Those who attended the Sykes Cares activity last May were invited for a Sykes Gives Back event last Friday, September 14, 2007 held at Fully Booked, Bonifacio Hjgh Street, Global City. The event was an opportunity to meet our beneficiaries and our partners in the Sykes Cares activities. It was attended by the children of Tondo, big bosses of Sykes, representatives of the foundation, the UK ambassador and his wife, some of Sykes Cares volunteers and was hosted by the beautiful Mickey Ferriols. There were messages from Mike H and our partner foundation and we were serenaded by the Ateneo glee club. There were story telling, face painting, and gift giving for the kids. There was also a video presentation about the activities of Sykes Cares. There were those of the Sykes volunteers at work, the library, the computer lab, and the kids in their classes.

The video made me a little emotional for a while because I can relate with them. My schooling has always been a struggle especially in terms of financial resources. There has always been a problem of budget for tuition fees. While other children have new things at the start of the school year, my siblings and I had to make do with recycled school supplies and we just buy those that are missing. I still remember that from Grade Two to Grade Six, I only used 1 ruler. It was a wooden ruler so it doesn’t easily break unless you do it by force. Through the years, that ruler acquired stains, ink marks and water marks whenever it gets wet during the rainy seasons.

But seeing that video and the children last Friday, I realized for the nth time that I was still more privileged during my schooling than other kids. My siblings had sponsors in their elementary years, which was a big help. I was able to acquire a scholarship in high school, which handled half of my tuition. In college, I passed the DOST scholarship program and that took care of my tuition and part of my allowance.

Now, having volunteered for the Sykes Cares last May gave me the opportunity to also give back those blessings I received during my years in school. Attending the event last Friday made me thankful for all those people who really share their life in order to help others. Seeing the children with joy, hope and intelligence in their faces, I offered a little prayer and wish that these little children, being the future leaders of the world, may treasure their blessings and use it to make something out of their lives so that someday, they may also give it back to others.

This was written while passing through the towns of Tarlac and Pampanga on the way back to Manila.