Browsing Posts tagged school

Thanks to everyone who attended our Year in Review event last week. It was great to see you all and get a chance to show you how your support has helped the children of Bacoor. Special thanks to Bob Avery and the Million Dollar Round Table Foundation for their generous grant in the amount of $5000. We’re excited to see what the next year brings! Thanks again for all your help and support!  Read the official press release below:

August 5, 2011— Robert L. Avery, II, CLU, ChFC, of Denver, Colorado, secured a $5,000 grant from the MDRT Foundation on behalf of Children’s Hope Fund. Avery, a 26-year MDRT member, is an active supporter of Children’s Hope Fund and nominated and endorsed the grant application. Children’s Hope Fund ( is a nonprofit organization that provides support so that impoverished Filipino children can attend school, better their lives and break the cycle of poverty. The MDRT Foundation grant will support the organization’s programs.

This year, the MDRT Foundation will award more than $850,000 USD in grants to more than 100 charities. Representing the MDRT Foundation, Avery presented this grant to Children’s Hope Fund on July 26, 2011 at the organization’s “Year in Review” event, held at Forest Room 5 in Denver, CO. At the event, Children’s Hope Fund’s Board of Directors reported the organization’s activities and achievements for the past year, including a Board member’s visit to Bacoor, Philippines in June 2011 to distribute school supplies. Avery presented the check for $5,000 to Rhezy Davis, Founder and President of Children’s Hope Fund. In his presentation, Mr. Avery said, “It is not easy to change the world, but [through organizations such as Children’s Hope Fund] we are able to change someone’s world.”

The MDRT Foundation was created in 1959 to provide MDRT members with a means to give back to their communities. Since its inception, the Foundation has donated more than $26 million in 80 countries around the world and in all 50 U.S. states. The majority of these funds were raised by MDRT members from MDRT members. The MDRT Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Million Dollar Round Table, The Premier Association of Financial Professionals®. MDRT is an international, independent association of more than 34,000 of the world’s best life insurance and financial services professionals from more than 80 nations and territories. MDRT members demonstrate exceptional product knowledge, strict ethical conduct and outstanding client service. MDRT membership is recognized internationally as the standard of sales excellence in the life insurance and financial services business.

In November 2010, I went on a two-week backpacking trip to the Philippines with my sister and friend. From Manila, with our 40-pound backpacks, our destination was 9.5 miles away: Bacoor Cavite. A typical 10-minute drive in the States was a three-hour adventure. We first took a tricycle to the train station, then rode the train to a jeepney stop.

Jeepneys. I’ve never seen anything like it – picture a carnival on wheels. Bright colors, wild graffiti and decorative adornments embellished a school-bus-shaped vehicle. We missed our stop, going too far south and had to tread down a dirt road to get to another jeepney stop headed back the way we came. We then took another tricycle to Bacoor Elementary School. We made it!

On our journey, many asked us why we, tourists, were going to visit this town. What is there to do or see in this poor area? Well, today we were going to volunteer with Children’s Hope Fund (CHF), a Denver-based nonprofit organization that provides educational opportunities and resources to impoverished children.

We were greeted by Rosalie Concepcion, a school teacher and volunteer for CHF. She warmly welcomed us into her home where over a dozen volunteers were cooking. This day was an exciting day for 300 children. They were going to receive a hot meal – for free!

The Children’s Hope Fund was hosting its monthly meal program that provided one piece of fried chicken, white rice and a juice box to each child. When we arrived at the site in the poor village of Tramo, the children were waiting patiently and orderly in the hot sun. They were lined in rows, each holding “the golden ticket.” Tickets for the free meal were distributed to children in school, as a way of encouraging them to attend.

The volunteers gave us a tour of the area. Many of the homes did not have doors – we could look right into them. They appeared to be formed by upright pieces of wood with a board slapped on top to function as the roof.

Some of the children did not have shoes, running around on the path of dirt and rocks. They were playing with bottle caps. Everyone greeted us with a smile. Many were missing teeth.

When the food arrived, my sister and friend assisted in passing out the meal boxes to the children. I wandered the area taking photos and making conversation with the parents – nearly all were women. Most said they were single mothers, working as the breadwinners for their family. They expressed their gratitude for Children’s Hope Fund. This meal was important to them. Some children had waited in line for more than two hours. Many mothers asked if there would be leftover lunchboxes available for them. I watched the joy on the children’s faces as they enjoyed such a simple meal.

It was an eye-opening experience. With the kind hearts of its volunteers, the Children’s Hope Fund was making a substantial impact on the lives of these children. Rosalie shared a major problem is that after concepts are taught in school, they are not reinforced at home because most parents are not educated enough to help. Many parents shared the same sentiments, but with guilt that they could not provide more for their children.

As my eyes began to well up, I realized that not only do I need to better appreciate what I have, but that there are many ways to help others even on the other side of the world.

With this experience kept firmly in my mind and closely in my heart, we left Bacoor Cavite to Batangas.


Annie Guo is the President of Asian Avenue magazine, a monthly publication based in Denver, Colorado. This is an excerpt from the magazine.

This past Sunday we boxed up the donated backpacks, school supplies, toys, clothing and much more and made arrangements for them to be shipped to the Philippines. We are pleased to announce that we reached our goal this year – over 300 students who would have missed this school year were sent to school smiling, each with a new backpack filled with a complete set of school supplies, and a school uniform. To these children who rarely receive nice gestures, simply having an opportunity to go to school with the necessary school supplies and knowing that someone, somewhere cares enough about them to help them attend this school year is sufficient enough. They do not take things for granted.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible from our donors to our volunteers and those who helped get the word out about our cause.  People like Valerie Lunka from CASA Advocates for Children who generously donated 75 backpacks and clothing, Amy Stanwood who donated the proceeds from the Shop for a Cause Silpada jewelry party, Abe and Jing Adriano from Forex Colorado, Ken Ebuna, Jackie Savoie, and all the friends, family, colleagues and everyone else who have supported Children’s Hope Fund. Your generous donations gave a lot of children a fresh start, you have every reason to be proud of the part you play in bringing about a more just, fair and compassionate world. Education is an effective route out of poverty and having the opportunity to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds is a gift!

I also wish to thank Marlene, Maryann, Annie, Erin, and Hamra for your generous donations of your time and effort and for your ongoing support of our cause.

I visited the Philippines on June 5th just in time for the start of the 2010 school year. We we’re able to help over 100 of the neediest children attend school this year who would otherwise not been able to. The children received a backpack, complete set of school supplies for the year such as pad paper, pencil, sharpener, eraser, notebooks, and a school uniform. They were also given snacks and food packs to take home. The children came from the town of Bacoor in Cavite. I was accompanied by Barangay Captain Nieves Dela Cruz and elementary teacher Rosalie Concepcion, along with our Children’s Hope Fund volunteers. The goal this year is to send over 300 kids to school. We’re still collecting backpacks, school supplies, clothing, and of course monetary donations to help meet our goal.

A small amount of money to pay for school uniforms, school supplies, and school fees often makes all the difference between a child staying in school or dropping out. Education is crucial to these disadvantaged children, without education these children would remain illiterate; they will not have a chance to fight the causes and effects of poverty in their lives and will continue their life of poverty without any hope of change.

My vision is to help create schools where a poor family doesn’t have to provide their own educational materials (their earnings are barely enough to buy food), and over the next fifteen years alter the culture so that education and a better life is a certainty for those who are willing to work for it. Give these children a future, a sense of pride and dignity. So they don’t have it so hard.

I am very grateful for everyone who has supported this project, your help has made a huge impact in the lives of these children. Without your help, none of it would have been possible. Thank you.

“Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future”
– John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Education paves a way out of poverty yet millions of children around the world don’t attend school because they can’t afford school supplies.  If they don’t attend school they don’t receive an education, and without an education they have very little chance of getting out of the slum.  The simple fact is that fewer children are enrolling in schools – the reason is poverty.  Instead of education, love and care, many children are badly exploited.  Some parents don’t send their children to school because they cannot afford school supplies, uniforms etc. instead they send their kids to work at a young age.  With the donated money we received from friends, family and The Optimist Club of Monaco South in Denver, CO we were able to purchase backpacks, school supplies and uniforms in time to send over one hundred children for the opening of classes on June 15, 2010. Our goal is to help over three hundred impoverished children this year and this is encouraging news to a lot of parents I met on this trip.  Judith, one of the many parents who wish to send their kids to school this year, told me “My parents we’re so poor when I was young they couldn’t afford to send me to school. I only have a first grade education. I want my kids to have a better future than me but because food is more important education has to wait. I’m very afraid that my kids can never have the proper education, that they can never have a bright future.  I don’t want this life for them.”

We have until June 25 to collect backpacks, school supplies, clothing, and of course monetary donations to help with our 2010 Back 2 School Backpack Drive.  Below is a list of items that are needed. Contact us at if you would like to donate supplies or clothing.

New or Used Items Needed:

  • Children’s Clothing (for ages 4-12)
  • Backpacks
  • Pencils
  • Notebooks
  • Erasers
  • Chalk
  • Arts & Crafts Kits
  • Textbooks (K-6, all subjects)
  • Teacher’s Manuals (all subjects)
  • Dictionaries
  • Encyclopedias
  • Books (Fiction and Non-Fiction, K-6 levels)
  • Educational Videos or DVDs
  • Educational Games (Scrabble, etc.)
  • Flash Cards (all types)

You can also make a tax deductible donation through Paypal by visiting our website, or by mailing a check. A $20 donation will cover school uniforms, supplies, and fees for one student for one year.

We visited Barangay Panapaan, one of the impoverished areas in Bacoor, Cavite, last Friday June 4, 2010. I had to climb a wall to reach where they live because the owner of the lot across the street took their right of way; a narrow alley that leads them to their home because they’re considered squatters and they have no rights, hundreds of them. They live in makeshift houses near a river with muddy water overflowing with garbage.  A lump formed in my throat and I had to struggle to hold back my tears as a group of kids swam and played in this filthy river. It’s heart wrenching to see their living conditions. It breaks my heart, these are real faces, real people, no one deserves to live like that, but the fact remains that the poorest of the Philippines poor live among mountains of garbage and families are scavenging just to survive. The gap between the rich and the poor is immeasurable, but even though these children been through so much over the years I saw smiles on their faces. They greeted me with open arms, hugs, laughter and so much love. I felt the sense of hope and the resilience that exists in each of the people that I met in this area.  Filipinos do not easily give up; they are fighters and survivors and they have the ability to face even the most difficult tests in life with a cheery smile. It’s a sad world, but happiness exists no matter how or where you live. The root and cause of poverty will likely not change in our lifetimes, but I am more inspired and motivated now to help get these kids in school because education is a major tool for these children to help themselves. Let’s save as many as we can.

Schools in the Philippines are classified according to the level and type of curriculum. There are 3 major levels: elementary, secondary and tertiary.  Preschool levels like nursery school and kindergarten are offered in private schools and daycare centers, but are not required to enter primary school. Public schools are subsidized by the government to provide free education at lower levels and to help with the cost of education in higher levels.

While basic education is free in the Philippines, additional fees, books, school uniforms and school supplies are not and are a heavy burden for many families to bear.  They can’t even afford the most basic needs such as clean water, food and nutrition, health care, clothing and shelter.  Having an education continues to be out of reach for many impoverished children.  It breaks my heart because without an education there is little hope for them to escape poverty.

School year begins the second week of June, and my goal is to help over 300 in-need children to be able to attend school.  For as little as $20.00 you can give a child a head start toward a better future.

I came across this article on CNN the other day about Smokey Mountain in Manila which really resonated with what we are trying to do here at Children’s Hope Fund. It illustrates many of the problems regarding how pervasive poverty is in the Philippines, and how it affects children and their ability to get an education in order to one day escape it and have a better life. That is one of our core beliefs here at CHF – that education is the key for these kids.

Smokey Mountain is basically a mountain of garbage. It was closed in 1990 and high-rise housing projects went up around it, but many people live on and around the “mountain”, scavenging amongst the garbage to survive. The children the author met while there do not go to school because their parents can’t afford the cost. While public schools are free to attend, there are additional fees such as school supplies, books, uniforms, food, etc., which many parents are unable to pay for.

Children’s Hope Fund is trying to help with this problem by supplying school supplies to “in-need” children like those mentioned in the article and, through our meals program, provide them a healthy meal once a month. It’s a story which plays out every day in the Philippines, where over half the population lives below the poverty line, and many live in conditions which we in the USA would find difficult to comprehend.

Parents angry that their children were not given enough rice, as authorities promised. (source: Associated Press, via

Manila : A group of parents torched a school in the central Philippines after complaining their children weren’t given the food promised by a government program aimed at boosting school attendance, police said on Tuesday.

The gutted walls were all that remained of the one-story Gaib Elementary School in Masbate island province, said provincial police chief Ed Benigay.

No one was hurt because the school was empty when it burned down overnight, he said.

“It was done by some disgruntled parents who reportedly got mad at some teachers over perceived discrimination in the school’s nourishment program,” he said.

He said the parents accused the teachers of not giving their children enough rice.

Under the government’s Food for School program that seeks to encourage school attendance, each student in impoverished areas is supposed to be given a kilo of rice every day.

The arson left nearly 150 students aged 5-10 without a classroom, Benigay said, adding that important records also were lost.

Police said no arrests have been made but they will file charges soon.

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