Project Volunteer: The Hero in Me with PMAP + CUPA

For my first NSTP Volunteer activity, I decided to ask my friend Carlo if there was anything that I could participate in as his lovely assistant/slave. I met Carlo back in the day when I first moved to Manila; Tita Mardi heads this Japanese exchange student tour every year and Carlo is always the head volunteer so this was when our paths first crossed. Carlo is a “Joy Riser” (that’s his twitter username) by profession. He gives talks and workshops to young teens and adults that teach them to find inspiration, passion, and give meaning to their work and daily lives. So when I asked Carlo if there was anything that I could volunteer for, he invited me to this “gig” that he was going to have the following Thursday. He was to give a talk to the leaders of organizations of the urban poor/informal settlers in Quezon City.

This talk was organized by the Persons Management Association of the Philippines and the Claret Urban Poor Apostolate; PMAP is an associate of Golden ABC so I was really surprised when Carlo told me this. I have to say, I was quite delighted by the fact that of all companies, it was a fashion retail one that I had the privilege to help in their cause. Although my task was just to be Carlo’s assistant, I left feeling alot lighter than when I first arrived.

The talk that Carlo gave was called “The Hero in Me”, he told me that the talk was designed by him and Luigi (brother of Tita Mardi and tito of Sandi my best friend) and that it was intended for kids but is just as applicable to adults. It teaches kids/adults how to become your own personal hero; someone who is strong and can make a difference in the community. Since the participants of the talk were the leaders of the urban poor, the goal was to teach them how to stay positive despite of the poverty and trials that they have to face as the leaders of their respective communities. Carlo stressed on points such as not being gossips and not discouraging yourself from taking risks which I found to be very important lessons to teach.

So now, here are some pictures from the talk as well as the Certificate of Appreciation I got from Father Arnold of CUPA and Ms Anna of PMAP..

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Carlo teaching the participants how to fly :))
Last lesson that Carlo taught: Choose to Believe
Last lesson that Carlo taught: Choose to Believe
Certificate of Appreciation that Carlo and I got from Father Abelario
Certificate of Appreciation that Carlo and I got from Father Abelario

If there’s one thing that I learned from all of this, it was that everyone has a second chance to life. It’s amazing seeing all those people with the willingness to learn and better themselves for their loved ones and neighbors. I was so touched by how participative everyone was and how they received Carlo’s message openly. There were times while Carlo was discussing some points that they resisted feeling that they weren’t capable. But with Carlo’s assurance, he was able to inspire them to become better leaders.

This talk was also actually the very first time that I saw Carlo “in action” and I have to say that I was very impressed. I already knew that Carlo was good at what he does but he totally surpassed my expectations! While I was at the event, I helped out distribute the activity materials and got to talk with some of the participants briefly. They mostly spoke of the hardships of being an urban poor and one of the long term goals that most of them had were to have their own house. Hearing this, I immediately thought of how blessed I am to be in the situation I am in now where I have all the essentials. I realized that this was why PMAP and CUPA were really pushing to help these people; they were ready to take control of their lives and make their future bigger and brighter.

When it was time to return to Manila, Carlo and I were told to keep in touch with Ms Anna, Sir Francis (of Golden ABC) and Father Abelario for any of their upcoming reach-outs or leadership workshops in the future too. We were given certificates and silvanas (lol) from Father Abelario. Carlo was supposed to give another talk to youths the following Saturday but I already had plans so I wasn’t able to go with them. Hopefully it won’t be my last encounter with PMAP.

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