A group photo of the kids, their parents, the Sleigh 2018 Team, and Jollibee

by Paul Carreon

Volunteers for the SLEIGH Project of Universitas Foundation Inc. threw a small Christmas Party for the children from 40 different families in Rosario, Cavite last 16th of December 2018.

Answering the call of the SLEIGH Project to ‘share love to every indigent through gifts and happenings’, the team prepared to organize a short and small, but intimate Christmas Party for the kids of San Isidro de Labrador, Ligtong I, Rosario, Cavite. Through the generosity of the donors of Universitas, gifts placed in backpacks bearing designs inspired by the Adventure Time Character “Jake” were packed.

The team met at the Universitas Office in Ortigas at around 4:30 AM on the said date. Arriving at 6 in the morning at the Parish, the team attended the mass with the citizens of San Isidro, Labrador.

Immediately after the mass, a small venue was set for the kids in the Parish. Universitas CEO & President Atty. Oliver Tuazon led the talk with the parents while Project Manager William Galvez led the talk with the kids to mark the start of the program.

Johemie, one of the volunteers, started the party by calling on the kids for some parlor games. Singing, dancing, chanting, and laughing, the kids actively participated. The fun came to its climax when Jollibee entered the venue. The kid-party idol completed the fun for the kids with a dance performance.

Smiles were drawn in the faces of the kids by the arrival of the bee mascot, whom they hugged, pinched and danced with. One of the kids was amazed as he repeatedly told the volunteers, ‘totoo pala si Jollibee’.

After Jollibee’s entrance with a dance, the team distributed the gifts for the kids and the Noche Buena package for the families. Lunch was also served by the Jollibee crew.

Members of the Sleigh 2018 Team pose with the kids along with Jollibee

“Every single second is priceless… that was legit fun”, one of the volunteers said after the experience. “We were able to be with kids to see their priceless smiles just by giving them few hours chatting and laughing with them… I want to be back there again.”

“It was a simple yet thoughtful lesson for us volunteers to see how extending your life to these people in your most thoughtful way matters… that [your] simply being there on that day brightens their faces, [it was] very touching.”, another volunteer added.

After the party, the team was able to make a courtesy visit to Bishop Reynaldo Evangelista. Known for his love for the poor, the Bishop was happy to see the team and to he hear the stories about the party from the volunteers.

Atty. Oliver Tuazon gathered the team after lunch. He called the project a success as he thanked everyone who came. He reminded the team that the aim of the project was for the volunteers, who are ‘leaders being formed’, to experience first-hand the condition of our poor neighbours, and reflect on these moments with compassion. This experience may guide them to craft initiatives and programs that will uplift the conditions of our neighbors when they (the volunteers) are already occupying high positions in society.

The Sleigh 2018 Team with Bishop Reynaldo Evangelista

NOTA BENE: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and the speakers mentioned in the article, and not necessarily to the Foundation.

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