Typhoon “Lawin” Damage

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Convent Roof Compromised

If my memory serves me right, the last typhoon that flooded Tagudin and outlying areas, tore up buildings and homes happened earlier this year or sometime late last year. That storm brought rains that made the river waters rise, overflowing its banks, inundating its tributaries with tons of water-borne mud, rocks, and debris that came raging downstream. Barangays like Sawat were cut off and the emergency response units had to ferry folks and their livestock to higher ground on make shift rubber rafts and other motorized water craft.

Another typhoon came by recently, only this time it didn’t spare the town proper. It directly hit the Sister’s convent. The hurricane-force winds tore up the convent roof made up largely of nailed corrugated tin sheets. Once the tiny swirls of dervishes (tornadoes) whirling along the fringes

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Ceiling slats couldn’t keep the rain off of convent furnishings

of the major gusts found the exposed seams of the corrugated tin sheets, it was only a matter of time until the entire roof was ripped off of its sub-roof foundations and underlayment.

With the roof compromised, the convent became a veritable open vessel for the torrential downpour. You can just imagine the devastating effect of the unchecked water pouring freely on exposed furniture, books, filing cabinets, chapel statuary, beds, linens, and other household items.

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Mayor Jun Verzosa inspecting the damage to the Sisters Convent

Headed by Mayor Jun Verzosa, local government officials inspected the damage to assess the repair costs. The ICM Sisters sent out requests for financial help to the alumni at large. SAS Batch 1958, headed by Mr & Mrs Niceto and Delia Batac of San Diego, CA., along with Engr Apolonio and Emilie Villanueva, Mr & Mrs Sam and Lolita Hassan, Mr & Mrs Fred and Margarita Lasmarias to name a few, immediately collected contributions and sent the amount to Sr. Nida

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SAS Class 1958 at the SAS Centennial

Buyuccan, ICM and Sr. Connie Gacutan, ICM.

We ask all fellow Augustinians to please take a few moments to make a generous donation toward the repair of the badly damaged Sister’s Convent. Thank you.

Generosity Killer


Unkind-famous

“When we do a random act of kindness, we do it without seeking recompense.”

Hatred kills generosity.

Hateful words deriding another person for their acts of charity, only serve to diminish the sympathy for others felt by the recipient of such unkind commentary.

In the end, the once charitable person, mocked and ridiculed for their acts of kindness becomes unwilling to give. Their once kind hearts, numbed by the senseless verbal attacks leveled at them, turn to stone.

Who suffers? The needy person; the intended recipient of the charity.

Such a story circulates in social media today, about a very bitter person’s reaction to another person’s charitable contributions to some needy kids.

“I can’t believe she actually gave money to this cause,” the poster wrote, reacting to a story posted in social media about a woman who donated to a charitable cause. The poster claimed familiarity with this generous person described in the story. Seems they were married at one time.

“She yelled at me whenever I put money in the collection plate on Sunday,” his commentary continued.

“She never allowed me to give money to my ailing parents either. Or give me money to bet at the cockfights. She was so tightfisted she squeaked when she walked. And now she gives to charitable causes? Hypocrite! How bogus. How fake. Making herself look good outside. Rotten inside. Can you believe it?” The poster continued with his unkind commentary.

A firestorm of posts erupted. Commenters from all corners dove in to the fray. The scene turned ugly.

“Hoy, you better stop posting… your comments are not true. You lying,” one poster wrote.

Someone who apparently knew them when they were a couple left this post: “If you do not stop commenting I will reveal all your stinky secrets. And the whole world will know just how rotten you were as a husband. Lazy and dumb. No work because no one will hire you. You are nothing but a freeloader.”

Still, another poster wrote, “Please think twice before you post. You are embarrassing yourself. Big time.”

Whoa. Time out. Let’s come up for air. What about the generous person described in the story – the original object of the disgruntled poster’s ire? How was she impacted by all this trash talk?

Unkind-Words

When hateful words kill a person’s generosity, the recipient of the charity suffers.

Sadly, the unkind posts impacted her negatively. She regretted ever having given to the cause of the needy kids. She vowed never to donate to such charitable causes. She faded into social networking obscurity. Vanished – never to be heard from again.

Ultimately, who lost in this brew-ha-ha? The disgruntled ex-husband you think? Not hardly.

The ex-wife? Nope.

The needy kids? You bet.

 

 

SAS Batch 80 and Batch 81


Our VP of Sales & Marketing, Melanie P Florentino filed this report:

SAS Batch 80 and SAS Batch 81

SAS Batch 80 and SAS Batch 81

Dear SAS Ai Family,

Here’s hoping all is well with you.
Please be informed that the campaign for Batch ’80 to support the “$10 dollar allotment per month for scholarship funding” is ongoing since its launch last summer (May 2014). The response is kinda slow but it’s moving nonetheless and gaining momentum.Smile
As of yesterday, Elizabeth dela Cruz (based in Winnipeg Canada) remitted PhP 4,000 pesos to my bank account which I have withdrawn and deposited to Albert’s PNB account earlier today. The amount represents her first initial support to the campaign.
Ramon Octavo (also in Canada) informed me a few days ago that he will send his donation at the end of this month. He also mentioned that he started talking to other batch-mates in Canada and hopes are high that they will join the fray. God willing.
Just for accounting purposes of remittances to Albert’s PNB account between May and July 2014.
Annie (80) and Joey (81) – PhP 4300
Digno Follosco (81) – PhP 6,000
Elizabeth dela Cruz (80) – PhP 4,000
Not much really so we need to work harder.
Thanks and warmest regards,
Melanie

Things were going great and then. . .


After her husband died, she suffered a severe stroke

After her husband died, she suffered a severe stroke sending everything into a tailspin

In pursuing our mission to help bright kids from poor families finish high school, we come across many special applications or requests for financial aid. One such request came across our desk for consideration earlier this year. We can relate to this story. All of us are just one paycheck away from being homeless.

Maria, (we changed the names to keep the privacy of the parties involved) and her husband Taliofero operated a small cafe-diner. The place was no bigger than four office cubicles joined together, furnished with four tables with four chairs each. The simple menu included many local dishes affordably priced and targeted toward a clientage composed of the local government workers, school faculty and staff and a few students from wealthier families, who carry sizable lunch money allowance. Bottom line, business was booming. Maria was able to send her daughter Donna to private high school.

Then the unimaginable happened. Taliofero had a massive heart attack while cooking a batch of Dinuguan (a local blood pudding delicacy with pork innards). Their sense of loss and grief exponentially doubled as Maria suffered a stroke soon after they buried Taliofero. Utterly devastated, the family began to sell some of their belongings, jewelry and home furnishings to help run the business and to survive. Although it was touching and inspiring to see Maria and Donna try everything to mitigate the ravages of physical handicap and erosion of morale, the situation was nevertheless a portrait of raw despondency and frustration. Creditors repossessed their home. They moved back to Maria’s mother’s house.

Donna was going into her last year of high school. She had been an honor student all three years earlier and actively involved in the school paper as assistant editor. Donna’s bright and shows tremendous potential. But now, out of money and essentially broke, she faces transferring to the public high school. They applied for financial aid so Donna can graduate at the same high school wherein she started.

Our committee didn’t take long to decide. Donna will graduate this year from St Augustine’s School.

 

Graduation: Personal Labor Comes to Fruition


SAS Ai Class 2014

SAS Ai Class 2014

Our volunteers who run the everyday business of the SAS Ai financial aid program experienced their labor’s just reward at the graduation ceremonies of our first 2014 class of scholars. They remembered a group of kids, some shy and timid, who joined us in the program last 2009-2010. They were no more than young, tender saplings, newly graduated from intermediate school, filled with dreams and high expectations. They enthusiastically dove in, head first into the school year.

We all remembered the times when some of them faltered, slowed down by the dizzying array and sheer volume of high school work. Pop quizzes, periodic tests, quizzes, exams and research assignments, writing projects, athletic intramural sporting events, and vocational shop classes all added to the burden. But true to their promise they slugged it out and prevailed making all of us so proud. Four of them placed in the honor roll with one finishing as the class salutatorian. At the graduation reception, they stood beaming with pride along with their parents, teachers and mentors. Amid the flurry of activity from the paparazzi, they all thanked our donors and program supporters.

“We thank you all, our dear benefactors, donors, and sponsors.
Without your generous help we couldn’t have finished high school.
God bless you, your family, your health and your work.”

A few members of the Board of Trustees based abroad made it to the Philippines during the graduation ceremony. Joining in the celebration they saw how our newly graduated scholars extended their gratitude and appreciation as they spoke with all the dignitaries and guests. Talk about some happy campers. Our scholars looked so grown up. Where has the time gone? With smiles and grins and small conversations later, our volunteers, donors and supporters all agreed: “It was all worth it – all that sacrifice and labor.”

And so it is.

A Determined Spirit


Rose Ann's family kitchen

Rose Ann’s family kitchen

“Mom, can I stay home today and work on my math assignment? I am behind.” Rose Ann sounded worried. As a family they planned to harvest the corn the whole day. It was just her and her parents.

“Rose sweetheart,” her mother softly replied, “you have to do what you have to do. School’s very important and your father and I will manage.”

Rose’s parents, Mr and Mrs Fajardo want Rose Ann to keep up her good grades so that she can keep her scholarship. Like most folks in the village, the Fajardo’s live by the “scratch and peck,” system of daily survival. Their field’s planted all year round with cash crops like corn, mung beans, sugar beets, and rice. Tenant farming puts food on the table but not much else. The Fajardo ladies don’t buy fabric from which to sew dresses; they use softened flour sackcloth or empty rice sacks. The little money saved from produce sales goes to the livestock feed and fertilizer. For this reason Rose Ann applied for financial aid to finish high school.

Mature for her age, Rose Ann performed well in elementary school maintaining a grade point average of 89%. Shy, introverted and demure, her classmates make fun of her timidity – all in jest – no malice. Members of our Field Team counsel and coach her to open up, be vocal specially during classroom discussions. “Ask the teacher questions. Don’t be afraid of ridicule,” they strongly suggest. “Class participation is critical, and if you don’t speak up, you won’t get any answers,” they would continue. For her part, Rose Ann gave opening up a good try. She is getting better each day and the Field Team makes it a point to recognize her improvement during scheduled meetings.

Rose Ann wants to finish high school and go on to higher learning. With her indomitable spirit and self-confidence we are hopeful of her future. We are proud to help her attend high school. On behalf of Rose Ann and on behalf of all our scholars, we thank you our benefactors. Without your generous help and donations, we would not be able to conduct our mission.

 

“Work for Food”


Why...

Why…

The man stood by the crossing holding a cardboard sign that read:  “Work for food.” I wondered how long he had stood there in the oppressive heat with nothing to cover his balding head. By his feet lay a plastic shopping bag, a back-up sign, and what looked like a tarp from some military surplus store, heaped with all his meager belongings.

I began to wonder as I drove away if he would eat that day. Would a concerned soul offer him a job or a meal; it was getting late in the afternoon. I tried to catch a parting glimpse of him via the rear-view mirror. I thought to myself, “Was he homeless perhaps? Or maybe just an itinerant wanderer?” I didn’t know what to think. But I’ve always been one to lean toward the right – that if I have to wash dishes, flip burgers or dig ditches to eat I would. It bothered me to think about how could such a man allow himself to descend into the pits so that he has to beg for food?

I know I am judging and I shouldn’t. Forgive me. There are a myriad reasons why we do the things we do. For all I know he could be an undercover agent on a stake out. Or a man stepping out to avoid being sequestered at home with his nagging wife. Who knows? And here I am playing “here come the judge…”.

I arrived at the grocery store, bought the items on my shopping list and on the way out stopped at the store’s food counter. “A double cheeseburger, fries, large soda to go please.” I retraced the same route home. Yup there he was, sign in hand, still hoping, still waiting. Pulling over to the side where he stood I turned on my emergency signal as I stepped out of my vehicle to approach him. A surprised look formed on his face. He probably expected me to offer him a job. I handed him the bag of food. “Just a little something… hope it helps.”

Reaching for the bag, he looked into my eyes momentarily. I saw his eyes grow misty. They glistened in the afternoon sun. He took hold of the bag and with a parched voice he said, “May God bless you brother. Thank you.” I wept all the way home. I know the statistic: We are only one paycheck away from being homeless.