“Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinang-galingan ay hindi makararating sa paroroonan.” – Dr. Jose Rizal, Philippine National Hero
(He who does not know how to look back at where he came from cannot reach his destination.)
I’m grateful to be part of the volunteer team for the birthday celebration of my friend, Sheila Tracey and her brainchild, Paper & Pen’s 7th Year charity outreach, held at Radial Road 10, Brgy. 105, Tondo, Manila earlier.
In hindsight, it made me realize that the hardships I experienced as a child due to the lack of many things was actually nothing compared to the abject poverty that I saw in the innocent faces masked with angelic smiles of around 300 children we served earlier.
For three hours, we served them breakfast, distributed some school supplies, and most especially, undivided time and care that they may seldom experience in their community because their parents are busy collecting trash (or other correlated jobs) just to earn a living.
This life-changing visit to their muddy, stinky, noisy (no offense meant, just stating facts) and mostly needy but “happy community” made me write this with anguish – because we all tend to forget to be thankful for our daily blessings, no matter how small they are, most of which we could actually afford to share with these less privileged kids.
This charity event was spearheaded by Mrs. Sheila Tracey, organized by Project P.E.A.R.L.S. (Peace, Education, Aspiration, Respect, Love, Smiles) and made possible by the love and generosity of Shiela’s family (Mae De Leon, Marktanious de Leon), volunteer friends, and awesome colleagues at Alaska Airlines and Horizons Air.
Special thanks to Trevor & Bri Bulger, Brandon Openshaw who flew with Sheila from the U.S. to the Philippines just to be part of this celebration/mission.
Visit their website and support Project PEARLS at www.projectpearls.org.