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of yesterday, Elizabeth dela Cruz (based in Winnipeg Canada) remitted PhP 4,000 pesos to my bank account which I have withdrawn and deposited to Albert’s PNB account earlier today.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.

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.

Help Wanted


helpwantedSubtleI have seen that “Help Wanted” sign tucked in on window pane corners, behind glass doors, on menu boards and on mall bulletin boards and store fronts. Once I inquired inside a pet store posting a Help Wanted sign. But after I was immediately met, literally face-to-face, by a Gigantor Great Dane, I turned around and walked out.

We have had our Help Wanted sign posted on our Facebook page, BLOG page, on our official websites for all the world and fellow SAS alumni to see. We haven’t had many replies, not even inquiries out of pure curiosity. Our plea for help is largely being ignored.helpwantedCustomers

What could we be doing wrong? How can we improve our signage? Our message?

Could it be that our sign doesn’t communicate exactly what we need? (Photo at right courtesy of The Huffington Post)

We need help in raising awareness of our mission to help bright kids who come from poor families get a high school education through financial aid.

We need help raising donations for and contributions to the scholarship fund. Our only source of help comes from your generosity. Please… we need your help.