University of St. La Salle in partnership with Daegu University, South Korea held their culminating activity yesterday, January 17, at Cody Hall B, USLS-Bacolod.
Korean volunteer students were given recognition of their service in teaching public school pupils in Villa Esperanza Elementary School, Tayabas Elementary School, and Alberto Arceo Elementary School. Also, they visited Bahay Pag-asa Youth Center – Granada and Sto. Niño Orphanage. With the help of head delegating officers, Ms. Seonmi Sim and Dr. Jeongho Daniel Cha, 9 students were applauded for their tireless effort to share their Korean culture and tradition to the children. The students were Kim Gahyun, Nam Deogwon, Bae Hayeong, Oh Minkyeong, Je Minki, Son Changbin, Oh Jiwon, Yoo Giyoung, and Choi Jiye. They shared colorful arts and cultural materials in varied activities: Writing a secret letter, learning Korean with scratch paper, making national flag handkerchief, making fun and cool fan, making Jegi, funny corn, pretty things with beads, and doing the slab match. They also helped clean several classrooms at Tayabas Elementary School after it has been under flood and served students food at the end of the session.
They would call themselves, “Team Avengers”, traveling Bacolod and reaching out to public schools to share their talents and knowledge to the little kids. Their mission is to “Play, Learn, and Dream Together” with the children.
Ms. Leizel Del Sol, Language Learning Program Coordinator, was holding back her tears as she facilitated and hosted the program with performances from the Jean Baptiste Dance Company and a dance number from the Korean students wiggling their way to the tunes of famous K-Pop songs. The Koreans reminisced their 10-day experience as they watched a video of what they did during their short stay here in Bacolod.
The event was graced by the presence of Mr. Geoffrey Bob P. Bergante, Vice Chancellor for Mission and Development, as he also shared his warm message to the delegates. “You have made a difference in the lives of the young Filipino pupils.” Mr. Bergante said.
David and Jane, two of the student volunteers, shared their experience on behalf of the other Korean students. “We learned many things from their love and patience. [The] children are always thankful for everything even in small things,” David said. “They [the children] are always doing their best and we are touched by their sincerity.”
Jane also shared her thoughts on how she hopes to have more impact in the lives of the children because the little kids brought them a lot of change in their hearts and minds. “Even if we could not be a light for them, at least we made ourselves a part of their lives.”
Head delegating officers, Seonmi Sim and Daniel Cha also imparted their messages of how proud of their students, at the same time, expressing their gratitude to the VCMD Unit through the Center for Linkages and International Affairs and the Language Learning Program of the University, for the warm welcome and the tedious task of preparing the entire activities and venues for the said volunteer work. Both parties are looking forward for another year of bonding and service whether it may be held in Korea or in the Philippines especially in the sports and cultural exchange.
The program was concluded by Ms. Jennifer D. Montero, Institutional Officer for the Center for Linkages and International Affairs. “We are an Asian family, we feel each other, and we are blessed that they [the Koreans] can feel our children, especially after learning that some of the pupils walked for hours to reach schools” Ms. Montero said. She also expressed her sincere gratitude to the students, because of their fortitude and their flexibility to change some planned activities and instead helping clean the surroundings and classrooms after the flood. She also wished the students to continue praying for the realization of a summer trip to Korea for a cultural and sports exchange program.
After the ceremony, there were snacks and more dancing with some Liceo students and members of the John Baptiste De La Salle Dance Company, to celebrate before the volunteers fly back to Korea.