Welcome to my #Wonderful World of Wonder: Pay It Forward
The overwhelming sense of completeness and satisfaction every time I do volunteer work, paying it forward, makes my life #Wonderful.
I remember watching the film “Pay It Forward” in my NSTP class during my freshman year in university. My inner self was celebrating because we finally had a break from a whole-day class schedule. Never did I imagine that one simple film showing would affect my life much and change me as who I am now.
The movie starred Kevin Spacey, a social studies teacher who gave a goodwill assignment to his students including a young Haley Osment. The seven-grader was assigned to device and implement a plan that will change the world for the better. He then proposed creating a network of good deeds and named it “Pay It Forward”. In a nutshell, a person who is unable to address a need will be a recipient of a favor and will pay it forward by doing a favor to three individuals instead of paying the favor back, thus creating a network. My sixteen-year-old self was engrossed in watching the movie and didn’t expect the outstanding effect it would have on me years after.
We do little good deeds every day without even recognizing the impact they created or even realizing we even made them. Just a year after that film showing, I became unaware of playing the movie again, this time starring myself as the lead actor.
In early 2009, I was sent to Japan as a Filipino youth ambassador and it was such a life-changing experience. A program fully funded by the Japanese government, I was given an opportunity to be a young diplomat, fostering better relationships between young people of the two countries. On the same year, I joined the local chapter of UNICEF in my university. I liked the advocacy of the UN agency and the activities prepared by the organization interested me. I started attending meetings and participating in events. My active membership might have caught the attention of the student leaders, so I was invited to run for a position in the organization. I won and then held the position of a public relations officer.
The next year, the group was pushing me to run for presidency in the organization, but I declined because of a growing demanding schedule in my academics. I was a latin honor candidate and could not commit much of my time in UNICEF. Still, I was present in many meetings and activities of my organization as a Vice-President.
I remember one of our very fulfilling activity was a Christmas party celebration in Dingalan, Aurora where we reached out to our Dumagat brothers and sisters. I felt so blessed and alive to be able to help. I love participating in outreach programs and volunteering for worthy causes. Others may have the opportunity to share their money, but everyone has equal chances to share their time, blessings, talents, and skills.
As I juggle my hectic academic schedule and UNICEF responsibility, I accepted another invitation to become a student leader for Gawad Kalinga, Baseco. This non-profit organization went beyond building houses for those who need, but vision to eliminate poverty through holistic community development. This was something I felt very passionate about and without further consideration, I signed up for the position.
I became an active student leader for GK Baseco and had led several programs for the community – contests showcasing the talents of the residents, tutorials for children and youth, Christmas party preparation, medical and dental mission, etc. I rarely had eight hours of sleep because of my commitments, but I was not complaining. Without any exaggeration, I always felt renewed every time I wake up. Without realizing it, I graduated from my undergraduate program as a cum laude, vice-president of UNICEF, and a loved student leader in GK Baseco. Some asked how I got all the energy for all of those activities and responsibilities and I remember always responding with a smile and a challenge, “Try it and you will know.”
Did my passion for volunteerism ended as I stepped out of school? Of course, not. Together with my Japanese friends, we established an organization helping children in Paaralang Pantao in Payatas.
I kept in touch with my fellow Gawad Kalinga volunteers and in 2014 even became the Event Coordinator for Gawad Kalinga Taguig communities.
“Pay It Forward” has been my mantra in all these years of volunteering. Giving and reaching out to others made me feel so alive – there is always that overwhelming sense of appreciation of the things that surround me, humility after seeing how others make do of what they have, and gratitude for having the opportunity to pay it forward. There is this lightness in my heart whenever I see that I make someone happy. An incomparable pleasure seeps into me as I help others. Whatever I have received, I try to give it back to others, especially to the Philippine society who needed it the most. It is such an addicting experience.
Before, I was a spoiled child who became unreasonable to my parents whenever they would not allow me to get the latest gadget, but volunteering changed me. Now, seeing kids with bright smiles as they received their school supplies filled me with unexplainable joy. My life has been transformed and since then I have been living in a world of wonder where little things can create ripples of hope.
We can all be angels to one another. We can choose to obey the still small stirring within, the little whisper that says, ‘Go. Ask. Reach out. Be an answer to someone’s plea. You have a part to play. Have faith.’ We can decide to risk that He is indeed there, watching, caring, cherishing us as we love and accept love. The world will be a better place for it. And wherever they are, the angels will dance.” – Joan Wester Anderson
Note: This is my official entry to Globe’s Win a Trip to New Zealand Contest for bloggers. After generating my own World of Wonder meme and including three things that make my life #wonderful, I got the following: Better Together as my favorite music because it sings my heart which belongs in a long distance relationship; Trivia Crack as my favorite game because I like to know how little I know of everything; and Pay It Forward as my favorite movie and inspiration of all time.
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Get a chance to create your own world of wonder meme by simply heading to www.wonderful.ph
What makes your life #wonderful?