890 Ate Jennifer and Friends’ Lantern Making with Sparrow Music
Written by Board Member, Ate Charmain Tan
It is Christmas Week as we are visiting more children before Christmas. Today we headed to Sparrow Music, located in Payatas Quezon City. On the way we saw the 13 hectare garbage dumpsite, famously knows as the Payatas Dumpsite. It is one of the poorest communities in the country and from time to time with a little breeze the smell wafted from the dumpsite. In this community is Sparrow Music Learning Center was established, it is a faith-based organization in California and has now reached out to one of the communities in the Philipines in much need to assistance. It teaches children to learn and develop different kinds of musical skills like singing, playing the guitar and piano. I got to hear the children practicing singing and piano. There were only 2 pianos being used so the kids were taking turns practicing. They only had 10 minute each but most of them want to practice longer. When someone went overtime the next kid would gently tap him and say, “Can I at least play one song?” On the one hand it was nice to see the children working so hard and being determined to learn music but it also makes one feel sad that these children deserve more.
Today’s Christmas giving was sponsored by Ate Jenny. She brought her adorable son and her friends to join her in spending time with the kids of Sparrow. We asked the volunteers to introduce themselves to the kids and divided them into 5 groups. The first game we played was the Paper Clip Challenge. Each team was given a pack of paper clips. Kuya Harvard gave a mathematical equation and knowing the answer, the teams had to link the paper clips together corresponding to the correct answer. For instance, the square root of 225 is 15, the teams had to link 15 paper clips together. The fastest team got a point. It was a challenge to ask the kids to unlink the paper clips after every round but most of them played an honest game. It was mostly easy math questions except for the squareroot which gathered laugh from the volunteers as they tried figuring out the answer. Only one team got the correct answer.
We got to watch the magic show by Kuya Kobe. Kids ran to the front when his doves went up flying. There were also cute rabbits that popped up on the table. He did the newest trick where he would draw a face image on the white board and the the eyes and mouth would move. He also called on several kids in front to assist him in his tricks.
We then had the Parol Art Workshop by Ate Blanca. We made a huge lantern form kraft paper bags. We glued the bags in stacks, cut the edges, then when we opened the bags it magically turned into a huge lantern. They were big that the kids didn’t have space to put them. We had to put them on the sides first in time for the next activity.
We then did a dance workshop by Kuya Japox. He played a modern christmas song and everybody mirrored his dance moves. As always Kuya Japox was very energetic and all the kids followed him. They were a bit shy at first but they eventually warmed up and ended up having fun.
The winning team of the game got their story book prizes. The ates and kuyas gave out Noche Buena gift packs for the kids. The bags were filled with so much food items that the kids had a hard time carrying them but of course they were excited as they were going to give it to their parents for their noche buena dinner. Kuya Arnel of Sparrow talked to the volunteers about how Sparrow started and thanked them for making the kids smile.The kids hugged and thanked their ates and kuyas for sharing their blessings with them. These are the children who do not get to receive much. It is the gift of giving we share. When we see the children happy it makes us feel content.