In rare occasions we get to organize events for Barkadas or group of friends who simply built a habit of reaching out to children. Thanks to Ate Jizelle Chung and her group we were able to bless Children’s Joy Foundation.
It was another unique workshop that we have prepared. For only the third time through Ate Jill Ngo we had a Belly Dancing activity. She was with two other dancers who gracefully lead the 45 minute session. It was interesting to witness Kuyas and the boys struggling and enjoying at the same time.
Ate Jill emphasized on being able to isolate certain body parts for movements. She even made a game on it. For example saying Watermelon had the shoulders and belly moving.
We also played two games using cones. The first one was called Stack Me Up. Each team had to race to stack levels of cones pyramid style depending on what I how many I would say. We followed it up with Kids vs Volunteers. Game is Speed Cone. Cones scattered, they race to put up all the cones up or down. The children won doing it only for 3.85 seconds!
After a Shakey’s treat of pizza and pasta, the children took turns to perform for us. First were the girls, then the boys and last were the teens. It’s truly a joyous moment to see and hear. And it was fitting after our Belly Dancing activity.
We spent our morning at the SOS Children’s Village in Alabang, one of the two events we had in the morning. SOS is the home of orphaned children where they are able to receive the love and care of the SOS mothers and have the opportunity to live like a family with their brothers and sisters. They strive to provide a loving home to every child. SOS Children’s Villages Philippines is a member of SOS Children’s Villages International. It currently helps children in 133 countries. There are 8 branches in the Philippines, Alabang being one of them. We have partnered with SOS since 2012.
Today is the birthday celebration of Kuya Ernest Gala, organized by Kuya Paolo. They were joined by the rest of their friends. Although they have done individual outreach events before, this was the first time they did this kind of outreach as a group. They were planning to do it in December but moved it to February, which could be Kuya Ernest’s advance birthday celebration.
To start the day the volunteers introduced themselves by spelling out their names using their bodies. The kids laughed as the ates and kuyas tried to mimic the letters as accurately as possible. There were harder letters to mimic like the G in Kuya Miguel’s name and Q in Ate Monique’s name which was a bit of a challenge to do. After the introduction the kids cheered for their favorites.
We divided the volunteers and kids into four groups. The kids were very energetic as some of them chanted the name of the volunteer they wanted to be part of their group. The group members got a chance to know one another by introducing themselves. The volunteers talked about their work and profession. The kids, on the other hand, talked about what they wanted to be when they grow up. The teams also came up with creative group names for their respective groups. Kuya Paolo’s group was Guardians of the Galaxy. The kids in the group wanted to be soldiers, teachers, and chef. The second group was Kuya Miguel’s Spartans. The group chanted “ahoo ahoo” mimicking the sound the Spartans made in the movie 300. The next team was Ate Cathy’s Blue team, because none of them was wearing blue. The kids in this group wanted to be veterinarian, ballerina, doctor, and one kid came up with a creative answer, he said he wanted to be Peter Pan, because he didn’t want to grow up. The last team was Kuya Victor’s Quick Quick group.
Our first activity was the Cheese Rings relay game. The first member of each team were to grab a cheese ring using a straw. He would then pass on the cheese ring from his straw to the straw of the next member. Teams weren’t allowed to use their hands. Teams kept passing until they reach the end of the line where the last member would drop the cheese ring on the plate. The team that got the most number of pieces onto the place in the allotted time won the game. The teams cheered as they excitedly passed on the cheese rings to the next person. It could be quite a challenge since it was hard to slide the cheese curl along the length of the straw. The kids cheered and ran as they tried to move as fast as they could without dropping the rings on the floor. In the end it was team Guardians of the Galaxy who won the game.
The next activity was the Magic Performance by Kuya Kobe. He introduced cool tricks like using doves and a small container where wine bottles kept coming out. He then taught the kids some tricks as a magician. He explained how ones hands had to be quick when doing a trick. He cracked an egg and explained how to perform the trick of making the egg seem whole again. He said one should do some little tricks on the side as to distract the audience. When he returned the focus back to the cracked egg, it magically became whole again. It was a trick within a trick! Everyone was amazed and watched in delight as we expected Kuya Kobe to just hide the crack at the back instead of making whole again. He did an interactive performance by asking the kids to participate. He called on a kid volunteer, Charles, on the stage as Charles got to perform some tricks with Kuya Kobe. He then hid a cup among two cylinders while switching them around and asking the kids to guess where the cup was. In the end we couldn’t keep up with Kuya Kobe’s excellent magic skills as nobody was able to correctly guess where the cup was.
We then had our Origami Activity where our artist Kuya Robby taught the kids how to make crowns. The volunteers also had fun as they happily bonded with the kids. Kuya Robby just started folding papers into triangles and by putting them together he was able to come up with a crown. Colors can be picked according to the children’s preference. The girls picked colors like pink and orange while the boys picked colors like blue and green. After making the crown the kids cut red and yellow cardboard papers that was to be the jewels of the crown. The kids had fun and wore their crowns after they finished.
We then had our early lunch while Kuya Ernest and his friends gave out school supplies to the kids. As we wished Kuya Ernest a happy birthday, he had a simple message to the kids, that he will see them again next year. We ended the day by taking some photos as a way to remember this meaningful day.
More than 50 volunteers collected money from SAFC supporters at the Stadium of Light game against Manchester City earlier this month.
A total of £1,589 was raised for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)’s services on Wearside.
Volunteers came from pump manufacturer Grundfos, who have a large site in Castletown, and Newcastle University’s Rag Society.
Catherine Attwell, HR director at Grundfos, said: “We’ve raised thousands of pounds over recent months for the NSPCC and members of staff were happy to volunteer to collect money for the charity at the stadium.
Nihad Cehic, community fundraising manager for the NSPCC, said: “We simply could not have done this collection without the support shown to us from the staff at Grundfos Manufacturing and the volunteers from Newcastle University RAG Society.
“I have always found Sunderland fans to be incredibly generous people and I am delighted by how much we have raised for the NSPCC’s services through this collection.
“I was amazed by the army of volunteers that they were able to provide and their enthusiasm despite the cold and windy conditions. They were incredible.”
The money raised will help fund the NSPCC’s Schools Service in Sunderland, which has already helped more than 8,200 children in the city to understand abuse and how to stay safe.
The charity aims to deliver the service in all schools across the North East every two years.
In these busy times, one would expect young professionals to have schedules loaded with work-related events, most often extending to their weekends. Others would choose to unwind with friends, and opt for special occasions to be celebrated in restaurants, bars, and the like. That was why we were happy to coordinate with Ate Sanj, who took the time to organize her birthday celebration in the form of a U! Happy Event with Virlanie Foundation.
25 kids from Virlanie’s Tanglaw Home were awaiting ate Sanj, her friends, and a handful of our U! Happy volunteers last Sunday, for a fun celebration filled with dancing. To begin the event, kuya Harvard asked the volunteers to introduce themselves in front, with the added twist of dancing during their turn to speak. The kids immediately became comfortable with the ates and kuyas as they all laughed at the silliness of the moves! We then assigned all present into four groups, and tasked them to get to know each other better. As we waited for ate Sanj’s other friends to arrive, we also served Jollibee to the kids while the groups got acquainted.
Next up was a special version of Stop Dance, which involved assigning numbers to each person in the group and stopping the dancing once the number is called. It was an energetic game with everyone giddy and restless at the thought of wanting to win! We then reached the part of the day for the dance workshop, which I was privileged to lead. I started with the customary warm-up, to prepare our bodies for the movements we will be doing. After warm-up we then proceeded with learning the choreography. That day I taught them steps to the song “Bubblegum” by Jason Derulo. To spark the children’s creativity, there was a part in the dance that I left open for them to do their own steps, which we call freestyle. After teaching, I asked everyone to practice by group as it was time for them to perform. It was so much fun seeing everyone learn the steps and do their own moves for freestyle! In the end we announced the best group, but all groups did an amazing job!
Before we capped off the program, ate Sanj went to each kid to give her personal gift bags, plus a set of school supplies. The kids’ smiles were more than enough for ate Sanj to feel how grateful they were that she chose to celebrate with them. We then did a group photo, and greeted ate Sanj a happy birthday! We ended the day with everyone hugging each other goodbye, and we are sure ate Sanj and her friends felt blessed that day as they chose to be a blessing to the children.
Lawyers for Citizens UK identify 50 ‘live’ cases where children have relatives in Britain – and are working through 300 further cases
Refugee charities say they have identified at least 50 mostly unaccompanied child refugees living in the “Jungle” camp in Calais who have a legal right to live in the UK.
Citizens UK, the group behind the landmark legal challenge that resulted in four Syrian refugees entering the UK from the French camp last month, said it plans to bring scores more cases to court. Lawyers for the charity have identified 50 “live” cases where children have relatives in the UK, and are working through a list of a further 300 cases of mostly unaccompanied children, it said.
But the charity warned that the expulsion order issued by authorities in the French port, which was put on hold temporarily pending a judge’s visit to the camp on Tuesday morning, had already created anxieties among children living there and could put them in danger.
Iona Lawrence, of Citizens UK, said: “We have 50 live cases that would fit with the criteria of Dublin. They are predominately minors but some, including one spousal reunion case, are adults.”
Under European rules, known as the Dublin regulation, asylum seekers must make an initial claim in the first country they reach but can have their application examined in another if they have relatives living there.
The immigration tribunal ruling in January involving four Syrians set a limited precedent for other vulnerable asylum seekers to travel to Britain. However, the judges said conditions would be met in only rare cases.
The Syrians immediately travelled to Britain to join their relatives while their asylum claims were processed, following the case. The Syrians were judged to be unique on several factors, including their ages, their vulnerability, their psychologically traumatised condition and the “acute and ever present dangers to which they are exposed in the jungle”. It is not clear how much weight was attributed by the judges to conditions in the camp and whether refugees living elsewhere may be considered similarly vulnerable.
The 50 live cases include unaccompanied children from Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan and Eritrea.
Lawrence said lawyers for the charity were working “day and night” to build cases, but the threat of eviction would make their job more difficult, as it would scatter the children across France and make absconding a possibility, she said.
“What the French authorities are proposing is for people to go to accommodation centres, but they are spread all over France and they cannot choose where they go,” said Lawrence. “You might suppose if they are in a warm comfortable accommodation centre they might be safe, but these people are incredibly desperate to be with their families in the UK.
“I know tonight that almost every single one of these these 50 cases will go scurrying along to Calais to try to get on a train or a truck or to work with traffickers. The eviction has increased their anxiety, even if the legal option is looking good for them,” she said.
“They might well abscond. The British government has a moral and legal responsibility to take these children.”
Last month, the EU’s criminal intelligence agency, Interpol, said 10,000 unaccompanied child refuges had disappeared after arriving in Europe.
Plans to move people to heated shipping containers elsewhere in the camp and in centres around France were announced last month by the French authorities.
But people living there have previously said they would resist the move, insisting they want to stay in the tents and makeshift houses, despite the poor living conditions.
Refugee groups also say that the French authorities have underestimated the numbers living in the southern end of the camp, which they put at 800 to 1,000. However, a census carried out by HelpRefugees estimates that 3,400 live in this part of the camp, including 440 children, 291 of whom are unaccompanied.
It was nice to return to Gentle Hands and see all the kids there. Our first event with them for the year promises to be a fun one as we celebrated Sophia’s 4th birthday. Mommy Marico wanted to have a different birthday celebration for her daughter. She started with having a limited budget but by God’s grace, she was able to provide the needs for the event and was even able to donate to Gentle Hands with the help of her family and friends.
The event kicked off with the kids and volunteers grouped together. It was refreshing to have as many volunteers as kids. They then asked the following questions to get better acquainted – their names, dreams when they grew up (for the kids) and their favorite shapes. We also quizzed the groups after. The groups also came up with their group names: Team Victorious, Team Jack Frost, Team One Direction, Team Adventure Time and Team Aldub. The group names just showed what the kids were fond of.
Two games were in store for the kids. We played “Pass the Charades” first. Everyone lined up per group and they had to act out the item we wanted them to guess. This went on till the end of the line. They had to use purely gestures – no one was allowed to utter any words or sounds. Our category were animals and everyone had a fun time acting out the animals. We had a lot of laughs as animals like a horse became a rabbit or a lion becoming a tiger.
The next game was “Paint Me A Picture” where everyone had to act out a scene and hold their poses until we judged the best one. The group’s creativity did shine through as they thought of creative ways of making the scenes work. We personally enjoyed the “Under the Sea” picture where different sea creatures came alive with the imagination they put in.
As tiring it was for the two games, the main activity of the afternoon was our Art Workshop with Kuya Robby. He taught the kids how to make a “Catch the Fly Frog” which they could play with after. This was an artwork where one makes a frog out of board paper and makes a “fly” attached to a yarn. The toy could be played by shooting the fly onto the frog’s open mouth. The volunteers assisted the kids in making their very own frogs and flies. They had a fun time following the instructions of the Teacher Robby and made their own colors and designs . The kids proudly showed off their works and played with their toys with their Ates and Kuyas.
After all these activities, it was eating time! Everyone was famished and were ready with the yummy food prepared. It is always great to see the kids and the volunteers interact during meal time. You get to hear them recount the afternoon—the games they played, the art workshop and the ‘bonding’ time they spend with each other. The birthday celebrant, Sophia, also gave out the prizes to Team Victorious and Team Adventure Time for winning the two games. The volunteers also helped Sophia distribute loot bags, school supplies and plush toys to the kids courtesy of her Tito Neal .
We called in Sophia after all the festivities and sang her Happy Birthday as she blew the candle from her two birthday cakes. Mommy Marico also expressed her wish for daughter Sophia — for her to grow up to be a good and be God-fearing girl. She also had a message to the kids to always strive to do good with their studies and to never give up on their dreams.
Lastly, a group picture was taken with everyone giving their biggest smiles for a fun afternoon spent with the kids from Gentle Hands. You too can celebrate your birthday with us. Learn more by creating your event with us.
After a break from the holiday season we start the year once again with our first event for 2016. Today was special because I was celebrating my birthday, together with Ate Camille, who made the trip to Mystery Manila possible. As they say about birthdays, “Don’t just count your years, make your years count”. I was privileged to be given the opportunity to spend my birthday with the girls of Holy Family Home Foundation Inc.
Our partnership with Holy Family Home started in April 2013. Located in Pembo, Makati City, it is a non-profit organization managed by the Congregation of the Capuchin Tertiary Sisters. It provides long-term residential care, protection, and rehabilitation for over 30 abandoned, neglected, orphaned, and physically abused girls. This is our 12th event with them to date.
Ate Camille, her friends, and the U! Happy Events core team arrived early and waited eagerly for instructions as for most of us, this was our first time in Mystery Manila.
Mystery Manila is an activity for people who want to try something different and be adventurous. You can choose from several themed mysteries offered in their various locations where you get to solve the mysteries using the clues within a given time period. They opened their newest location at the Century City Mall late last year.
The staff divided us into six groups of six with a mix of volunteers and kids. We did the registration and were given Mystery Manila vests to be worn during the activity. There are several mysteries in this branch. We participated in 4 of the mysteries.
Ate Camille’s team, as well as Ate Rica and Ate Issa’s teams were assigned to the Crime of the Century. Crime of the Century was the hardest of all the challenges as the players had to go around the mall to look for clues to find the hidden bomb planted in the mall and prevent it from exploding. The teams even had to go all the way to the basement where the office was to retrieve one of the clues. They had to ask security guards and information desks for clues that helped them solve the problem. The team had 90 minutes to solve the mystery. We picked the older kids to join this group since it was the most challenging one. Despite the difficult problems Ate Rica’s team was able to complete the mystery under the allotted time! Ate Rica and Ate Monica, with adrenaline rushing, really worked hard to encourage the kids to participate and solve the mystery as quickly as they could. Good job to her team team!
Kuya Richard’s team was assigned to the Pym Particle. In this mystery the players had to solve the puzzles and clues to prevent the Pym Particle from falling into the wrong hands. The players have to figure out answers to science-related questions to be able to unlock all the rooms one by one as the rooms got smaller and smaller. It was a bit challenging as you had to know the answers offhand, otherwise it was hard to figure out the answers. Kuya Richard’s team, unfortunately, wasn’t able to solve the mystery but the team had a great time playing.
Ate Chris’ team was assigned to the Virtual Voyage. Here the players were trapped in a virtual world and they must find a way to escape back to reality or be trapped in limbo forever. The teams were given visuals which had clues on how to solve the mystery. The team was able to solve the mystery under the allotted time!
Ate Amy and I were assigned to the Sinister Sensorium. In this room everyone was held captive and the killer had taken away the senses from each player. It was up to the players to figure out the codes to unlock and free ourselves from capture. Since we had 7 members there were 3 blinds, 2 deafs, and 2 mutes. The 3 blinds were the kids from Holy Family Home. It was funny as the kids kept trying to take of their blind folds and the gamekeeper kept reminding them they were still in the game so they weren’t allowed to take them off. It was a bit of a challenge since with one sense taken away from each player, it was hard to communicate with each other. I was one of the mutes and it was a challenge to say something to the deaf using signals, since they can’t hear, and they had to voice out the message to the blind, who couldn’t see. All of us were chained to the bench so we couldn’t not move around and had to rely heavily on the communication for the first clue. We had so much fun as we tried to figure out the codes of the locks to free ourselves. With the help of the gamekeeper who gave additional clues our team was able to unlock all the members and find the room key under the allotted time! Mystery Solved!
After the fun and exhausting game we had our early lunch. Everyone chatted in excitement as we talked about our rooms and compared it with the others. Groups came out one by one as the completion time varied among the groups. Some were able to finish within a short period of time. Only some teams were able to finish but even if some teams weren’t able to everyone definitely had a great time.
After our early lunch Kuya Harvard and U! Happy Events prepared a birthday cake for Ate Camille and me and the children from Holy Family Home sang us a happy birthday song. We made a wish then blew out our candles. We then gave out gifts to the girls. We gave pillows and toys since the ages varied among the children. We then had our group photo taken and kids hugged and thanked us as they said their goodbyes.
It was a wonderful morning celebrating my birthday with these children, Ate Camille and her friends, and the team of U! Happy Events who worked hard to make this event possible. As they say, “You take away all the other luxuries in life, and if you can make someone smile and laugh, you have given the most special gift: happiness.”
A prize-winning Cypriot model is gracing the catwalk at a fashion show extravaganza held in support of The Rainbow Child Foundation on Saturday evening.
Natalia Mavromoustaki has been modelling for seven years and has appeared in Cosmopolitan and Esquire and won The Face of the Globe in 2016.
Face of The Globe is an international beauty pageant held annually in the UK and Disneyland Paris. The pageant was founded by winner of ‘Best Pageant Director’ and ‘Inspirational Businesswoman of the Year’ Lucie Hide, a former international beauty queen from England.
The main charity that the pageant supports is the Rainbow Child Foundation, which donates 100% of their profits to the people they support and strives to help children all over the world through the building of orphanages, water pumps, sanitation units and more.
“The Rainbow Child Foundation is a charity close to my heart,” Mavromoustaki told the Cyprus Weekly. The beauty queen has a BA in Social Work from the University of Cyprus and is currently volunteering with refugees in Greece. She also does a great deal of charity work in Cyprus.
“As a social worker, I have worked with a lot of children from different cultures. The Rainbow Child [supports] exactly this.”
Mavromoustaki is making an appearance in Paphos on Saturday evening at the Royal Heart Charity Fashion Show which is taking place, also in support of the charity, at the glamorous Secret Valley Golf Club.
Mavromoustaki has strong views on the fashion industry in Cyprus, saying that aspiring designers and models need to go abroad in order to further their careers.
“Hardly any young people make a career in modelling here and salaries are low. I think this is a real shame because there are some very good fashion designers in Cyprus, and models that really deserve the recognition.”
Her advice to those wanting to enter modelling is to find a good school with experienced teachers who are well-connected in the industry.
“Follow online tutorials, practise poses and walks in front of the mirror and get a good photo shoot done for a portfolio that shows a lot of variety in poses and expressions.”
She also stresses the need to keep fit but not overdo it.
“Not everyone will make it, though,” she says. “Not everyone was born for modelling. Everyone has a different talent and we’re all special in different ways.”
In addition to the appearance of Mavromoustaki at the Royal Heart Fashion Show there will be a cocktail party and live music to complement the professional fashion show.
After the event, Mavromoustaki’s next stop is Paris where, in April, she will present her Face of the Globe crown in front of other models and supporters of the charity.
After this, she will return to Cyprus to pursue her career as a social worker.
“I’ll try and make the most of the time ahead as it will pass very quickly, and then after that I would like to get into social work, hopefully in Cyprus.”
The Royal Heart Charity Fashion Show is at the Secret Valley Golf Club on February 20 at 7pm. Last-minute tickets are €20.
The spirit of generosity doesn’t stop until Christmas. The day after that most-awaited celebration, Ate Shen Acosta together with her family went to IT Tender Ministry in Muntinlupa to have a thanksgiving celebration.
This was our second event in IT Tender Ministry, a non-profit organization in South that aims to empower children to become educated and responsible leaders in their community.
We were welcomed by Kuya Gabriel Malquisto, one of those who manages the center and who also teaches bible stories to the children. He shared to us heartwarming stories about the center and how God blessed that place through donations and volunteers. There were 25 kids and 12 volunteers who participated in the event and were divided into 4 groups.
After the usual getting to know stage, U! Happy current treasurer, Ate Amy proceeded with the bato bato pick game wherein each player will compete with each other per team. The winner will then compete to other groups and finally to Ate Amy. Nobody won though in this game. Ate Amy is such a good player in this game. Afterward, we had a cheese ring relay. Everybody had a great time and finally a group winner was awarded who were able to transfer 4 rings.
Then it was time for the magic workshop. The kids got excited including the other volunteers such as Ate Shen. The workshop was nicely executed and the kids seemed very intrigued and they no longer want to just watch, they also want to perform the magic. Good thing the magician allowed them to touch some of his precious magical things. The fun didn’t stop there as another workshop awaits them- balloon twisting workshop. Everyone had a fantastic time learning in this workshop. As a matter of fact, this workshop made the event memorable as each one took home an animal balloon.
We had a sumptuous lunch right after and photo op with ate Shen and his family. They also distributed story books which is very useful in filling knowledge and practice of imagination. Thank you Ate Shen for such another memorable day with U! Happy and with the kids of IT Tender Ministry. We hope this event will pave way for more volunteer work and build more happy memories with less fortunate children.