Salamat, Teacher Julia!

By: Geneviève Bisson

“Julia, how would you like to be a teacher for the Pandoo Foundation?”

I can still remember Julia’s big smile, tears in her eyes, as she thanked me for this opportunity I just offered her. She was so overjoyed and her reaction moved me.

Isn’t it so exciting to land your first job?

She was so eager to start teaching and every day it’s that passion for education, to serve, to bring smiles to kids faces and knowledge to shape their minds that makes her such an asset to our team. She came in with an open mind and continuously improved. 

It’s always a joy seeing Julia in action because when she is in front of a classroom you truly witness someone in her element, someone who has found her calling. All little eyes glued on her impatiently waiting for the next words she will say, she always finds a way to engage everyone. Nobody can resist that contagious laughter and genuinely kind-hearted Julia.

It’s been an incredible journey, filled with memories, friendships and growth. Her presence has made the team, the kids and my life so much richer. 

So now, it’s our turn to have tears in our eyes and thank her for the opportunity to work and serve alongside her. We will miss her but we know that her path will continue to brighten up kids' lives and the lessons she has learned will continue to shape the minds and hearts of so many deserving kids.

Best of luck, Teacher Julia. Please know that you will always have a place in the Pandoo family.

The Big-Hearted Ones

By: Ahmela L. Cabulao

Are you one of those big-hearted people willing to share what they know?

At the Pandoo Club, teachers like me feel wonderful when we see the Pandoo kids step up. We continue to guide them as they help us facilitate an activity. It is amazing to see how big the impact is when you help empower and engage them. It is also an amazing feeling to see them very eager and interested to help out and guide smaller kids.

Seeing kids helping other kids reminds me of family. At the Pandoo Club, we treat each other as family members. Family members help each other, hand in hand. Helping makes us grow as one Pandoo Foundation.

At the Pandoo Club, we call the smaller kids, ages 5 to 11, Explorers and the bigger kids, ages 12 to 15, Adventurers.

There are different ways to engage the kids. We have activities such as games, sports, storytelling, music, arts and crafts, among others.

A few weeks ago, we had a movie marathon which we fondly call movie-thon. In a movie-thon, the kids watch educational videos and movies that have moral lessons. At the end of the movie, the kids are asked questions that touch on comprehension, opinion, and imagination. Regardless of their age, the kids are very attentive watching the videos. Sometimes they sing along to familiar songs.

To apply several 21st century skills, we have adapted activities to develop the Adventurers’ leadership skills. At the end of every movie-thon, we ask them to help facilitate the activity related to the movie. We are glad that they say “yes” without any hesitation.

Since there are a few out of school kids that come to the center, we make sure that the activities are well-leveled. So, for this particular activity, we had asked the Adventurers to lead an activity entitled Bring Me the Letter, which is an activity on phonics. Aside from this, the Adventurers also helped the Explorers with a matching type activity.

Through the session, I have observed that the Adventurers had fun. I can see happiness spark in their eyes. I can also see that they all love to teach.

Using the 21st century learning skills and incorporating these into lessons can create an alive atmosphere. The kids are enthusiastic to learn more and it also helps build their confidence.

Seeing the Adventurers grow and seeing them step out from their shells makes me feel overjoyed. It is evident that they have big hearts to help others especially to those who are out of school. When they show their ability to share their knowledge, as their teacher, I cannot help but be proud.

For sure, our kids are big-hearted ones.

The SM Seaside Skating Experience

By: Lisa Stevens

The Pandoo Sports & Leadership Program involve delivering life-lessons in teamwork, leadership, communication and positivity using organized sports as a vehicle. Sports already utilized for this purpose include both volleyball for girls and street hockey for boys.

Daphne Baccus, a teacher at Casa Miani Home for Boys, recounts the experience of the Pandoo Sports & Leadership Program where 25 boys aged from 5 – 18 years were engaged in a regular street hockey training program, culminating with two trips to an ice skating rink (ISR-SM Seaside Cebu) to adapt their new skills in an ice hockey setting. The behavior and change she observed in these awesome kids show just how powerful sports can be to teach lessons that last a lifetime!

“Last May, I told the Casa Miani boys of the Hockey Program in coordination with Pandoo Foundation.  They were so excited to hear that especially when I told them that we are going to learn how to play hockey and go to SM Seaside to learn how to skate, they even asked me about it for several days.  They shared their eagerness to me by sharing that they watched a movie about hockey and some of them were pretending to skate along the hallway.

As the program started, I can see the enthusiasm and excitement in their eyes, when they were holding on to the hockey sticks.  They observed and absorbed everything that Coach Lisa and Coach Adam taught them and they learned quite fast. At the end of the session, they always ask me, “When are we going to SM Seaside?” and I answer them, “Soon, because you are still learning the basics”, and they answered back, “But we know that already”, I chuckled and told them to wait for that day.

Several days later, the day of the ice skating to SM Seaside arrived.  That was a school day and they immediately got ready as soon as they arrived in the center.  There I saw how anxious they are and they can’t wait to be on the ice and skate.   When they arrived in the skating rink, I saw some boys trying their best to skate in the middle of the ice, while others were holding on to the sides.  It was their first time on the ice and yet they enjoyed their time so much that even with scratches on their legs because of their falls it didn’t bother them at all. That was then that I saw in them the perseverance and the willingness to go on no matter what the challenge was.

The SM Seaside skating experience remained with the boys as they went back to the center. The fun, the skills taught and the knowledge shared was imprinted in their minds and they kept on talking about it.  I was so happy to see the thrill in them and that motivation continued until the program went on.  My hope is that through this experience they will carry on the values instilled in them and that attitude of ‘never say die’ will be their mantra for life. The program surely left a big impact to the Casa Miani boys and will carry on a mark on their lives.”

We Find Love Right Where We Are

By: Maymay Balatayo

The love month is finally here! And with all that is happening in our country and in the world, we need a good reminding of what love is, what love feels like, what love looks like. And what better way to be reminded but back to where we first learned to love and to feel loved: in our homes, in our families.

This year, one of Pandoo Foundation’s primary missions is to connect and get to know the communities where our kids live, together with their families. We believe that we can better engage and empower our kids, their dreams and their life journey if we know where they come from and get to know the people that raised them. So for this year’s Valentine’s campaign, we decided to put all of that in one event: our Family is Love Campaign.

  Photo gallery, freedom wall and book browsing while the families wait for the make up station

Photo gallery, freedom wall and book browsing while the families wait for the make up station

On February 11, 2017, as a pre-Valentine’s Day celebration, we spent half a day in Barangay Luz Hall, Cebu City. The main highlight of the event was taking photos of the families. It was a fun and creative way for us to get to know them and for them to get to know us and our programs. We had love-filled activities lined up for them: roulette, book browsing, love-is freedom wall, photo gallery, team building activities, and even live music to serenade our special guests.

  Teambuilding games with Ate Lisa.

Teambuilding games with Ate Lisa.

  The mothers were given roses in the registration booth. They then proceed to the roulette.   It was an afternoon filled with hugs and music!

The mothers were given roses in the registration booth. They then proceed to the roulette. It was an afternoon filled with hugs and music!

My favorite part was the Make Up Station and the Photobooth Station. The Nanays were hesitant and shy at first whenever we asked them to be made up for the photos. When our teachers and volunteers turned hair-and-make-up artists worked their magic with lots of encouragement, the Nanays (Mothers) started to feel comfortable even with all the eyes looking at them. Even giggling and smiling when another Nanay or the kids told them, “Uy, kagwapa na uy!” It was different for the little girls and the little boys. For the girls, we were just supposed to put powder on their faces and fix their hair, but they wanted to have their share of rosy cheeks and red lips as well. So yes, we submitted to our princesses’ special requests. The boys loved their hair touched and fixed with gel by the Ates and Teachers. The Make Up station was just exuding with pure joy and genuine love! And when it’s their turn to have their photos taken, they all feel confident and beautiful, glowing and smiling. We can’t help but share in their joy and pride. It was a touching sight to witness the volunteers, the staff, the parents and the kids compliment each other on how “gwapa” and “gwapo” they looked. Everyone was so kind toward each other.

  The make up station filled with smiles and kind words.

The make up station filled with smiles and kind words.

As a team, we had a few glitches here and there, and things we wish we could’ve done better. But that’s what makes firsts special (this was our first Family Campaign). We learned a lot from them and it’s harder to forget. Overall, it was great to be able to work and learn alongside each other as one team, as one Pandoo Foundation family.

At 3 PM on February 15, a few days later after the event, we distributed the photos at the Barangay Hall. A timely Valentine’s Day gift for the families. Their cheek-to-cheek smiles and eyes brimming with excitement? Aaahh, just precious. Also, we had sign ups for our different programs in the Pandoo Club: music, arts and crafts, literacy, sports and leadership. We invited the mothers to join us in our upcoming livelihood activities which they eagerly signed up for!

  Photo distribution at Barangay Luz Hall. Everyone was excited to have their physical copy and to see the photos of other families too.

Photo distribution at Barangay Luz Hall. Everyone was excited to have their physical copy and to see the photos of other families too.

  “Family. Where life begins and love never ends.”

“Family. Where life begins and love never ends.”

These photos will now hang on the walls of the homes of these 48 families who joined us last Saturday. They’ll get to see it everyday and they’ll smile looking at it, hopefully. Photos that represents a happy memory of a very special day for them and most especially for us. These photos will be our constant reminder in our lives that there is hope. Because we choose to see the good and the beauty through the struggles and imperfections. We can create a kinder, safer and a better world for our kids, together. If we constantly choose to love, we will always find love right where we are.


Building Curriculum, Building Communities

By: Julia Rose Umbay

Planning is essential for the achievement of any goal. Pandoo Foundation’s goal is to engage and empower kids and their community. During our 6-Day Learning Exchange in January 2017, some topics discussed were building relationships with the communities we cater to, speaking the same language [jargon], and teaching 21st century skills.

The Pandoo team is currently building the curriculum for our programs. Just like constructing a building, writing lessons requires a lot of time. We need to consider the building blocks of a lesson plan like the objectives, the hook, activities, and the effectiveness of the lesson. We also need to think about the children’s interests. I must admit that it really has been quite challenging for me and my co-educators. We are working together to overcome our difficulties by looking at online resources, sharing ideas, and doing peer review.

I read an article called “10 Steps to Better Lesson Plans” and it states that: “Students learn by making connections and exploring.” And I agree. That’s what we keep in mind when writing lesson plans. I think that what makes teachers effective is the way they deliver their lessons. We think of how to make these connections and how to engage students in the activities.

As I make our lesson plans, I try to make them engaging through various ways. For the Literacy Program, we often use storytelling to hook in the students and to help them make connections. But I also think about my students’ learning styles and interests because I think that a teacher’s purpose is not to dictate how students grow, but to guide students to reach their full potential.

In Pandoo Foundation’s new chapter this year, we will build curriculum and build a relationship with the communities. We, the Pandoo team, can build this together for the kids and for the communities.