This article is written by Shaniah Jean Balagsa, Chiro SLU Member
“Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.”Ben Carson
In life, genuine happiness, or even success, does not come from owning material luxuries in society. Instead, real happiness can be attained by helping others along the path that forces you to reconsider your own identity. Being able to aid our brethren is a blessing for us young people of the Church because it teaches us how to care for people in need, how to grasp the spirit of humanity, how to share what we have, and how to overcome the individualism that lurks depths within each of us.
As the Christmas season is fastly approaching, the Chiro Youth Movement with 17 members (13 students and four alumni), conducted a Gift Giving and Feeding Program entitled Alikuteg: Sunday Activity for IP Children at Our Lady of the Way, Twin Peaks, Tuba, Benguet last December 4, 2022. With the aim to give importance to feeding the children, a donation drive headed by the Logistics Committee Head, Ms. Shannah Drachir Rull, initiated the activity a week before the outreach program. Various donations such as clothes, candies, school supplies, and even cash were collected from the numerous cheerful givers. At the same time, Chiro members were encouraged to present at least one gender-neutral gift for the kids. The gift wrapping was held last December 2-3 in the same year.
The activity kicked off with a Eucharistic Celebration presided over by Rev. Fr. Rizalino Wales where the SLU Chiro members warmly welcomed Parish Priest and the community. In his homily, Rev. Fr. Wales highlighted the essence of peace as we await the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Afterwards, the children gathered and were energized by a story about the animal kingdom entitled “Let us make friends.” Insightful sharings further followed where certain children reflected that friends come in unique physical features created in His image and likeness; they also added that we should not judge others based on the external aspect. Right after the rationalization, parlor games prepared by the youth were enjoyed by everyone. At noon, those present shared the humble banquet of spaghetti and fried chicken prepared by some parents, Chiro leaders, and members.
The program continued at 1:15 pm with a cheering animation and christmas singing activity made special with some video filming. Games, such as the longest line, were held making everyone feel the holiday cheer. While the other members were preparing the gifts and prizes, Ldr. Elijah Robin Luna, the CCMV Parish Affairs officer, led a game. Prizes to the winners of respective games were awarded, followed by gift giving, where children received school supplies and other necessities. A picture-taking and snack time concluded the activity. The Masters of Ceremony were Shaniah Jean Balagsa and Janice Hadsan. In the end, an evaluation was conducted where Chiro members shared their sentiments, and reflections were collected. “It is so good to look back on our Childhood days,” Lorainne Anne Oya-an.
What matters most is not what we give, how much we provide, or how frequently we give. What matters is that we offer voluntarily. Sincere generosity is giving simply to give, loving merely to love, and uplifting to uplift. It was indeed gratifying that we were able to help the people around us and serve the Lord at the same time in our little ways through the program. Even though it was just for a day, the memories will live on in our hearts. It was not all about the travel, food, or activities we did that made the outreach memorable, but rather the happiness on every child’s face, as well as the spoken words of gratitude. Remembering grins let me understand that the program had been a success and was worthwhile. We are forever grateful for every individual who took part in the success of the Alikuteg: Sunday Activity for IP Children. May all the glory and honor be offered to Him.