by Ms. Aimee Apolinario, JVP-B20
Service. Social Justice. Spirituality. Simplicity. Solidarity. These five core values of the Jesuit Volunteers Philippines (JVP) stick to each volunteer long after one leaves his/her mission area. This is why it was easy to invite speakers to participate in a service interaction with the youth. Last November 28, 2020, sixteen (16) JVP volunteers from various batches participated as resource persons in Xavier School’s Pathways Service Interaction.
Xavier School’s program for its Grade 10 students focused on vocation and mission. Due to the current situation, what was usually done through onsite visits and interactions became an online event last school year. The program was officially opened by the High School Principal, Mrs. Ma. Theresa Nebres-Ladrido, JVP B17, before the 301 Grade 10 students, along with their teachers, were assigned to their respective breakout rooms.
A JVP volunteer from B40/41 and another former JVP volunteer, mostly alumnus of Xavier School, were assigned to each room and they were given 20 minutes each to share their experiences to their respective class assignment. The JVP representatives shared about their life in mission not only to tell their stories as volunteers but also to raise the students’ awareness of the situation in the different places and sectors in our country. Moreover, it was hoped that through the sharing of experiences students will be inspired to live a life of compassionate service for others as they grow.
After the sharing, students were given the chance to ask questions and share their thoughts about what they heard. Many asked about the reason behind joining JVP and how their parents reacted to their decision. There were those who asked about fears and uncertainties and how the volunteers faced them. Majority of the students expressed their gratitude for the online experience and admiration for the volunteers assigned to their groups.
The success of this activity paved the way for plans towards creating a JVP Junior Club in the various Ateneo high schools and other schools around the country. The generous JVP Batch 40 and 41 volunteers who accepted the invitation to interact with Xavier School’s Grade 10 students were Matt Delgado (B40/41), Atty. Essa Banta (B40), Gly Baldon (B40/41), Vina Velarde (B40/41), Prince Orgada (B40/41), MM Chaves (B40), Atty. Kath Gatdula (B40), Rap Escalera (B40/41), and Nico Montalvo (B40). The JVP and Xavier School alumni who joined were Atty. Andrew Isip (B13), Atty. Levi Ang (B13), Hansley See (B17), Lawrence Tang (B17), Richard Chu (B7), Gabriel Mallillin (B7), and Kevin Christopher Go (B32). They are living proof that a JVP volunteer’s love for service is for a lifetime.
(The writer is a member of the Jesuit Volunteers Philippines Batch 20 assigned as a teacher at Xavier de Kibangay Mission High School in Kibangay, Bukidnon. Last year, she finishes her stint as principal and currently a faculty member at Xavier School - San Juan in Metro Manila)