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Monitoring

Monitoring Visit in San Fernando, Romblon

Just like a smooth sail after the heavy rain, the same feeling we felt after almost 3 years of waiting to conduct this monitoring visit in San Fernando, Romblon. It’s always smoother to conduct an activity in face-to-face mode.

The baby faces whom we interviewed before are now on their last year in tertiary education and some are about to graduate.

During the visit which was held on May 24, 2022, preliminary activities were done. A short activity of human bingo brought a lighter mood among the beneficiaries for they were all eager to know more about the talents and experiences of their fellow scholars. Seeing them face to face and interacting with them in the same environment bring a different level of interaction and communication.  

One of the purposes of the monitoring visit is to gather students’ and parents’ feedback/evaluation for the School Year 2021-2022. This is one way of knowing what aspects we need to improve on and aspects to continue. Some scholars shared their struggles and how they survived the crucial times. It has been a challenging year for those who had their practicum and on-the-job training off-campus. But all hardships paid off when 2 from the Graduating batch got the award of  Cum Laude, Ms. Meljoy Ticala and Cindy Romlon. Also, Ferlyn Monton and Rocelyn Rino got the award With Distinction and our 3rd-year scholars, Mr. Mark Encinares, Carra Shanen N. Rezano, and Claudine R. Banzuelo are Dean’s Listers.

The parents also shared the struggles and challenges they encountered and how they overcame them for they became stronger and more ready to face whatever comes.   They acknowledged the financial assistance and the learnings of their children from the organization during the virtual meetings and activities. All parents and graduates of Batch 2022 shared the joy they feel with a thankful heart.

The Program Area Coordinator shared a motivational story entitled “The Group of Frogs”. The moral value of the story is: there is no gain without pain. So always try harder to achieve success despite what life offers you. Always remember as well that yourself is your greatest enemy when you feed yourself with negative thoughts. If you feel discouraged, take time to talk to yourself and be motivated to do more. Never get tired to reach your goal.

Mark Encinaries shared his thoughts and learning insights as well. Also, he suggested that they would love to invite some friends and requested leadership training for the next webinar of Open Heart Foundation.

The selection of new officers for the Open Heart Youth Movement for Romblon was conducted since most of the officers are about to graduate. Officers are, President: Mark Angelo Encinares,V-President: Janette O. Rago,Secretary: Carra Shannen N. Rezano,Treasurer: For San Fernando: Claudine Banzuelo,For Cajidiocan: Gabrielle Hannah Rey,Auditor: Christine Jane Rey and P.I.O. : Jun Carlo Regla.

Ms. Rosalinda Tabios-Perez, the Executive Director of the Open-Heart Foundation cited that she wants all the scholars to become successful someday, finish their studies and find decent jobs so that they may be able to help their families in the future. That was the goal of the Open Heart Foundation, to help one student in a family and that scholar will alleviate her family from the clutches of poverty. They must pay it forward to their siblings and other families as well. To the graduating batch, she challenged them to strive further, because finishing their college education is just the beginning of their life’s journey. They are expected to lead their communities in the future.

After the activity, OHF Finance Staff, Markben Dapilaga disbursed their monthly allowance and distributed also the small token for the volunteer coordinators of San Fernando and Cajidiocan Romblon.

The Open Heart Scholars of San Fernando and Cajidiocan Romblon with their parents and OHF Volunteers and from Left (sited) Ms. Wilhelmina Molo, Dr. Emelia B. Ramos-The RSU Campus Director, Ms. Rosalinda Perez-OHF Executive Director and Davilyn Fajardo-Program Area Coordinator.

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Monitoring

Catarman Visit: A first face-to-face meeting worth sharing.

The 10 college beneficiaries from Catarman, Northern Samar together with their parents finally met with the OHF team led by ED Linda Perez and Program Area Coordinator (PAC), Janette Corollo in a face-to-face meeting on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, at the MSWD Office of Catarman.  This meeting is the first since the students’ admission to the program because of travel restrictions imposed during the pandemic. 

The scholarship started in Catarman, Northern Samar in June 2019 through the coordination with the LGU and Ms. Irmina Delorino, Municipal Social Welfare Development Officer.  10 deserving students are supported in their studies through monthly school allowances.  Most of them are studying at the University of Eastern Philippines (UEP), a state university located in the municipality. 

Though there were no monitoring visits conducted for the 2 years, OHF’s support for their studies continues.  Communication is maintained through social media platforms and virtual meetings.  The beneficiaries’ commitment to the Foundation is shown in their cooperation, determination, and perseverance despite facing challenges to adapt to new normal learning. 

The meeting is also a celebration for the recently concluded school year where two of the scholars graduated.  Maria Rosalina Tanzo finished BS Community Development while John Renz Lawrence Alfonso graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Bachelor in Secondary Education major in Filipino.   Both shared about their journey as students and plans for their future as they are expected to enter the workforce.

Parents and beneficiaries expressed overwhelming feelings of happiness, relief, and gratitude to the Foundation.  Their words of appreciation and the tears of joy shed as they share the journey are deeply felt.  This inspires the Foundation to continue to serve more deserving children and families to have better opportunities ahead. 

This is not only OHF’s success but more so, to the beneficiaries who worked hard to sow their future, and their parents, who walked hand-in-hand and supported their children’s endeavors. Cheers to this first face-to-face meeting, that is surely one of the best experiences worth sharing!

Prepared by: Janette C. Corollo, RSW, Program Area Coordinator

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Monitoring

Monitoring Visit in Bangued, Abra

On June 1, 2022, the Open Heart Foundation (OHF) team led by its Executive Director, Mrs. Rosalinda T. Perez, went to Bangued, Abra and had a meeting with beneficiaries in the area. Due to the pandemic and travel restrictions for two years, online communication has been a great help for the continuous monitoring of these beneficiaries. The strong partnership between the LGU of Bangued and the Open Heart Foundation resulted in well-monitored program implementation. OHF is grateful for the assistance of the LGU  MSWD Officer, Ms. Aiza Borgonia and volunteer coordinator  Ma’am Myrna Borgonia who supervised them. It was only during this time that the OHF team had a chance to meet with them again face to face.

During the meeting, the beneficiaries shared updates on their studies and the challenges they encountered during their online and modular classes. Two of the beneficiaries were expected to graduate on June 24. We also discussed their plans to conduct a community project as members of the Open Heart Youth Movement.

Moreover, one of the agenda of the meeting was to gather student’s feedback of their experiences in the program for the SY 2021-2022. Through this evaluation, we will know what areas that need improvement and aspects to continue.

Highlighting the activity was the words of encouragement from Ma’am Linda. It was also during the meeting where the student-beneficiaries received their monthly allowance facilitated by OHF’s finance bookkeeper Mark Ben. Likewise, a token of appreciation was given to the volunteer coordinator.

Prepared by: Cheryl P. Ocampo, Program Area Coordinator 1

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Monitoring

Orientation on OHF and CYDP, and MOA Signing in Luna, La Union

True to its mission, vision, and goal, the Open Heart Foundation admitted ten new Children and Youth Development Program beneficiaries. These students are from a new partner Local Government Unit, Municipality of Luna in the province of La, Union.

In a visit conducted on May 31, 2022, the new set of CYD Program Beneficiaries had an orientation on the background of the Foundation, the Children and Youth Development Program, and the Agreement or “Kasunduan”. Parents and the students were oriented about their roles and responsibilities while they are part of the CYD Program. Beneficiaries are expected to study hard and avoid getting failing grades or GWA below 83%; Parents shall support the needs of their children, not only financially but also to provide guidance morally; and the Foundation to give monthly educational support in the form of monthly allowances and conducts training or seminars to empower them. The latter part of the orientation was the election of officers for the Open Heart Youth Movement…the nationwide organization of OHFWI beneficiaries.

In her closing remarks, our Executive Director, Ma’am Linda Perez, posed a challenge to all the new beneficiaries. They should aim to finish school and seek employment after graduation in order to help their parents support the financial needs of their families. Helping in the education of a sibling is a way of paying forward the benefits and support given by the Open Heart Foundation.  

On the other hand, seeing the beneficiaries graduate and be successful in life is enough inspiration and motivation for the Foundation to continue its programs and services for children.

Prepared by: Jay Frank Diaz, RSW, Program Area Coordinator 1

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Monitoring

Monitoring Visit in Lobo, Batangas

Open Heart Foundation’s partnership with the Jaybanga Integrated National High School started way back in 2007.  Under the Children and Youth Development Program (CYDP), OHF supports Senior High School/College students from Jaybanga Integrated National High School for the academic year 2021-2022, a total of 15 students are being supported.

Before the actual visitation, careful coordination with the volunteer coordinator and school Head of Jaybanga Integrated National High School was done.  They helped the OHF team to inform and gather the students since signals/connection is one of the problems in the area.

On April 27, 2022, the Monitoring Team of Open Heart Foundation consists of the following:  The Executive Director Ms. Linda, 2 of the Admin Finance Jerry and Mark, and 2 of the Program Area Coordinators (PAC) Mae and Frank went to Jaybanga Integrated National High School and assisted by the School Head and the Volunteer coordinator.

The PACs conducted a face-to-face first learning session in Lobo Batangas for this year 2022 entitled Mental Health Resilience. The objective of this session is to heighten the participants’ understanding and awareness on how to adapt to environmental stress based on conscious or unconscious choice and that enhances control over behavior or gives psychological comfort.

As the attendees are in the room, the PACs started the program with a getting to know you portion, since this is the first meeting of the PACs and the Beneficiaries of Lobo. The Session turned to discussion and sharing of their experiences.  The School head participated and shared to everyone her experience on how she became resilient in life.

The PAC shares 5 tips on how to become mentally healthy, thus, resilient while there are challenges encountered in life. The 5 tips are being self-aware, being nice to yourself, create a good habit, practice gratitude/optimism, and reach out for help.  Under the number 1 tip, the participants were encouraged to have a self-reflection and ponder the question presented to them. What am I trying to achieve in my life, what am I doing that slowing me down and what can I do to change.  Most of the participants wants to achieve their dreams like being able to graduate and help their families at the earliest possible time. One thing that slowing them down was having low self-esteem and the problem of internet connection that affect their online submission of requirements.  They challenged themselves to be more optimistic and remain focused on their studies.

In the latter part, they were grouped into 2 to share their good habits that strengthen their mental health. Most of the good habits were playing sports games, praying, exercising, and dancing. They challenged themselves to establish good habits like sending inspirational quotes and having kamustahan to each other.  The PAC encouraged them to apply all of those 5 tips to help them be more resilient in their mental health.

Challenges are what makes life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes a life meaningful.

Prepared by: Maejorie U. Ortega, RSW, Program Area Coordinator 1

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Monitoring

Bukidnon Visit: Meeting our Tigwahanon scholars.

As the travel restrictions loosened up, OHF took the opportunity to visit the Tigwahanon scholars on March 17, 2022. The monitoring team was led by ED Rosalinda Perez with the equally hardworking Board of Trustees, Dr. Carol Dacanay (Chairman), Ms. Marlyn Fernando (Secretary), and Atty. Natalia Guinto (Treasurer).  The team had a day rich with productive-fun-learning and heart-warming interaction with the 5 OHF scholars, their parents, and the other 18 Tigwahanon scholars of the New Tribes Mission (NTM) Philippines, our partner. 

OHF presently supports 5 Tigwahanon scholars from the Manobo tribe in the mountain ranges of San Fernando, Bukidnon. This became possible through our partnership with the New Tribes Mission (NTM) Philippines, a faith-based non-government organization working with the tribe since 2011.

Its partnership with NTM Phils. started in 2018 supporting 14 Junior High School Tigwahanon students.  Yet, the existing cultural practice of marrying off at an early age, trimmed down the 14 to 5 scholars at present.   During the visit, OHF reinstated its continued support to remaining scholars with the meeting held between OHF Exec. Director and Board of Trustees and NTM Head Pastor, Allan Capili and his team for the final discussions on the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the 2 organizations. 

The meeting with the OHF scholars and their parents was heart-warming.  The scholars shared the challenges faced with their studies during the new learning set-up brought about by the pandemic, how the NTM staff assisted them with their studies, and how the Foundation’s support inspired them to continue.  Their parents shared heartfelt stories of sacrifices, words of encouragement, and support to their children to pursue their education despite their limitations.  They expressed their gratitude to both OHF and NTM for the support to their children because as they mentioned, ‘the children may not be able to reach high school if only through their support.  In response, OHF Board Members, Dr. Carol, and Ms. Marlyn gave messages of encouragement and inspiration to the group.

OHF Executive Director, Ms. Linda Perez, also committed to continue the monthly allowance provided to the 5 scholars.  And to help augment meeting academic requirements of our college scholar who is the first in their tribe to reach college and the 2 others who will be in college next school year, she also promised to provide laptop units to use.    

The day ended with an interactive, fun-filled learning experience with the 23 Tigwahanon youth who attended the learning session on UNCRC and Child Rights and Responsibilities conducted by Program Area Coordinator (PAC) in charge, Ms. Janette Corollo, RSW.  Discussed were the widely recognized international human rights treaty signed by 198 nations, the UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child), the 4 basic fundamental rights of the child, and the corresponding responsibilities. 

From this session, the Tigwahanon youth participants shared that they were able to recognize that they are entitled to these rights. It made them aware that they should take the opportunities provided by the government and other organizations that offer free education, and health services and in participating in activities that would allow them to express their thoughts and opinions.  Likewise, they learned the need to be ‘disciplined’ and ‘respectful’ and ‘responsible’ in fulfilling their roles in accordance with these rights’. As a token, the participants received a personal hygiene kit. 

The visit was certainly a fruitful experience for the OHF team.  Special thanks to the warm welcome, Pastor Allan Capili, wife Ms. Lorena, and the volunteer staff, Ms. Edcar Frondozo, who are always there to assist the Foundation.  Most especially to the Tigwahanon youth and parents – continue to strive hard and support one another. 

Prepared by: Janette C. Corollo, RSW, Program Area Coordinator 1

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Monitoring

Monitoring Visit in Sarangani

The Open Heart team was impressed by the hospitality and generosity of the Provincial Social Welfare office shown by the head of the agency, Ms. Raquel Panal together with her staff during the Foundation’s visit on the 15th of March 2022.

The Open-Heart Foundation team headed by the Executive Director, Rosalinda T. Perez was met at the General Santos airport and was brought to the Provincial Capitol where a sumptuous lunch was waiting to be served.  During the visit, a “kumustahan” took place with the scholars and some of the parents/guardians by the assigned program area coordinator, Ms. Davilyn Fajardo.

Ms. Panal expressed her thanks to the Open Heart team for extending the scholarship program to the qualified college students in Alabel, Sarangani, and Malapatan, Sarangani thru a Certificate of Appreciation. Members of the Board of Trustees, management, and staff of Open Heart witnessed the occasion.

The “kumustahan” was a feedbacking mechanism to know how the students managed to adopt the changes and adjust themselves to the challenges they encountered along the way. Most of them shared their struggles, learnings, and achievements as they strive to overcome the online and modular learning setup because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Their stories showed how hard their situation was during the crisis.  The parents were very participative for they also shared their part as well on how they helped their children get their modules in school since the students were not allowed to go out. Financial struggles were real, because of the distance of the school from their places and the constraints of movement because of the lack of vehicles to transport them.

One of the Board of Trustees, Atty Natalia Guinto encouraged and inspired the students by communicating with them in their local dialect. It added more fun for the students and parents as they listened to the words of wisdom on how to overcome their challenges as they face the realities of life. The challenge was for them to finish their studies, whatever it takes. “Maningkamot gyud mo nga makahuman og pag skwela samtang naa pa ang Open Heart Foundation nga andam mo tabang sa inyo”.

The Executive Director, Rosalinda T. Perez, and the OHF Program Area Coordinator, RSW Ms. Janette Corollo, interviewed student applicants who were hoping that they also are accommodated by the scholarship program.

The scholars grabbed the opportunity to have snapshots with the whole team of the Open Heart Foundation and the Province of Social Welfare Development Office.

The last batch of Junior students, Princesa Vicente, Ben Balasian, and Charlene Dala in Sarangani, received a package of Smart Wifi and Five hundred pesos load as part of their supply from the organization.

Also, the Open Heart Foundation donated an anti-covid kit package to the Provincial Social Welfare and Development office, handed out by the Executive Director (Left) while the secretary of the board, Marlyn Fernando (Right) looked on.

It was indeed a fruitful day to meet the beneficiaries face to face visit in the Province of Saranggani.

Prepared by: Davilyn Fajardo, Program Area Coordinator 1

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Monitoring

Monitoring Visit in Masbate

It was indeed a great time meeting the scholars face to face after two years of the Covid-19 pandemic. This batch was interviewed online and was evaluated based on criteria set by the Foundation. It was a pleasant experience, just talking to these students and knowing their stories about the challenges they encountered in their studies and the sacrifices their families have gone through. 

They were happy and excited to meet the officers and staff of the Open Heart Foundation. They have introduced themselves and their parents/guardians who were also invited to go with them during the monitoring meeting. A short message from the Executive Director, Rosalinda T. Perez,  inspired them to excel in their chosen field of career. Also with the group are members of the board of trustees, Doctor Carol Encarnacion Dacanay, the Chairman of the Board, and Atty Natalia Guinto the treasurer.

Also with the group from Masbate City was the volunteer Area Coordinator from the Municipal Social Welfare Office, Ms. Jennifer Guhilde.

The meeting was conducted in afternoon of the 28th of February 2022, at Ranchelle Hotel and Resort, Masbate City.

Prepared by: Davilyn Fajardo, Program Area Coordinator 1

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Monitoring

Monitoring Visit in Mati City, Davao Oriental

The Open Heart Foundation (OHF) took the opportunity to visit and monitor coverage areas when the IATF travel restrictions eased a bit.

On December 2, 2021, the monitoring team (composed of Ma’am Linda, Susie, Jerry and Mark) went to Mati City, Davao Oriental.  The team were assisted by CSWD SWO3 April Rabillo.  Before they started the lined up activities, they conducted courtesy call first at the office of the honorable Mayor Michelle Rabat.  Ma’am Linda discussed the programs and services which OHF has in Mati City as well as its progress.  After the courtesy call, the team had lunch with the beneficiaries and Ms. Rabillo.

The meeting began at 1:00 PM which was held at Mati National Comprehensive High School.  To start with, Hanni Melecio, OHYM Mati President, led an opening prayer.  To give opportunity to know each other, Susie introduced the monitoring team to the beneficiaries.  This was followed by an introduction of each beneficiary stating their name, course, and year level.

To address some issues and concerns, Susie initiated a rapport building/kumustahan with the beneficiaries.  As stated, almost all of them has already adjusted to the online classes but still prefers face to face classroom setting because online schooling is quite challenging.  However, this set up has taught them to be proactive and another advantage of this is that they can complete schooling at the comfort of their home.  Most of them are graduating this school year 2021-2022 thus they are willing to do everything and make necessary adjustments to adapt in the new normal.  Learning and coping were not easy in the midst of a pandemic but they chose to be optimistic despite the odds because they believe that these are meant to prepare and strengthen them.

The Executive Director, Ma’am Linda, also gave time to talk to the beneficiaries regarding special concerns particularly in getting their grades from the school.  Ma’am Linda expressed her support to them regarding any help OHF could extend specifically on the aforementioned concerns as it is one of the requirements for continuing their scholarship support from OHF.

After discussing all the lined up agendas, Mark led the distribution of allowance with corresponding proof of acknowledgment.

At the end of the meeting, the beneficiaries had a group picture with the staff as well as with SWO3 April Rabillo.

There is incredible value in being of service to others that is why OHF is pleased with every visit it makes to the areas where it operates.  In this way, we closely monitor the real and current situation of each child we support.

To God be all the glory!

Prepared by: Susie Bedia, Admin Officer

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Monitoring

Reaching out to children of former sugar cane farmers and hacienda workers in Western Visayas

Open Heart Foundation Worldwide Inc. (OHFWI) expanded its program in the Western Visayas region with the new partnership established with the City Social Welfare and Development Office in Sagay City and the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office in the municipality of Murcia in Negros Occidental last September 2019.

Known as the ‘Sugarbowl of the Philippines’ as it produces more than half of the nation’s sugar output, Negros Occidental is the second most populous province in the Visayas after Cebu, based on the 2015 Census (en.wikipedia.org). The wealth brought about by the sugar industry may have ensured that the Negrenses enjoy above-average standard of living, but such is only applicable for the land owners. Sugar cane farmers, the hacienda workers and their families remain in poverty, where education for their children is a rare opportunity.

With the expansion of the Children and Youth Development Program (CYDP) of the Open Heart Foundation in Murcia and Sagay City, it opened opportunities for the children of sugar cane farmers and hacienda workers to finish their education to become employable and productive members of the society, as in line with the OHF’s thrust for its more than 27 years of existence.

A total of 17 students from elementary to college are presently supported on their monthly allowances for the school year 2019-2020. OHF wishes to continue such support until they finish a degree in college, and later on help their families from the clutches of poverty.

Article prepared by Janette Corollo, RSW

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