How to Bring Joy to 300 Underprivileged Children this Christmas
November 20, 2019

Dear friends and family,

Welcome to the latest edition of IT Tender's newsletter from Manila, Philippines. Follow along with us as we work together to transform at-risk children into agents of change.

Christmas Cheer for Children in Manila

Every Christmas, we bring joy to the streets of Manila through an epic Christmas party for the children. For just $10 you can send an underprivileged child to our Christmas party. Besides enjoying plenty of games, food and toys, the kids will also receive practical gifts which include groceries for their families, hygiene and school supplies.

At our past Christmas parties, we transformed the community into a Nativity scene, into a Winter Wonderland, and even into a Disneyland theme park. Each year, more and more children attend this highly-anticipated, themed party. This year we expect around 300 children and youth. With so many children and youth to bless, we will now divide the celebrations this December into four separate Christmas parties. We'll have a separate party for the daycare children, for the sponsor children and their siblings, for all the youth, and lastly for the youth volunteers of IT Tender.

For the theme we'll enjoy a "Chrismas Carnival!" For most street kids in Manila, it's just a dream to be able to go to the circus. This is why our party will feature carnival games, a bouncy castle, and entertaining shows performed by our youth with songs from "The Greatest Showman".

Thank you for your compassion in helping us raise $3,000 to bring joy this Christmas to 300 kids and youth in Manila.

The children's Christmas parties at IT Tender are not only a great experience for the kids, but these events are also designed to be a learning and leadership opportunity for the youth. As sponsor children at IT Tender become youth, they become leaders. Throughout the year they volunteer in our daycare and feeding programs. In the summer, the youth teach and lead workshops for younger children in music, dance, visual arts, literacy and more. In December, they run the Christmas parties for the kids! They plan and lead the games, they practice and perform the dramas and musical numbers, and they distribute the food and gifts.

Volunteerism for the youth of IT Tender allows them to step out of their own comfort zones and care for others outside of their family, to develop good relationships with others and to make an impact in their community. The Christmas parties are thus another avenue where they develop confidence, skills and greater empathy for others.

Get Smart from the Start

In September, we relaunched our early childhood education programs with new and improved curriculums, materials and renovations of our center. Before children enter our preschool, we have a program called SMART Kids for ages 0-2.

SMART Kids provides infants and toddlers with meaningful learning in a positive, warm and nurturing environment. They learn to make choices and become deeply engaged in constructing their own knowledge. Within our play-based, interactive environment learning takes place in a social context as the child explores materials, asks questions, makes predictions, experiments and assesses outcomes.

What's unique about SMART Kids is that it is a family-focused community where the mother or father of each child actively joins each session. Through this hands-on approach, the parents bond with their child and develop greater responsibility and involvement in their child's education from an early age.

According to Unicef, "Under-nutrition in the Philippines remains a serious problem. The damage to health, physical growth and brain development of children affected by chronic under-nutrition - stunting in the first two years - is often irreversible, impairing them for life and leaving them with lower chances of finishing school and becoming highly-productive adults." Thus, we feed the children a healthy meal at each session. This fills a gap in the nutrition of infants and toddlers in deprived communities.

After SMART Kids, children move up to our Simula Daycare Center (SDC) - a preschool for children ages 3-5. "Simula" is Tagalog for "beginnings", and SDC provides an early start for children to grow emotionally, physically, socially, creatively and cognitively. SDC offers experiences in dramatic (pretend) play, early literacy, art, numeracy, physical education, science, games and music. Equal value is given to all aspects of development. We offer a balanced, Unicef-approved curriculum with opportunities for small and large group activities, active and quiet play, structured and unstructured times and individual experiences as well as peer interactions.

A healthy meal is also served to the children each day at SDC. Most other feeding programs focus on children older than five years old. Again, missing these crucial, early years leads to permanent stunting in physical growth and brain development. Nutrition is thus an integral part of our preschool, and we monitor the height and weight of the students monthly throughout the school year.

After children graduate from the daycare, they join our "Sponsor-A-Child" program where donors can send them to local schools for just $25/month. This covers their daily transportation, annual school supplies, uniforms, medical check-ups, emergency hospital coverage and computer and internet access for assignments. Child sponsorship also provides child protection, disaster responsiveness, access to clean water, and proper nutrition through our feeding programs. If you are interested in learning more about sponsoring a child at IT Tender, you can contact John Coffey at (you may even request to view the profiles of the children on our waiting list in need of a sponsor).

Take care, and thank you for all your support and prayers.

- The IT Tender Family