10 Ways to Make A Child’s Life Better
1. Take the first step with them.
It’s ironic that in Daang Hari, literally meaning King’s Way, there is a group of underprivileged children who regularly trains for running. Barefoot. Senator Pia Cayetano has endearingly touted them the Barefoot Running Kids. These children run every step in slippers or without any footwear at all. Gabriel’s Symphony Foundation and New Balance have been working together for two years to give shoes to these kids. Carlos de Guzman of swimbikerun.ph joined the effort last year to organize an even bigger shoe drive to place shoes on these children’s feet.
2. Widen their horizons.
The Barefoot Running Kids are certainly an inspired and inspiring group of young children. In line with its advocacy for education, Gabriel’s Symphony Foundation’s summer program put together a series of fun-filled activities for them. That included a whole lot of running clinics, as well as swimming, reading programs, and lessons in art and arnis. The efforts to expose them to different things, develop them physically and mentally, and also serve to instil good values in these children. In our pursuit of holistic education, values formation is central in honing kids into well-rounded individuals.
3. Give them balls.
Soccer balls, that is. Green Archers United Team Captain Pat Bocobo and the Younghusband Football Academy teamed up with Pinay in Action to let the Barefoot Running Kids learn and play football with the pros. They also got the chance to play ball on Turf BGC, a FIFA-standard community football field in the heart of Bonifacio Global City. It wasn’t just a fantasy athletic experience; it’s a reminder for them to seize the best of the world, and more importantly, that they deserve it.
4. Let them explore the world.
And the world can be as alive as a human brain, as intricate as an atom, or as vast as outer space. That’s what the Barefoot Running Kids discovered when they were taken to the Mind Museum for Gabriel’s Symphony Foundation’s summer program. The more that children learn about the world, the better armed they are to make it better.
5. Help them see the world.
The future isn’t something you see, it’s something you look forward to. That’s what Gabriel’s Symphony Foundation, in partnership with Parent Advocates for Visually Impaired Children (PAVIC), wishes to impart with kids who are blind or have low vision. They are beneficiaries of artificial eyes, walking sticks, talking watches, and Braille books that are crucial in their day to day lives. With the Sports Olympics, they are also treated to opportunities of fun learning activities that any-abled child can enjoy, such as swimming, chess, running, and even ping-pong!
6. Give them a second chance.
And a third, and fourth, as many as it takes. Give them a chance to experience a kind world, instead of a cruel one. The Marillac kids are girls who are in conflict with the law, or girls who have been abandoned or have become victims of abuse. Every week, Gabriel’s Symphony Foundation gathers them up to treat them to a movie night, complete with the requisite movie snacks. Other times, they’re provided with recreational activities like swimming or art lessons. The girls are also given livelihood opportunities like selling their own baked goods. For the girls of Marillac Hills, each week is a chance to restore their faith, to recover what has been taken away from them: the chance to be children.
7. Teach them to fight their fears.
Over the years, the Marillac and Barefoot Running Kids have been given a boost of confidence through lessons in self-defense and martial arts. We have been blessed with selfless volunteers the likes of Martin Boassean, Rico Santiago, and Robert Green, who have made such lessons more than just fun physical activities. It emboldens these children to be courageous, face their fears, and take a stand.
8. Open their minds.
Take advantage of a child’s bright eyes and unquenchable curiosity. Open their minds at a young age. Senator Pia S. Cayetano encourages mothers to become the first teachers of their children. Through the Let’s Read literacy program, she leads the effort to teach moms from poor communities to read to their kids prior to formal schooling, thus instilling in them the value of reading and education. Kids can learn at a tender age that the next adventure is just a story away.
9. Feed their imagination.
The world is every child’s playground. Under the blanket is a secret cave, rocks are mountains to climb, puddles are vast rivers to cross. Books create endless playgrounds in a child’s mind. Unfortunately, a lot of kids from far-flung or disaster-ridden places don’t have access to books. As part of Gabriel’s Symphony Foundation’s advocacy of education for young children, Senator Pia S. Cayetano hikes up and bikes through mountains and other remote areas such as Benguet with books in her backpack. She distributes these books to children from local communities. When Cagayan de Oro was struck by Typhoon Sendong, Senator Cayetano also held reading sessions with the kids in evacuation centers. By reaching out to them, we build up the strongest armour a child can have: imagination.
10. Make them smile brighter.
Did you know that studies suggest that people who smile more may live longer? For children who have cleft lip or palate, giving them brighter smiles touches and changes their lives forever. This makes a world of a difference in these children’s lives. Gabriel’s Symphony Foundation finances cleft lip and palate operations, and through a partnership with Smile Train, this effort has already reached children and teens from the province of Aurora. How’s that for making child’s life better?
This year, Gabriel’s Symphony celebrates 10 years of making children’s lives better. Join us in making our 10th year the biggest one yet. Your gesture of help will surely make a difference in a child’s life.