Last Saturday, I had the blessing of being free for the afternoon and luckily, I had the presence of mind to spend it wisely.
I volunteered with U! Happy Events at Shepherd of the Hills Children’s Foundation Inc. – SOTH for short 🙂 SOTH is a childcare organization that shelters children, specifically kids who are abandoned, neglected, and orphaned. They’re a developmental group, so their programs push for growth and healing through learning. It’s really beautiful – the kids are taught to draw, paint, play the guitar, and the violin.
When I walked into their gate, you could already tell that there were artists brooding about 🙂
And it really is their home. I was able to talk to one of the teenagers who lived there. His name was Emil and he was 16 – he and his brother have lived with SOTH for 9 years. I asked who did the paintings, it was another teenager who was sitting right across from us 🙂 Emil didn’t draw – he played the violin, but he liked playing the drums better. It was him who told me it was their home. I asked if they were all friends, magkabarkada. He said sorta, but clarified, it’s more like we’re family.
The activity of the day was a lesson in eating healthy. U! Happy brought in chef Carmen to do a cooking demo and basically teach the kids to love vegetables 🙂
I was paired up with this cute kid named Coco who didn’t need to be taught anymore. His favorite veggie was broccoli and he didn’t like chips. Haha!
After the cooking demo, we were one of the lucky few called onstage to make fruit smoothies. His choice of ingredients – strawberry, mango & MALUNGGAY. Whatup 🙂
The outreach was completely different from anything I’d been to before, mostly because of the subject matter. Teaching kids how to eat healthy isn’t exactly the easiest of things, nor is it something that would immediately be thought of as fun. But the kids enjoyed themselves enough – especially when it was time to start eating!
After that there were a few games (because with kids, you can never lose the games) and the SOTH teens performed a violin piece 🙂 So inspiring. It was a really great way to spend a Saturday.
The music and arts program at Shepherd of the Hill is just one of the things they integrate into the kids’ lives. They also have programs for sports, leadership, practical skills, etc. If you want to help, you can volunteer with them directly!
I’m actually thinking of having the next Happy Heights there 🙂 Hopefully I get to arrange it soon.