Paying It Forward @ 24

Last year I wrote Detour 2013 about settling down in Manila and trying out a different field. It’s been INCREDIBLE since! I’ve learned so much and I’m having so much fun working with incredibly talented children. I was only supposed to stay 8 months but in May I finally decided to sign on for another year and now I’m hoping I do well enough to be offered more years of doing something I absolutely love and find fulfilment in.

I’m turning 24 on Tuesday, October 7th and I was planning to put this up a month ahead but there was so much to do, then I blinked, and time had run out so realizing how much time had passed without me even noticing makes this feel even more relevant to do because it’s proof that life’s short and it can pass us by if we don’t put our hearts into living it properly.

I’m not having a party and I don’t want anything for myself but I do want to pay all these amazing opportunities that have come my way forward!

It’s been a little over a year since I kicked back into Alabang and settled into at full-time job in DLSZ. All this time has made me miss the life I had become so used to, travelling to far-flung barangays in Mindanao in support of literacy, education and nutrition programs for the youth.

The last time I stepped foot in Davao Oriental was July 2013 and considering I used to fly out to Davao to take that long drive twice or thrice a year after we began supporting the Mariano Calungsod Regis Elementary School in 2010, it’s really been too long. I’ve been so tied up with my responsibilities in Manila that even when I wanted to go out and touch base, I just didn’t have enough time on my hands and I want to change that because I know that if I stop looking for time and just make time, I can help get them the support that they need and I know I have friends and family who are incredible enough to help me make this happen. In the past years, in response to our pleas for support we were able to make them a library, we started a feeding program, funded their sports programs, brought in computers and we made those kids smile so I know you won’t let me down this time.

This year, I want to go back and though their situation isn’t as dire as when we first visited, there’s still so much work we can do to improve the quality of education these kids are receiving, and to eliminate factors that hinder class attendance.

At the end of the month I have a few days off from work for the Halloween break and I’m looking forward to spending time back in Davao Oriental. I want to fund another year’s worth of supplies for their feeding program and bring in whatever I can to further improve the situation so I am going to ask YOU, my dear family and friends, for your support because I know you’re all incredibly amazing people.

Here are a few ways you can help:

(1) Support the feeding program, FOOD FOR THOUGHT. I’m waiting for updated statistics from our friends in MCRES (it takes some time to communicate with them because cellular signal is very weak up in the Barangay) but two years ago, we found that 35 out of 349 students were malnourished. They were fed hot meals for lunches costing 10php everyday and we were able to sustain that for 6 months with donations from family and friends.

I estimate that at 10php/day, 5 days a week for the last 6 months of the school year it will cost 1200php per malnourished or indigent child.

(2) Donate sports equipment that the kids can make use of during Physical Education classes and free time. In 2012, we brought footballs, not long after they formed teams and a year later they were competing with teams from neighboring provinces with the support of the government.

(3) Donate educational materials, school supplies and books that can go into the library that we set up a few years back. The kids would love to read new stories! The teachers would love boxes of chalk and other consumable supplies that they usually personally spend for when the school budget can’t quite cover everything.

(4) Tell your friends and family about this and help me make another dream come true!

(5) Volunteer to share your skills with the community. I can assure you that you’ll fall in love with the community, I know I did. I’m not sure we can bring volunteers out there this month but we can start planning and set time tables for programs.

–Or tell me your bright ideas and let’s figure something out.

I already have a duffle bag I’m filling up with supplies and happy things so if you have anything you want to share or want to make donations, you can e-mail me at paudelange@gmail.com or contact me at +639063189713.

You can get more updates by joining my facebook event page here: Pau’s Birthday – Paying It Forward

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