For about 19 years now, I have been involved with Reach Youth Ministries, Inc., a Christian NGO (non-government, non-profit organization) whose thrust is to help the poor, particularly street children and children living in depressed communities in many parts of the Philippines. Since college days, I have been volunteering in Reach Youth... I can say I practically grew up and spent almost half of my life there. Through this ministry, I've learned some of life's best lessons one can ever learn, met people who made such a strong impact in my life, experienced the happiness serving brings and gained long-lasting friendships (in fact it's even in Reach Youth where I met my husband, who was also a volunteer then). Volunteers come from different walks of life - students, professionals, mothers, locals, foreigners, etc.
The main reason I joined this organization in the first place was because even at a young age of 16 then, I've always had a heart for the poor. I feel a tug in my heart whenever I see impoverished kids, helpless and almost without hope of having a bright future ahead of them. I have been blessed in many ways, and so I wanted to give back however I can. Like many people, I've always wanted to make a difference somehow, to serve God in my humblest way, to give in the simplest means I can...by giving my time, talent and resources to these needy kids. I joined and became a volunteer teacher, regularly coming every Saturday to communities I was assigned to. I was the teacher then, but I've always felt that I was the one being taught - by life... learning important lessons about love, compassion, humility, contentment, commitment and so much more.
I've grown so much as person from my involvement with Reach Youth, and through the course of my relationship and interaction with the children, the people in their community and my co-workers, my life has been enriched.
All through these 19 years, I was blessed to have been immersed in this life-changing experience. My many years of service in Reach Youth have been some of the best and most memorable years of my life. Although my husband and I no longer actively volunteer and teach since we have left the Philippines in 2005, I'm glad that now we are able help in other ways. But I do miss going to the slum areas to be with my kids every Saturday...
Being a part of the lives of these kids...loving them and being loved by them...actually seeing some of them grow up and make good of their future, the beautiful smiles across their faces, their tender embrace which is their way of saying "thank you".... these... all these is what pure joy means to me.
If you would like to know more about how you can get involved in Reach Youth, wish to donate or help in any way, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit this site:
A small act of kindness can make a huge difference in the lives of these underprivileged children.