Parent-Child Collaboration

Everlyn Jamandra and her Parents

Everlyn Jamandra and her Parents

Eleven years old, graduating from 6th grade, shedding the “elementary school” mentality, and raring to enter seventh grade and into the intermediate league. What goes through the mind of an 11-year old youth about school and the future?

I am willing to bet most of such 11-year old thinking resembles a pail of benign, tangled and disorganized notions. Superfluous thoughts skewed by feelings, fairy tales, wild crushes, hazy ideas, exorbitant wishes, daydreams, strange desires, unachievable ambitions, unsteady emotions, hurts worse than death, diabolical ideas of revenge, mischief, puppy love, infatuation, nocturnal secrets… murky, opaque thoughts that seem like a multitude of narrow paths resembling ribbons etched on the grass where goats walk and graze, where kids run, cavort and play… just a sandbox.

The verdant landscape mind of an active 11-year old holds a world of promise. Parents must recognize, accept, and learn to help their child put order to such a youthful mind. Needed are patience, tolerance, love, fairness, firmness, and an even-handed hold on the reins. In time the youthful mind begins to put things in order, first separating the open fields from the hedges, demarcating the hills from the mountains, grouping the rocks from the sand dunes and partitioning the nice, approachable, gentle and kind adults from the wicked, uncaring ones. Order gradually emerges. Finally and hopefully, chaos becomes unpredictable calm.

The secret to a desired outcome is collaboration between parent and child based on mutual respect, driven by mutual trust that parent and child walk in the same direction, and going for the same goal.

I know. Easier said than done. Don’t just talk about it; work on it.


Trust in the Lord

Divine Mercy Sunday

Divine Mercy Sunday

The Book of Proverbs presents many wonderful sayings collected over the years and sung through the ages. Many such sayings have become household mantras and personal guideposts. One such saying comes from the Book of Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence do not rely; In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths.”

Expressed in many ways, these same two verses appear in many prayer books, hymnals and religious literature. This version touches me:  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path.”

I conclude with, “The Lord is kind and merciful. Slow to anger and overflowing in kindness.” This is Divine Mercy Sunday. Let us say, “Jesus we trust in 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.

I Miss My Mother – by Rocel Ann Vinluan


Rocel Ann

Rocel Ann Vinluan – SAS Ai Scholar Class 2011-12

My mother works and lives in Agoo (pronounced ah-goo-oo), a town in the province of La Union, about 102 kilometers south of Tagudin. Without sounding too dramatic and overly sentimental, may I just say I wish I lived with my mother so I can spend time with her.

Life remains challenging for me and my family. My mother doesn’t make enough to support me and my siblings let alone finance my high school studies. My grandmother – she is so loving and good, God bless her – agreed to care for me while I attend SAS high school in Tagudin, courtesy of SAS Ai and its excellent scholarship program. I earn my keep and grandmother loves having me around to help her out with the spare parts business.

This past summer I spent time with my mother in Agoo. I can honestly say I have never had a more wonderful time spent with my Mom than these past couple of months. We did things together. She showed me how to sew and how to stitch. She showed me how to crochet and knit. I laughed when I saw the two pieces of knitting pins… they looked like the skewers that my grandmother uses to roast fish over live coals.

My mother told me she missed me and I cried because she never told me that before. I felt I had been a burden to the family that is why I live with my grandmother. Things are clearer now. I fully understand the reasons why I have to stay with my grandmother in Tagudin. Besides, how else would I finish high school at SAS?

And so my fun summer vacation also provided learning opportunities. My mother and I feel closer now. As I leave Agoo to go back to my grandmother’s place in Tagudin, I am going through emotional ups and downs. I feel my place is by my mother’s side. Yet realistically, I must go back to Tagudin because my grandmother needs me. My mother wants me to finish high school and so does my grandmother. With that said, I too want to finish my high school education at SAS. Unanimous… I look forward to the school year opening. I am ready for school.

A Fulfilling Summer Break – by Melvie Legaspina


Melvie Legaspina, SAS Ai Scholar Class 2011-12

Melvie Legaspina, SAS Ai Scholar Class 2011-12

Toward the end of the school year all my friends and I could enthusiastically talk about was the coming summer vacation. We all needed a break from school. Homework assignments, classroom activities, school projects, not to mention the never-ending pop quizzes and periodic examinations have all but sapped the last ounce of our energies. The mere mention of summer vacation electrified the atmosphere. We dreamed and we kept on talking.

All Green

Home Sweet Home – in the middle of green fields with banana trees, at the edge of a lush forest

Some of my SAS Ai scholar friends talked about escaping with family to faraway places. Others talked about trying new adventures and visiting relatives who lived in nearby provinces. A couple of classmates declared their upcoming trip and break to the big city. I felt a tingle up my spine when they mentioned the “Big City”. They were talking about the big city of Manila. Blinking neon lights danced in the back of my head, tall buildings rising up skyward, and rows upon rows of them adorning the city skyline. I swallowed hard as I tried to mask my intimidated pride and feelings of envy percolating to the surface. I was happy for them and I told them so.

For me, I knew my parents couldn’t afford such trips. I resigned myself to the idea of staying local. Indeed I will spend my summer vacation in my home sweet home – right in the middle of the green rice fields, accented with banana trees and edged by a lush forest of mangoes, santol trees, longboy and sarguelas.


The irrigation water flows by the coconut trees and banana trees through the property

Besides, my father had planted new cash crops and he needed help not only in making sure the irrigation system flowed unimpeded but also in making sure the seedling beds were properly watered and weeded. My mother, bless her heart, also expected me to look after the vegetable garden out back, watering it and making sure the goats didn’t break in to ruthlessly feast on the morangi leaves and sweet purple yam shoots.

In between trips to the fields I managed to read two books. I did some deep thinking too about the coming school year. I have set my priorities, the most important of which is to learn all that I can learn and be the best scholar.

The little help I gave my parents during the summer break made me fill good and fulfilled. I noticed how my father would usually work in the fields starting early and working until sunset, walking home in the darkening dusk of twilight. During my summer break my father was able to come home earlier, joining us for family dinner. What a great feeling that gave me.

Every good thing comes to an end. The summer vacation is no different. Summer must leave so that the new school year can begin. So with a sad heart I bade my friend, Summer, farewell. Until next year… until next year.

Living Free… really?


The man’s in need, the dog’s for feed – but the cat, look out, she’s into over-acting!

It was at the airport that I saw this display of an excellently choreographed  begging technique. The cat caught my eye. She’s flat on her back, feet splayed, paws outstretched, her facial expression unmistakably of deep hunger. Not a single passer-by failed to stop, notice, smile, grin, admire, and give.

While this ensemble may amuse and entertain, what really lies behind this life of begging? An investigation followed and found out that:

  • The man was down and out of his luck, was homeless with no family.
  • He and his pets are on the move and have run out of funds temporarily.
  • The man is happy with his life – no responsibilities, no bills, no financial obligations, no taxes, and they can move freely when and wherever
  • On a good day all three members of the begging team can come up with $500, with the cat fetching the tidiest sum of $200-$250, followed by the dog at $150-$175 and the man at $120-$150.

What a life, eh? Living free, or free-living, or living for free isn’t for everybody. What do you think – would you consider this kind of lifestyle?

Personally, I prefer responsibility, the daily challenge of making it by hard work, prudence, competitiveness, and accountability. I need the satisfaction brought by making it through the day with a minimum of hassle, the least amount of self-inflicted mistakes and mental errors. I need my daily triumph over life’s many challenges.

Nightfall finds me in the comfort of my dwelling and with faith bursting out of my heart I gratefully lay my head on a soft pillow, sleep through the night, secure and confident that God will wake me up in the morning in time to enjoy my cup of fresh hot coffee, ready to face life once more – and win.



She weaves the buri strips into light-colored place-mats in her arts and crafts class but sees her father and the sea painted on each one of them

Her father died the year she qualified for the SAS Ai financial aid program to attend Saint Augustine School. Devastated by her loss she nevertheless courageously bore her hurts, collected herself and decided to move on with her life.

Dealing with her grief while attending school presented many challenges. Her heaviest burden dealt with the persistent and indelible memories of her late father. She saw his likeness upon his fishing nets draped over an idle fishing boat. She saw her father in the bursting sea wave, green, cool and inviting. She remembered her father’s occupation – an avid, all-weather fisherman of the sea.

In her arts and crafts class where she wove buri palm frond strips into light place mats, she would see images of her father pulling his net clearly embossed upon each place mat. She felt burdened by these visions at first but as time passed she finally learned to deal with these ever-present images of her father. He lives on in her memories certainly. Perhaps her father’s famous expression, “Don’t forget – remember always,” simply means just that.