Monday, January 19, 2009

Children Reaching Out

Children from halfway round the globe reached out to poor Filipino kids with a donation for the procurement of additional school supplies.  The 4-H Club, Maple Shade Chapter, of Holmen, Wisconsin, USA donated US$50 to buy crayons, glue, pen and coloring books to a community-operated day care center for urban poor children.

4-H in the United States is a youth organization administered by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) with the mission of "engaging youth to reach their fullest potential while advancing the field of youth development." The four "H"s stand for Head, Heart, Hands, and Health. The organization serves over 6.5 million members in the United States from ages 5 to 19 in approximately 90,000 clubs.  4-H clubs and related organizations now exist in many other countries as well; the organization and administration varies from country to country.

The goal of 4-H is to develop citizenship, leadership, and life skills of youth through mostly experiential learning programs. Though typically thought of as an agriculturally focused organization as a result of its history, 4-H today focuses on citizenship, healthy living, and science, engineering and technology programs.

The Maple Shade Chapter of 4-H decided to make Busilak Day Care Center in Quezon City one of its beneficiaries after hearing a presentation made by former CERV volunteer Richard Kastenschmidt.

Richard is back for a short time in the Philippines, his third in as many years, to visit his beneficiary schools in Quezon City, Philippines.  As a volunteer in January 2007, Richard built cabinets to house multi-media equipment and installed exhaust fans in two day care centers.

In Christmas 2007, Richard and wife Renee decided to forego giving each other gifts to save up for regular annual donations to CERV programs.  In January 2008, Richard visited the Philippines for the second time to make the donations personally, in addition to buying Busilak Day Care Center’s first desktop computer.

This year, Richard donated a laptop computer to be used as a teaching aid to day care, elementary and high school students in poor communities around Metro Manila.  He also donated a mobile internet device to make it easier for the students to conduct research on the internet for school projects and assignments.  He and Renee also made a “Christmas Gift” donation for the second straight year.

Richard saw and was impressed by the great accomplishments of the community organizations that operate Busilak.  From a door and window-less shed of rough concrete, the center is now housed in a three-storey building.  The first floor serves as the classroom; the second floor shall serve as a library and health clinic; and the third floor shall be a small activity center.  This small building is the same structure painted by Australian engineer Scott Dennis.

Richard is a retired teacher while Renee is still teaching.  Aside from their shared passion for motorcycling, they also share in the deep gratitude of many children beneficiaries in poor communities in the Philippines.

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