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Our volunteer work in Rose of Sharon had been one of my most unforgettable
experiences in college. I am a Physics major, and we do not have fieldings or
activities that require significant social interaction. During our stay there, we did not
only manage to teach the children the basic elements of art but we also picked up a
few life lessons from the kids.
It had not been easy and smooth-sailing. The children we were assigned to
teach were not as cute and adorable as our younger siblings and/ or inaanaks. They
can be very sweet when they want to, very clingy and possessive. But they can also
be vicious and violent; there had been numerous incidents of fights among the kids.
We had to be very patient and understanding in dealing with their situation. We
knew that these kids were not as fortunate as we had been when we were their age.
These kids were former street kids and victims of abuse. As much as possible, we
treated each and every one of them with the care and proper attention that they
need. We made them feel special by complimenting them whenever they finish their
Of course, it was not always easy to be patient and forgiving. Sometimes, the
facilitators also get irritated with the antics of the kid/s they are designated with.
When this happen, we try to reshuffle ourselves and assign other kids to among us.
There is also the issue of hygiene. While understanding that these kids are young
and probably does not care much about aesthetics yet, there are instances that
their odor and appearance are a challenge to us.
For female facilitators, owning a ponytail is a necessity. Most, if not all of the
kids hair is swarmed with head lice. The kids are also very physical, they like to
hug the facilitators and stay really close to us. That is really sweet of them, but we
also worry about the possibility of lice infestation. This may have been one of my
biggest issues while volunteering for ROS. I enjoy being with the little kids, they are
really willing to learn and are very responsive to our activities. But I would be lying if
I say that having hair lice did not faze me. This became a real problem when
Charice and Rose, the two kids that have been my regular students, became
extremely attached to me. They are fond of hugging me and playing with my hair.
After every NSTP meeting, I always hurry back to my dormitory to take a shower. I
do not want to appear shallow and snobbish, but having head lice at my age is not a
One of the boys, James, is an especially challenging kid to handle. He was
persistently stubborn and prone to violent tantrums. I try to steer clear of that kid,
but he always find a way to make Charice or Rose cry over something as
inconsequential as a piece of paper or a piece of chalk. But despite his hardheadedness, he was one of the brightest kids there. He understands instructions
easily and finishes activities fast. I try to get him to sit still and actually participate
in recitations, but he always refuses to listen and just does whatever he wants. No
facilitator can ever tame that kid; there had actually been an incident wherein we
had to call a ROS staff to calm him down.

I admire the ROS staff for their unlimited patience with the kids. It must not
have been easy, caring for these unruly and naughty kids. I also think very highly of
their advocacy. They are the parent figure for the kids and they try to provide for all
of them. I also like that the kids are given the privilege to go to school.
I am glad that we were grouped with Pat and Pearls team. The topic is easy
to deliver and the lessons are easy to prepare. We are all upperclassmen with
different degree programs, which is why having a common time to meet-up is
difficult. Instead, we have a Facebook group, where we communicate plans and
potential problems and solutions. I also like that everyone is very cheerful and
energetic when teaching the lessons. Patricia and Pearl are, I think, the most
dedicated in making sure that the lessons are well-prepared. Nilo, is also worth
mentioning because he always make sure to document every meeting, so we would
be able to track our progress. Celina is also very integral in the group dynamics. She
is always the chatty one during lessons, and the kids really like her.
Because of my 10 am -1 pm class, I am always arriving just before the
jeepney leaves; I am not able to help in the preparation of materials. But I always
make sure to ask my group mates about the lesson so that I would always have an
idea or general concept of the flow of the session. I am also grateful for my
understanding group mates. They never complain of my punctuality, and instead
give me heads-up or update on the things that I miss during the 12 nn 1 pm time
interval. I compensate by initiating group chats online or sending out group
messages to discuss the things that are needed to be done in time for the next
Because we teach Art, sometimes the assessment of the kids work is
subjective. We try hard to deliver the information in an entertaining way. This way,
we would be able to hold the kids attention for a longer time. We do not provide
material rewards when the kids finish their work. We thought that this would just be
a potential cause of tension among the kids. Instead, we shower them with
compliments. This system proved to be effective, because the kids became more
and more responsive over the succeeding meetings. We also noticed their
development through their outputs. There is this one kid who initially does not know
how to read, but after a few session was able to read and write basic words. Another
kid, who was at first having trouble writing her own name, got a score of 100 in the
last quiz/ assessment that we gave them.
I did not expect to be friends with my group mates. Usually in collegiate
courses, I dont get very close to my classmates in one-sem only classes. I am
especially thankful to Nilo and Almira, they are very dependable and are really
During our last meeting, the kids were aware that we were conducting our
last lesson. They were especially energetic that day. Some kids wrote letters and
cards to their favorite Ates and Kuyas. I myself received four cards that day. It was a
great experience for us. Personally, I learned the diversity of the human situation.
While looking at the kids, I cannot help but feel grateful with the hand I was dealt.
Although they may seem well now, we are not fully aware of the horrors these kids
have been through.
I was thankful that I chose LTS for my NSTP class. I appreciated my good
education and I have learned the importance of sharing that blessing to other
people. I am not going so far as to claim that this class changed my entire life, but it
did develop my social empathy. I do not regret picking the challenging LTS
experience, even if my other friends described their CWTS classes easy as a

summer breeze. I liked that I got to experience dealing with children from different
backgrounds. I liked connecting to them and making them feel special. I liked the
warm welcome and even the admittedly greasy hugs. I will not be pretentious and
say that I will miss this class, I am glad that it is finished. But I really did enjoy it,
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