Organizations like the Rotary International are the spearheads against the growing issues of the world today. They, like other non-profit orgs, move to stop the social issues facing communities around the world; first to third world countries. Orgs like these organize, manage and uphold the projects they started and show no signs of stopping.

But that's just the catalyst of what's bigger.

If you think about it, they start it, they continue it but to what cause? What do these projects and efforts go to when the community itself doesn't do anything to uplift themselves from their predicament. 

Say for example a Club organizes a feeding program as well as a job fair for a not-so-well-off community. This said community doesn't have any source of income what so ever and is given the chance to have one. They don't take the opportunity and just go with the feeding program. What good did that do? Will they just wait in hunger for another feeding program?

The bottomline is that in order to achieve the goals and to eradicate said social issues like poverty, environment destruction, illiteracy and a lot more, the community and the population affected and not affected as well have to make a stand and do their part to solve the problem. 

These organizations like the Rotary Club International may open the chance to do something about these issues, but it is the people themselves that have to finish the job.

That glimmer of hope can only go so far. But in time, that glimmer may die off and just leave the world in complete darkness. People need to grab that opportunity and just go for it; end their predicament.

Hope is just the beginning. Sheer effort  and dedication to solve the problem is what ends it.
PictureMembers of Rotary Club with the Kids
"Service above self"

This is the infamous motto of the Rotary Club International. Pretty straight forward and anyone can tell what it means; putting others before themselves.

The goal of Rotary International is to remedy the social issues of the world whether it be local or an international issue. Putting the well being of the community first before its own concerns.

That's why Rotary Clubs like the one in Marikina organize these types of projects; to ensure that something is being done to achieve the goal of the International body. Whether it may be as simple as giving gifts or extending efforts to cure the Polio endemic in the country (which Rotary did in 1979).

Talking to my dad, a member and past president of the Rotary Club of Marikina, local Rotary Clubs has a theme each year concerning issues of the local community. This year, their theme concerns the environment and education. Now each of these clubs, not only in Marikina, has a budget to utilize in order to organize projects to aid the cause of the theme. Examples are medical missions, funding other projects, scholarship programs and the like.

But these projects wouldn't be possible without individuals willing and motivated to act and put themselves after the community. That is why individuals who are believed to have the skills and dedication to make a difference are invited to join. No one can volunteer.

It's these individuals who have the capacity to make things happen in the fight against the issues at hand; competent and dedicated individuals.

There's a difference between giving with something in return and giving just out of good will. The later is wayyyy better.

The feeling is still fresh after our block's exposure trip. After that grueling, fun morning of smiles and running around, I was drained. But that didn't stop me from witnessing another round of holiday magic; the magic of giving. 

During the Christmas season, as the birth of our Christ is nearing, there is a calling to be kind and generous to everyone and do our part to live in the way of Christ. It is in this way that we are preparing ourselves to  welcome Jesus yet again in our hearts.

One way to prepare is to share blessings, share kindness and practice generosity through charity.

On the afternoon of December 14, 2013, the Rotary Club of Marikina District 3800 launched its gift giving activity. It is an annual project of the club that, in the spirit of the Christmas season, the club does its part to give joy and live up to the holiday spirit.

The project doesn't only give gifts. It's just one of the programs prepared by the club. The project is basically a birthday party for kids. First there was, ofcourse the food to give to the kids to fuel their little, hyper bodies for the games on deck and after some of the kids are done, the games start. 

Me and my dad got there in the middle of it all just before they gave out the gifts. Before all of them went their to their respective homes, there are gifts prepared by the club to be given away. These gifts consists of mostly toys, well because they're kids. Accompanied by their guardians, they lined up ever so excitedly and waited their turn. One by one they got their gifts and you know that they're happy.

Like our exposure trip in the morning, the sight was familiar. Kids, games and smiles. Smiles all around. And that's what I realized, this is all about.
The smiles and laughter of children may be the most wonderful thing  in the world.

No one can witness a joyful child and not be happy at the sight. It's just pure innocent at work. When you get a taste of it, you keep wanting more especially when you're the cause of such joy.

Our exposure trip as a block (Block C2) is what led me to see more of those precious smiles. We were assigned a kid or two and we as individuals had to take care of them and play with them for a certain period of time.

It was chaos. Children running all over the place and us chasing after them. If you don't have good cardio, you're in trouble. Once you caught them, they would just run off again in sheer joy with laughter trailing them...little devils. They would ask you to carry them at the same time and ask to go round and round with you and then make you chase them some more.

It was the happiest time in college so far.

You can just feel the joy, happiness and laughter all over the place and yes, saying joy wasn't enough. Despite the sweat, exhaustion and dirt on my shirt, I was happy. Not the sort of happy that's temporary but the sort of happy that sticks with you and the sort of happy that you don't need people to approve of. Just knowing that I were there, I did it, and I lived it is enough for me to smile when I remenisce. 

That's why in the season of giving and joy, I looked for that sensation yet again and I succeeded. 

In a time of national crisis, I often wonder where to place myself within this great jigsaw puzzle; whether to stay stagnant because of the thought that I wouldn't make a difference or do something, anything that has the slightest chance to offer some help.
The recent disaster of Haiyan shook everyone; even the world. This event has proven to be one of the most devastating natural disasters that ever hit the Philippines. Everything that the survivors ever had had been literally swept away by the super typhoon, from their homes, schools, clothes and bed including their hopes. Although there are numerous relief efforts organized and still on going to aid and support the people  of Visayas, the spirits of the people  affected is priority number one. Material assistance can only go a long way for the survivors.

The drive to move on is what must be reestablished. That drive is hope. That, I can do.

I am limited to about everything in my life, mostly by my parents (teenagers will get this). I can't do things that will really make a difference and I can't go to Visayas to help personally. Heck, I can't even go to a friend's house without  being reprimanded much more than going to another region. But what I can do is connect. The world is literally connected 24/7 by technology and this can be a vessel to inspire hope.

Letting people know that people care is already inspiration enough to stand and get going. Informing the survivors and other people locally and internationally that there are organizations like the Rotary Clubs of the Philippines are out here to help means that there is still hope. If people who weren't affected by the typhoon are moving, what reason do the survivors have just to stare in space? Bluntly, that would just be embarrassing in epic proportions; waiting for others to help but not willing to help themselves.

Hope is a very powerful motivation to keep going and it is commutative. One man can rise up and spark hope to a hundred.

Physically, I might not be there but I can still make a difference by sending a message: that there IS hope and that hope doesn't die. Especially with the Filipino people. Hey, that's just who we are.

Let's face it. This world isn't the perfect place all mankind wants it to be. This world is full of problems and challenges that not one man can solve it alone. In a world full of poverty, pollution, hate and injustice, how could one solve all of that? The only hope to scratch the surface of eradicating all these problems are working together hand-in-hand for the goal of creating a better place. 

That's just what this organization is doing.

The Rotary Club International is a non-profit organization that brings together professionals all over the world, to work and serve the community prior to themselves, hence their motto "Service Above Self."  The mission of Rotary is to promote friendship between its members and utilizing them to serve and create solutions to social problems.

The main goal of Rotary is to come up with solutions to social problems with the help of professionals all over the world. But what's interesting about Rotary is that it establishes and builds friendships in the community to do it. This organization started in Chicago in February 23, 1905 as a place where a diversity of professionals band together to share ideas and basically make friends. Fast forward to the future, this meeting of professionals now became an international organization that has made its mark in history by being present during World War II and the fight against Polio which started in the Philippines. Presently, there are literally Rotary Clubs all over the world and are continuing the commitment to serve others.

Seeing my dad and mom be a part of this organization has opened up my eyes to the impact of one district can do. Projects like medical missions, feeding programs and gift giving during the Holidays may seem mundane but imagine thousands of clubs doing this all over the world. The small impact of  simple projects can mean the collective blow against the war on social problems.

Amazing what you can do with a group of friends.