In a heartwarming gathering that emphasized the importance of education and collaboration, the Open Heart Foundation Worldwide Inc. (OHFWI) conducted its annual monitoring visit and scholarship meeting for the dedicated scholars and their supportive parents/guardians in Mati City, Davao Oriental. It was held on August 17, 2023, at the Visitors Information Center (former Menzi Beach). This activity served as a platform for inspirational sharing, relationship building, program evaluation, and accountability.
The meeting began with a prayer followed by a warm welcome from the two college beneficiaries, Ms. Ailyn Manlabiann and Ms. Cristine Joy Degamo Pontillas. They expressed gratitude to the OHFWI team, City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) and Local Youth Development Office (LYDO) Staff, fellow scholars, and parents/guardians. They introduced themselves by sharing their names, courses, year levels, and schools, along with their parents/guardians. Susie Bedia, the officer in charge of Mati, introduced each member of the monitoring team (both staff and BOT) and the representatives from CSWDO/LYDO. Ms. Francenn Marie Tamala Manatad, OHYM Mati President, spoke on behalf of the scholars, conveying their determination and appreciation for this life-changing opportunity.
The event’s keynote address was delivered by OHFWI’s four dedicated Board of Trustees namely Ms. Lilet Bermejo, Atty. Taya Guinto, Ms. Marlyn Fernando, and Dr. Carol Dacanay. It was a great privilege for our OHFWI beneficiaries to meet them during this monitoring visit. Their presence added significance to the event and manifested their commitment to OHFWI’s mission. Their messages were inspiring, emphasizing the value of education as a path to overcome challenges and achieve greatness. They encouraged scholars to believe in their potential, face adversity with resilience, and view setbacks as opportunities for growth.
Another significant highlight was a message of support from the CSWDO Head, Ms. Mae Belle Fontillas. She emphasized the importance of scholarships in providing equal educational opportunities and commended the scholars for their dedication. She also reaffirmed the City’s commitment to supporting their educational aspirations.
The meeting also had an interactive feedback session when scholars and parents/guardians shared their experiences. Scholars talked about their academic journeys, challenges, personal growth, and future goals. Parents expressed heartfelt gratitude for the financial assistance and guidance from the OHFWI scholarship program. This session emphasized the importance of the ongoing partnership between OHFWI and its scholars and showcased how scholarships positively impact individuals and families.
In recognition of her commitment and demonstration of responsible behavior, a Certificate of Appreciation was given to Ms. Erica Pinaca Wegan, OHYM Mati Vice President, for her consistent and punctual submission of all required documents with OHFWI. Her diligence in adhering to deadlines serves as a profound source of motivation to her fellow scholars, demonstrating the importance of taking responsibility and accountability.
Another highlight of the event was the orientation and signing of the scholarship Memorandum of Agreement for the School Year 2023-2024. This formal agreement clarified the scholarship’s terms and conditions, including academic performance, financial support, and other important obligations and requirements, ensuring a mutual understanding between OHFWI and the recipients.
As the activity ended, OHFWI expressed its heartfelt gratitude to Mr. Esnani Mai, Ms. Shannen, and Ms. Ding Francisco from the Local Youth Development Office for their invaluable help and expert coordination. Working alongside them, particularly KA Mai, who was designated by the local government as a Volunteer Coordinator for OHFWI beneficiaries, highlighted their unwavering commitment to OHFWI’s mission. They played pivotal roles in organizing the meeting, securing an excellent venue, providing essential equipment, and overseeing courtesy calls, all of which significantly contributed to the activity’s resounding success.
Following the successful activity, OHFWI Finance Staff, Jerry Rosalejos and Mark Dapilaga, efficiently distributed the scholars’ allowances, handed out donated shoes from Vans Philippines, and photographed each beneficiary for proper documentation.
The meeting was a celebration of dreams, determination, and teamwork. As these students begin the new school year with support from their families, the Open Heart Foundation is here to support and celebrate their achievements. Their dreams are important, their voices matter, and their futures merit the efforts we make for them.
All for God’s glory.
Prepared by: Susie Bedia, OIC OHYM Mati City