In January 2016, ADB has added a leave day to our benefits, we call it “volunteer day” where a staff can do outreach work on a weekday and file it as an official leave. We can do it individually or as a group with friends or as a department.
In October 2016, the Staff Community Fund (SCF) has tapped the heads of departments to partner with them to do outreach activities as part of the SCF Funds 50 Program. This program will provide P50,000 to the department’s chosen organization to be used in their outreach activities. My boss, Chris, the General Counsel, is one of the recipients of the email from SCF regarding the program. Chris, from my point of view is someone who has such a good and big heart, has grabbed the opportunity to help. He shared the email to me and 2 more staff and asked how can we partake in the program. I learned that OGC has 3 SCF volunteers, Ms. Kori, Ms. Mavic and Val. I rejoined as an SCF volunteer and started meeting with them to plan out our activities. In one of our meetings, we were thinking of what to call our outreach, after some deep but quick thought, we came up with OGC goes O.G.C. (Outreach and Games with Children).
We sent out a few emails to OGC staff and finalized the date and activities of the volunteer day. We informed them that we needed some contribution from them to supplement the funds provided by SCF. We went door to door, knocked on the generous hearts of our friends/colleagues, within a couple of weeks we were able to gather nearly P100,000 worth of cash donations. With this budget, we were able to give loot bags full of school supplies, grocery items to 50 children, we shared snacks and lunch meals with them and we even set up a photobooth to leave them with printed memories of the event.
On 17 March, our group went to Bistekville 4, a socialized housing project of 150 units of affordable housing undertaken in joint venture with Habitat for Humanity in Quezon City. Habitat for Humanity gathered the children for the event. The program commenced with a welcome remarks by Mr. Jess Maglente, the Home Owners Association President, followed by a message from Chris.
Each volunteer randomly picked the name of his/her kid buddy with whom he/she would bond and also mingle with the rest of the group all throughout the event. The whole group was divided into 5 teams: blue, green, orange, white and yellow. We played games under the sun with the children and also did some arts and crafts. Without a doubt, the children had so much fun. But to my surprise, the volunteers, 45 of us, of which more than half were lawyers, have equally enjoyed the activities, if not, I think we had probably enjoyed more than the children. 😉
You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give. ― Kahlil Gibran
An opportunity like this seldom comes especially in a workplace, thanks to ADB, now we can do it regularly with our friends/colleagues. We went there with the intention of generously giving our time, attention and resources, but we all went home with a deep sense of gratitude, feeling that we received more from those children, our hearts were full seeing their bright eyes with happy smiles, and hearing their contagious laughter was music to our ears, every bit of preparation and time spent with them was all well worth it.
Along the way, let’s never forget that once we were children and that we were all playing together without distinction of skin color, society level, or where people come from. Adults need to remember to play and to be more childlike in our behavior. We’ve forgotten what that childlike experience was like. – Guy Laliberte