Hello friends and family,
Welcome to the latest edition of IT Tender's newsletter. May you be inspired by these updates and stories of the transformation happening right here in our community in Manila, Philippines.
Youth Teaching Youth in Manila
School's out for the summer in Manila, but the children are still hungry to learn. During the months of April and May (summer break in Manila), the learning continues at IT Tender with our summer projects and events. The temperature reaches almost 40 degrees celsius, but that doesn't stop the children from packing into our drop-in center every day to learn more about literacy, music, dance, cooking and more!
Most of the summer projects are taught and led by our very own youth who are sponsored to go to school by donors and friends of Tender like you!
Besides the youth, a lot of awesome volunteers have assisted in leading the summer projects. John and Jam's neice from Canada, Chantal (preparing mango crepes above), volunteered at IT Tender for three weeks. Also, one of our regular volunteers and donors from the Philippines named Grace (in yellow below) took initiative to help lead the summer reading camp for the urban poor children in need of extra help with their literacy.
We still have another month of summer projects to enjoy. However, we need to raise another $2,300 for the rest of these projects to happen, culminating with a 3-day, 2-night kids camp from May 21-23 (aka "Wumba Camp"). We've pushed back the camp to the end of May to give us more time to raise funds and prepare.
These summer projects, including the camp, provide incredible opportunities for the youth to lead and for the children to learn, enjoy and thrive. We need your support and prayers for these final summer projects to happen. Gifts of any amount will help us reach the final $2,300 we need to raise! If you would like to give a donation towards these projects, simply click here for details on how to give (and kindly state "IT Tender General Fund" as the designation of your donation). All donors will receive tax receipts. You can also email John at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns on how to donate.
Witness the Transformation First-Hand
Besides Chantal and Grace, IT Tender was also graced with the volunteerism of a Canadian donor and friend named Mike. In fact, Mike has made multiple trips to Manila just to serve, mentor and encourage our youth. He also took the time to write this kind letter about his experiences serving at Tender...
"My life in Canada is such a far cry from my most recent two-week stay with IT Tender. I have participated side-by-side (sometimes a step or two behind) its fine staff and spirited youth volunteers. From home visits/evaluations, to basketball fellowship between Tender kids and a partner orphanage, to the feeding program in Sucat, to the guiding and mentoring of teens - all are so valuable to each of the participants and a welcome break from what are the very trying and difficult lives of the children and youth of these communities.
The home visits are so important, keeping a connection with each family - a friendship, a trust. These families all were so welcoming and so graciously and proudly shared with me, a stranger, their hospitality, their humble homes, and their families. It truly speaks to a home being where the heart is.
Saturday and Sunday mornings start with the feeding program. But not only are nutritional needs met with wholesome, hot meals, but spiritual needs too and the general well-being of some 35 children each morning. None of this could happen without the youth volunteers, some of whom are in at 5 A.M. to cook whilst others are on-site making preparations. What a team!
Perhaps for me the most noteworthy and most touching part of my stay was the interaction with staff, youth volunteers, children and families. A spirit, a kinship, prevails. A love and caring for others and community. Events, activities, programs are all so important, but without the trust and respect of the community, IT Tender could not continue. Rest assured, Tender works hard every day to maintain and increase the trust. And they are succeeding."
- "Kuya" (big brother) Mike (...*pics of Mike with the youth below)
Unity in Family
(Article by Jericho B - Youth Volunteer and Sponsor Child)
Praise God, we successfully ran our third family camp for the children and families of the Sponsor-A-Child program. Before entering "Noah's Park Resort", the 35 families gathered for a brief orientation by the staff. Then, everyone enjoyed some free time to take beautiful pictures of the scenery, enjoy lunch, brave the hanging bridge and tackle a garden maze.
After that, we called the families together for some team building activities. The games were all about achieving unity. Following that, we enjoyed our favorite part - swimming! You could see the joy in their faces as the children rush down the water slides and the youth leap into the wave pool. I particularly enjoyed watching boys play basketball with their fathers.
The highlight of the event was the seven youth who declared their dedication to Christ through baptism. We bring back all the honor and praise to God for this amazing opportunity. Even just for a couple days, these families were able to have quality time to bond with their loved ones and also their friends and neighbors.
*To see more pictures from the family day event, click here to visit John and Jam's "Coffey Press" blog article
Thank you for all your support and prayers.
- The IT Tender Family