Over the years, our young adults remain to be at the core of everything that we do and we stand for. They forge on and thrive despite going through despair, suffering and helplessness. They are our heroes.
20 years old
Recipient of the Outstanding Student Award, June 2015
"The support I get from my family and friends means a lot. It is very important because it encourages me to do my best. It also boosts my confidence knowing I can overcome the challenges of a working student. There are times when I am feeling down, I look back to those people who never grew tired of supporting me. They give me strength to finish what I am doing now. Their support motivates me to achieve my goals.
Maybe I don't say it as much, but what I am now, what I achieved in life, I owe to them. No one can stop me from pursuing my dreams because of the support of the people around me. Each day I am thankful to all of them."
20 years old
"Masayang masaya ako dahil naramdaman ko yung sinseridad ng suporta ng pamilya ko, pati na rin yung mga boss at kasama ko sa trabaho. Nahirapan talaga ako makasunod sa pag-aaral nung umpisa pero hindi sila nawalan ng pag-asa na makakayanan ko. Importante na kahit papaano, napapasalamatan mo sila. Kung hindi man sa salita, kahit sa pagpapakita ng maayos na grades sa school o kaunting savings sa bank account. Sa ganitong paraan, masasabi mo na hindi mo sinayang yung suporta na binigay sa iyo."
20 years old
"When I was preparing myself to enroll as a college student, I knew it would be hard. I admit that I am not good in Math and Accounting, I hate square roots and also the x’s and y’s... just like my co-learner who says, 'I hate Math, but at least I know how to count.' During my first trimester I got a failing grade in my midterm exam. I felt down because it was my first time in college but life goes on. This is the reality of life – it is part of growing up. The most important thing is that you’re always determined to do your best.
I thank our mentors who are willing to help us no matter what, for always guiding and teaching us even if we are 'makulit', and for always being open and making time to teach us. You are one of the reasons why we are always motivated to study hard.
To my co-learners who share the same challenges, I leave you with this: 'If I can do it, you can do it too!'"
21 years old
"Iba ang buhay kapag wala ka na sa kalye.
Kung sa kalye ka nakatira, hindi mo alam kung anong oras ka kakain. Kung minsan, dalawang beses lang sa isang araw. Maswerte kung may mag-aabot sa iyo ng pang-hapunan. Gagawin mo ang lahat para makatanggap ng barya, basta makakain lang. Ilang taon din akong nangalakal ng basura, nag-barker sa jeep, kapag bagyo gagawa ako ng bangka mula sa scrap pantawid ng tao, sa gabi naman magtatrabaho ako sa junk shop hanggang kinaumagahan. Yung mga bata na nakikita niyo sa kalye... isa akong tulad nila.
Hindi ko naisip na mararating ko ang buhay na ito - ang makapag-aral, gumawa ng homework, magkaroon ng allowance at budget, yung makakain ako ng tatlong beses isang araw tapos may snacks pa.
Ganun pala yun, mas napapahalagahan mo ang sarili mo kapag napapahalagahan ka ng mga tao na gusto kang makitang magtagumpay. Sobrang saya, hindi ko mapaliwanag. Ang bawat desisyon na gagawin mo ay pang-habang buhay. Dapat pag-isipan natin ang mga desisyon natin sa buhay, dahil tayo lang ang makaaangat sa sarili natin patungo sa maginhawang hinaharap."
21 years old
"After graduating from high school in Laguna, my parents told me that they couldn't send me to college because we did not have enough money. My father would sell taho the whole day and repair shoes at night so he could provide food for all of us. There was little opportunity for work. For a while, I was doing all sorts of odd jobs. I delivered drinking water, assisted in construction work, carried large amounts of gravel and cut wood. Being the eldest child, I just wanted to work to help provide food, clothing and allowance to my younger siblings who were in school. It was never easy getting a job in my neighborhood. Companies look for vocational or college graduates but all I can show them is my high school diploma.
It's a huge difference to be able to set foot in college while being able to work at the same time. When I finally get my college degree and land a better job, I will buy my father a tricycle so he can have a higher income. And for me, that is already a big accomplishment.
If I go back in time when I was 17 years old, this is what I would tell myself - don't ever lose hope that you can get a college degree and find a more permanent job some day. Trust that you can do it because you are hard working!"