It was a rainy Saturday morning last July 17, 2021. I felt nervous yet excited as I was about to join my very first community-service activity as an aspiring Rotaractor of the Rotaract Club of Cebu Fuente-University of San Carlos, together with three other aspirants, Lurysa Ocate Dela Calzada, Cherimae Pino and Anne Nicole Kathryn Baron. I was so excited that I ended up waiting for the other members for two hours!
The project I joined was called Health Check and was conducted in Barangay Taptap, Busay, Cebu City. The medical mission was participated by the Council of Rotaract Clubs in Cebu. Rotaractors came from the clubs of Cebu South, Cebu Fuente-Community Based, Cebu Fuente-University of San Carlos, Cebu Fuente-University of the Visayas, Metro Cebu-Cebu Institute of Technology and Engineering, Mactan-Cebu Institute of Technology, and Cebu North-University of the Philippines Cebu.
My heart jumped gleefully when I saw Gerald Nitz Ponce, the Immediate Past President of RACCF-USC, and JN Vianney Dagandan, Past President of the Rotaract Club of Cebu Fuente-Community Based. They accommodated me and the other aspirants and members as we arrived at the meeting place. While we were heading towards the highlands of Barangay Taptap, we introduced ourselves to the other Rotaractors.
Once we arrived, everyone did their best to be of help. The club members helped each other to prepare the prizes and giveaways for the children. Each club was assigned different tasks. The program was led by Shevee Resolado, the Assistant District Rotaract Representative for Cebu Council, in partnership with ABC President Franklyn Ong. The Rotaract Club of Cebu South, headed by District Rotaract Representative Griffins Malazarte, was the host for the program.
Distinct activities were conducted throughout the program. The first one was a storytelling of the children’s book, “The Turtle’s Shell” by the Rotaract Club of Cebu Fuente-University of San Carlos. I thought it would take a long time to get the children’s attention but they were all ears from the start! They even told us that the moral of the short story was to be kind to others and be proud of our uniqueness. The children were so immersed in the activity that we even ran out of prizes because whenever we asked them questions, they would always get it right which was amusing! The storybook was written by Rtr. Michelle Manlapus and illustrated by Rtr. Edison Amodia. It recently won a diamond award and platinum award for Saving Mothers and Children and Supporting Education, respectively during the DISCON KARADJAW AWARDS 2021.
Next was the Hand-Washing demonstration given by the Rotaract Club of Cebu North-University of the Philippines Cebu. Here the children fixed their gaze and listened attentively to the demonstrators who undeniably exerted much effort to impart appropriate handwashing techniques.
Then, a discussion on Dental Hygiene was given by the Rotaract Club of Cebu Fuente-Community Based. At this point, I found the kids adorable, as well as their parents, because they also followed the lead of Ms. Scarlett Jade Mapa, the demonstrator, while singing the Happy Birthday Song and the theme song of Colgate, “Brush Three Times A Day.” Surprisingly, they knew the song so the demonstration went smoothly!
Lastly, we played ‘Ping Pong Blow’ which made me reminisce a Christmas party experience when I was in kindergarten. As we played the game, some kids were shy while holding their moms tightly, but the majority were loudly cheering on their members as it was a group activity. By looking at everyone, that moment was perfect.
My heart was touched as I saw the sweet smiles and the tantalizing eyes plastered on their faces. The ambiance was bright and soothing. It was a lively afternoon as they participated actively in all our games and question-and-answer portions. Majority of the children were at nursery age so it was inevitable that the room would be in chaos. But hand-in-hand, everyone helped each other. I felt a strong sense of purpose from each Rotaractor—a purpose to help, lead and serve.
And that is how this story ends. My first program with them was more fulfilling than I thought. Now, I look forward to attending more community service activities that give hope and inspiration, not only to others, but also to myself, activities that are true to this year’s Rotary theme — life-changing!