269 Ate Riley’s Christmas Hat Workshop with Mano Amiga
Written by Kuya Harvard
It was the second event of December 14 and the team was traveling from Marikina all the way to Taguig to meet Mano Amiga kids for the very first time. Christmas rush brought a bit of traffic but we got there in time nevertheless to set-up the place.
Media and artists from GMA 7 joined us for Riley’s birthday, the daughter of sponsor’s Jeremy and Kelly Albano. The artist were Max Collins, Steven Silva and Rachel Ann Go. Besides joining the rest of the activities, they also sang a set of Christmas carols for 30 of the children. The children in turn sang 12 days of Christmas in full energy and smiling faces.
Riley was turning 2 years in old in days and her parents opted to do an outreach. Our team hopes that more friends and Filipinos continue to recognize the value of doing a charity event as an alternative to celebrations like these.
The afternoon’s activities were full and we started with 2 games so everyone will warm up and get to know each other better. We had paint a picture with teams with Christmas as theme and had pass the charades with just the volunteers right after. Yes they were competitive!
We had Christmas hat making which was the central activity. We kept the teams tight by letting them work on the art workshop together. Kuya Robby lead the group. We believe that these will help the kids become more creative and learn to work with others.
Testimony from Riley’s mom, Ate Kelly Abano
We couldn’t decide how to celebrate our daughter Riley’s coming 2nd birthday. A small party at home, a party at a fast food chain, a day at the zoo – these were all good options but none of them felt resolutely right. Weeks before her birthday my husband and I agreed to make the celebration an outreach event, sharing her birthday party perhaps with an orphanage. Good intentions are one thing but it is quite another to see them through. Weeks dwindled to days and we still haven’t organized anything. Truthfully, I thought it was going to be as easy as contacting an orphanage and setting the date and time. The list of charities in the country when I Googled it was overwhelming. The orphanages I contacted already had events for the date we intended. We almost gave up until my husband remembered that one of his friends volunteers with a “charity events organizer.” At this point, given the time constraints, we weren’t even sure this party was going to happen. All we wanted was for Riley to have a meaningful birthday, not just for her, but with whoever she was going to share it, for her special day to be special to someone else too.
When we got in touch with Harvard, he wasn’t daunted by our problems. “I’ll find you a match. We’ll take care of everything.” That’s all he said. After a few days, he found a beneficiary, the kids of Mano Amiga. We’ve never heard of them before but his proposal came with a description of their situation and a list of everything they will prepare for the party and a program. I couldn’t believe it’s that easy. All we had to do was say yes.
Going to the party, I honestly had no idea what to expect. We have invited only our immediate family. The location wasn’t easy to find. There were forks in the road that led to more forks in the road. But at the end of this tedious drive was the warmth and welcome of the U Happy Events volunteers and the kids of Mano Amiga. There were games and a hat making activity that not only involved the kids but all our family members. There were some artists from GMA 7 who dropped by and sang with the kids. I was watching them, taking it all in and I could see my family genuinely having fun with these kids. Everybody just came together to share a fun afternoon. We sat down on the floor to share some spaghetti and cupcakes. There was icing and smiles plastered on the kids’ faces. It felt right. This felt right. It was a most fulfilling celebration of our precious daughter’s birthday.
My husband Jeremy and I, and the rest of our family would like to thank Harvard and the rest of U! Happy Events volunteers for making all of this possible, for making helping and reaching out easier.