You Can’t Take It With You


Cash Stash Under Mattress

Cash Stashed Under Mattress

Each and every night, after counting her money, she went into dreamless sleep, her ears insulated from the sounds of the world. She had no worries, no fears; just sheer joy in knowing that she had a pile of money at her disposal.

No situation fazed her. She luxuriated on an aire-ride bed taking delight in the fine layers of Turkish quality linen. The rustle of brocade covers combined with the lightness of the goose down stuffed pillows titillated her imagination. The silk sheets provided her with maximum opulence.

As was her nocturnal habit, she counted her cash in the dim candlelight. No bright lights for this lady. That would compromise her privacy. She confidently stashed her cash underneath her mattress. No bank ever won her trust. She contentedly went to sleep each night – the captain of her own destiny.

Out in public, when asked for a small donation for a charitable cause, she would quickly break into a satisfied grin and haughtily declare, “Well, I’d love to help but the money is at home. Really. I don’t carry cash. Maybe some other time.” And off she would go on her merry way.

Her obituary suddenly and unexpectedly showed up in the Church weekly bulletin. Our secretly wealthy lady passed away in her sleep. The emergency responders came to gather her remains. On their way out one of the technicians noticed a dollar bill on the floor but kept on walking.

The next day, the cleaning lady came to clean the apartment as scheduled. She saw Ben Franklin’s image on a hundred-dollar bill lying on the floor by the bed. She remembered the deceased woman very well. There was a time, when she started working there, that she begged the rich woman for a small loan so she could buy some groceries for her family. Of course her plea went unanswered. It was as if the deceased woman was deaf… or feigned deafness.

The cleaning lady went about doing her cleaning routine. Lifting the mattress to tuck in the new sheets, she discovered the deceased woman’s wealth and riches. Money… dollar bills stacked up four deep. The money … inanimate paper… lifeless green bills… just lying there. What good are they to the dearly departed woman now?

We Thank Our Donors


Cely Bilaoen Bautista SAS Class 1958

Cely Bilaoen Bautista SAS Class 1958

Mrs Celestina Bilaoen Bautista (left) – we call her “Cely” – supports our mission to help bright kids from poor families finish high school with financial aid. She staunchly believes that education is freedom.

She’s a retired registered nurse (RN), having worked in the Bronx hospitals of New York city for many years. Earlier in her life before finishing college and earning her Nursing degree, she attended and graduated from St Augustine School in Tagudin, province of Ilocos Sur, Philippines. Cely is a member of the famous SAS Class of 1958.

Never one to forget her humble beginnings, Cely is no stranger to hard work and self-reliance. She remembers the goodwill of others bestowed upon her specially when she was first starting her Nursing career. Her success story is our success story. She loves these disadvantaged kids. She backs her hope for their success with her continued support and donations to the high school fund.

Thank you Cely and may God bless you always.

We Beg You


We are on our knees

We are on our knees

“If you want something bad enough, you can endure rejection; begging is not demeaning.” We are begging for help. For the sake of our kids’ schooling we are down on our knees.

Registration day 2014 is upon us. The registrar tersely reminds us we can’t enroll our kids without the tuition paid up front. We want nothing more than to enroll our kids for school year 2014.

Please help us with the tuition. You can open a $10 dollar monthly allotment – a sum that won’t break the bank. Go to our DONATE NOW page and transact your $10 dollar monthly allotment.

We are at the 11th hour of our fund-raising drive. Please be generous.

Preparing the Soil for Planting


How straight are your furrows?

How straight are your furrows?

My father, who loved to work the land growing cash crops, used to say, “When you plow the field, never look back to keep your furrows straight.” Over time I have reflected on his words and I’ve come up with my interpretation using it as a metaphor.

Progress connotes looking ahead in a forward direction being aware of the side views. Those who keep looking back – either because of nostalgia, or misplaced sentimentality, or wishing things could be as they used to be – seem to stagnate and languish. In the Army when the drill instructor barks, “Mark Time,” the men march in place, never making forward progress. Looking back is like marking time. It’s the hamster on a treadmill routine. Also, those who move forward while looking back usually end up in the ditch or in a collision.

Preparing the field for planting is what we do when we help these bright kids who come from poor families get a high school education thru financial help. We inculcate in them education as an important change agent or as a way to achieve freedom. Their young, receptive, and eager-to-learn minds, are like the fertile fields. We plow the furrows straight, not crooked – readying them for planting the seeds of knowledge and wisdom. We keep our gaze set to the future, looking ahead and forward, exemplifying how important is self-discipline and avoiding distraction.

Our bright kids need financial help badly to finish high school. Won’t you please help by DONATING to the scholarship fund? Thank you.

May Your Heart be Filled With Joy and Gladness


teouched heart

If you feel a hollow in your heart, it is there waiting to be filled with joy and gladness by acts of kindness toward others

“When you give, give expecting nothing in return…” so the Good Book says. Peace be with you dear friend. We are still trying to raise enough money to send our kids to school that begins this coming June 2013. These are the bright and promising kids who come from disadvantaged families and who are eager and desirous to finish high school. A disadvantaged family makes less than P50,000 (Philippine pesos) or $1167 USD annual gross income.

Go to our secure online acceptance portal and use your credit card (VISA, M/C, DISC) to transact your tax-deductible donation. You can also open a monthly $45 dollar allotment if it makes it easier on your budgeting process. It costs $540 a year to send one kid to high school. Any amount you wish to donate helps send a promising child to school. Our program holds the sponsored child accountable for maintaining good grades, and the child’s family for making sure the child gets time to study.

To find out what the $540 USD annual cost covers go to our SAS Ai, Inc. website. While there, meet our scholars and those who volunteer to run the program. Consider your donation as an investment for the future. Consider your donation as an act of kindness toward those who can’t pay you back. Consider your donation as necessary in helping a child realize his or her childhood dream. Consider your donation as liberating these children from poverty – because education is freedom!

Thank you dear friend for your donation and support. May your heart be filled with joy and gladness.

A Portrait of Poverty


the face of poverty

Father and son sleeping their hunger away on a flower-pot ledge

Life paints a portrait of poverty in stark, broad, and undeniable strokes. No scumbling of grays to soften the edges, no “photoshopping” or “airbrushing” to infuse a romantic glow to lessen the pain, to hide the shame, and to reduce the human torment.

A father and child find rest on a narrow raised ledge made for flower pots to decorate this office building. They have walked the streets rummaging through garbage bins and trash cans for half-eaten hamburgers. The day was long and their foraging turned up mostly empty. The child now exhausted needs sleep and the father cannot leave him to sleep by himself out there exposed to the elements. So he stays. He rests with his child hoping the hunger pains would go away.

Some forms of poverty appear extreme. Other forms, as exemplified by the kids we help here at SAS Alumni International (SAS Ai), aren’t so extreme. Nevertheless, their bracket of poverty relegates them to a life sustained on an annual gross income of less than $1167 USD. These kids show tremendous mental drive, curiosity and love for learning. Out of responsible charity and generosity we recognize and acknowledge their need for a good high school education.

Our mission helps these bright and promising kids attend high school. We ask our donors to be generous. Together we can make sure such brilliant minds do not go to waste. Donate now to the scholarship fund. Open a monthly allotment of $45 USD using our secure credit card (VISA, M/C, and DISC) acceptance portal. You can donate any amount you wish; we appreciate it and a child will get an opportunity to attend high school with your generous donation. Thank you.

Mr Charles Wilson Comes Thru With His Support for 2013


Charles Wilson

Mr Charles Wilson, SAS Ai supporter

Mr Charles Wilson is a quiet man, a soft-spoken, kind, gentle soul who would rather smile than say anything derogatory about anyone. About two months ago during a casual conversation, Mr Charles asked me, “How are the SAS Ai scholars doing in school?”

His question jolted me back quickly to about a year ago. I vividly remember him handing me a $540 dollar check he wrote to the SAS Ai scholarship fund. Yes indeed, I thought. Mr Wilson sincerely wants to know how the kids are doing.

“Let me tell ya, we placed seven of them in the honor roll,” I was almost out of breath. The pause that lapsed before I answered him concerned me. Mr Wilson is an accountant by profession and he deals with precision, accuracy and speed. Any hint of hesitation on my part to answer him wouldn’t bode well.

His face brightened as his joy became palpable. “That’s great,” he said. “How many kids did we sponsor last year?”

“We sponsored four of the brightest and neediest among 10 finalists,” I said proudly. “That was all the money we could raise for the scholarship fund. We wanted to sponsor 5 – but we fell short on the funding.”

“How about this year 2013, how many do you plan to sponsor?” Mr Wilson continued to query.

“Four of the brightest and neediest kids. We don’t know yet how many finalists we will have. Four seems easier to shepherd, care for, and service from purely a management standpoint.” I  paused and waited for his reaction.

Mr Wilson supports the SAS Ai mission. Why else would he be asking so many questions… I thought to myself.

“Good talking to you. I’ll see what I can do come April.” He got in his car and drove off. That was two months ago.

This last Sunday, Mr Wilson approached me in the church parking lot. He smiled and brimmed with excitement. His eyes couldn’t hide his being pleased. “Hey there Mr SAS Ai,” he said waving at me. “Got something for you.” He walked briskly toward me.

I stood by my pick up truck’s open door. Mr Wilson handed me another $540 dollar check written to the SAS Ai scholarship fund.

“For 2013,” he said. “Let’s help the kids get launched!”

“Thanks Mr Wilson,” I said, my eyes misting. “Education is Freedom!”

“Amen,” he said. When I looked up he was gone.