Last December 13, members of the Small and Big Barkada (SnB), along with some of their husbands and children, played “ate” and “kuya” to 25 students of the San Antonio Elementary School in Makati City. The goal: to help the students beautify their surroundings by painting a mural on a portion of the school’s walls.
But of course, before getting down to “work”, the kids and volunteers first had some fun. They were divided into groups and asked to share some information about themselves. Then they were asked to come up with Christmas-themed team names. Everyone was probably too excited to think creatively, because the result were team names like “Christmas Gift,” “Happy Christmas,” and “Last Christmas.” The names were received with much laughter from everyone, and pretty much set the tone for the rest of the afternoon.
Indeed, what the participants lacked in creativity, they certainly made up for in their competitiveness and energy during the games. Whether it’s putting plastic cones upright during the Make Me Stand game, or passing along messages by “writing” on their teammates backs (Fax Machine game), everyone gave it their all by shouting encouragements, strategizing, and literally going down on their hands and knees to make sure things are done right. In the end, it didn’t even matter which team won, because everyone felt like a winner.
When the time came to paint the mural, everybody listed raptly as Ate Blanca, U! Happy Events’ artist, explained the mechanics and procedure. There were two murals to be painted—one showed images depicting good values, while the other promoted love for learning. Some of the images were already pre-marked with assigned colors, to serve as a guide for the painters.
Everyone lined up patiently to get their paints and brushes, and proceeded to their pre-assigned spots on the wall. It took more than an hour to fill in all the colors in the mural, but in the end, despite sore arms and some paint splatter, everyone was proud of the finished product. Their reward for all the hard work: a yummy merienda of fried chicken, pork barbecue, noodles, lumpiang shanghai, and pichi-pichi from Amber’s. Gifts were then distributed, and volunteers and students hugged each other good-bye. A student was overheard telling a volunteer that she wished they would return to the same school next year, while another group promised to keep in touch with one another through Facebook.
This mural-painting session is part of the SnB members’ annual December children’s outreach activity, which they have called SnB Gives Back. This is their 7th year of partnering with U! Happy Events.