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  • "I Get to be a Kuya Even Though I am the Bunso"

    Students of St. Edward Schools in Lancaster New City, Cavite can teach us a lot about what it means to share your blessings.
  • Smiles and good feelings were in abundance at the gift-giving activity for the kids of Children's Joy Foundation.

    "I am honored and glad to spread happiness and share love and blessings, and act as a big sister," said Julia Sincioco, an 11-year-old Grade 6 student of St. Edward Schools in Lancaster New City.

    The event was spearheaded by the team of Lancaster New City and the students of St. Edward Schools, held at Lancaster New City's Experience Center last December 18.

    Taking part in the gift-giving was doubly special for tenth-grader Glian Ilagan. "It's a pleasure to be part of this," said Glian. "I get to be a kuya even for a while, because at home I am the bunso."

    St. Edward Schools is a co-educational private school located inside Lancaster New City in Cavite.

    Children's Joy Foundation is a home in Imus, Cavite that houses and educates underprivileged youngsters and those who have been temporarily entrusted by parents to the foundation's care.

    The gift-giving project was also an initiative of the Student Affairs Council of St. Edward Schools.

    Alyanna Sarinas and Xyries Legaspi, both 15 years old and in Grade 10, were among the student leaders who shared their time with the Children's Joy kids.

    "Pagdating ng panahon, babalikan namin itong araw na ito na may ngiti sa aming mga labi dahil may naibahagi kami sa mga bata (Time will come when we will look back on this day with a smile on our lips because we shared time with the children.)," declared Xyries.

    The activity was indeed an opportunity to demonstrate the true meaning of Christmas. "At iyan po ay ang pagdating ni Hesukristo (And that is the birth of Jesus Christ.)," remarked Grade 11 student Mico Pinlac. "Pinapatotoo po namin ang pagdating ni Hesus sa pamamagitan ng aming pakikipag-kapwa sa kanila (We make the love of Jesus real by sharing with them.)."

    The gift-giving kicked off with a salu-salo of spaghetti and fried chicken and other yummy treats. Boys and girls of Children's Joy dined with employees of Profriends (the real estate developer of Lancaster New City). This was followed by performances by St. Edward's Dance Troupe and One Sound, one of the school's singing groups.

    As the day's program host emphasized, "Hindi lang ang mga taga-St. Edward Schools ang talented (The students of St. Edward Schools are not the only ones who are talented.)." The kids of Children's Joy serenaded the audience with Christmas carols and swayed to a lively (and much applauded) power dance number before unveiling their finale: a rousing rendition of the heartwarming song "Children of Yesterday's Dream."

    The day was capped with St. Edward Schools students giving gifts to the kids of Children's Joy. The presents were new toys that included stuffed animals, balls, dolls, plastic blocks, and toy cars that were personally wrapped by the St. Edward Schools students.

    The most touching sights that day, however, were the bonding moments of the kids with the Edwardians. The kids happily frolicked in the playground while their St. Edward Schools ates and kuyas watched with equal delight. The Edwardians also took selfies with their younger sisters and brothers from Children's Joy.

    Social diligence is one of the traits that the school aims to instill in its students. St. Edward Schools has adopted a community of informal settlers in La Presa, in General Trias, Cavite, for its social-action outreach projects. Edwardians regularly visit La Presa to bring basic goods and talk to the residents. "Kahit hindi Pasko, magandang magbigay (Even if it is not Christmas, it is good to share.)," said Xyries. 

    For the boys and girls of Children's Joy Foundation, the occasion was one of the rare times they went out of the center to be with their sponsors. "Natuwa ang mga bata kasi nakapagbiyahe sila at nakita nila ang mga ilaw (The children enjoyed the ride and the Christmas lights.)," said Center Head Vicky Cardeno.

    Of course, the kids were thrilled to receive gifts and unwrap them. When asked about her response, 10-year-old Louisa May Orbusido whispered shyly, "Masaya po (I am happy)." But the sparkle in her eyes as she clutched her toy clearly expressed the joy she felt.

    The gift-giving for the Children's Joy Foundation is one of the activities at Lancaster New City, a family-friendly community that advocates the values of generosity and kindness. For updates on Lancaster New City's activities, check out its Facebook page.

This article was created by Summit Storylabs in partnership with Profriends.