magic show involving doves, scarves, cards, a moving picture, and a rabbit! Throughout the show, Avril constantly held my hand, put her head on my leg, or placed her arm around my neck. She was one of the most affectionate kids I have ever met!
Lunch was another opportunity to get to know more about the lives of the children. All the volunteers were encouraged to eat with them – a part of the program, which I really appreciated because it showed the children that we were in solidarity with them. I also liked the fact the meal was healthy with big portions of rice, vegetables, and chicken.
Before saying goodbye, we distributed school supplies from Ate Cyrine. The children in my group were also given storybooks as their prize for winning the game. Personally, I was glad that the prizes were educational.
It was definitely a Sunday morning well-spent. I was grateful for the opportunity to reach out and let these children feel that other people are thinking of them and care for them. Hopefully I made a difference in their lives. I know they made a difference in mine!