Thursday, January 9, 2020

To teach and to lead: furthering literacy and education in the 9th JFVA

Eager kids excitedly participate in a reading session organized by the Bufi family as part of The Storytelling Project that aims to spark hope and inspiration through books, reading, and writing.

“Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope,” thus articulated Kofi Annan, the late United Nations Secretary-General. This profound message could very well have been said in the recent Jollibee Family Values Awards (JFVA), now on its 9th year, as four Filipino families who selflessly advocate for literacy, the value of reading and education were among those deservingly honored: the Bacudios of Malate, Manila; the Bufis of Taguig City; the Mansings of Negros Oriental; and the Manuels of Cagayan Province.

It could be said that the sharing of knowledge and education was the order of the evening, as the inspiring stories of hope that emanated from these families touched the hearts not only of the JFVA Board of Judges but everyone involved and present during the awards night.

Kids of varying ages, together with members of the Bacudio family, experience the joy of reading at the Dagdag Dunong Learning Center.

The Dagdag Dunong Project of the Bacudio family came into fruition in 2016. Through this, the family’s garage took the form of a neighborhood library and reading room for children. The facility, now known as the Dagdag Dunong Learning Center, proudly contains over 2000 books ranging from children’s titles, encyclopedias, reference materials, religion, and history. They have ventured beyond Metro Manila, providing libraries and other material donations to communities in Mindoro, specifically to the Mangyan Tribe. They have also provided free educational trips to museums, zoos, and parks. Currently, the family has started building its second learning center, in Baco, Mindoro.

Similarly, Rey and Grace Bufi have taken upon themselves the challenge of harnessing storytelling to spark hope and inspiration in the face of challenges, while giving kids enjoyable experiences through books. Thus, The Storytelling Project (TSP) was born. One of the key components of this project is the 3-phase core program, where children are taught to develop reading habits. Incorporated in the program is Little Helpers, an activity which trains Grade 4-6 students to become their own storytellers and writers. A proud product of this initiative is “Super Labandera,” the first book written by TSP participant Jim Carolino.

San Miguel Elementary School students enjoy reading their chosen books at the school outreach organized by The Mansing Family.

Over at Negros Oriental, the Mansing family has been actively engaged in school outreach programs led by the Book for Kids Project, which was started as a response to DepEd’s Brigada Eskwela. Seeing the positivity of education and its long-term impact, the project is focused on donating children’s books to public schools, especially those located in remote areas around their community. With two disabled family members, the Mansings also provide motivational talks that promote disability awareness and anti-bullying inclusive education.

With a former scholar and teacher as the Manuel family patriarch, it’s not surprising that John Mauro, together with his family, would start I-Saved (Saving Vulnerable, Education and Dreams), which helps kids from the Aeta community and ‘severely wasted students’ by providing meaningful literacy and tutorial programs. They’ve also spearheaded feeding programs that seek to address the problem of hunger, while mounting seminars on proper hygiene—initiatives that help children perform better in school. Already, I-Saved has helped 320 student beneficiaries from the AETA Community and severely wasted students from five chosen schools in Cagayan.

Addressing the needs of the youth is one of the advocacies of the Manuel family, which serves as a motivation behind their I-SAVED Programs.

Indeed, the advocacies, initiatives, and stories of the Bacudio, Bufi, Mansing, and Manuel families serve as true inspirations, as they embody the spirit that has driven the Jollibee Family Values Awards (JVFA)—honoring those who exemplify positive Filipino family values such as generosity and compassion—proving to all that literacy can indeed be a powerful bridge from misery to hope.

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