October 13, 2021
These Brightwoods School teachers are Tzu Chi volunteers too
By Dana Buenaobra
Last October 9, Brightwoods School in Angeles, Pampanga, opened its sportsfield to a large-scale rice and relief goods distribution organized by Tzu Chi Foundation for more than 1,000 indigent residents from Angeles City, and a barangay of Aetas from Tarlac. Volunteers showed up bright and early to support the worthy cause: among them, 30-40 teachers from the host school.
Two talk about the fulfillment of extending assistance to the less fortunate.
Grade 9 English and Social Studies teacher
Marrion Celis, 26, just came from a two-hour ride to fetch members of the Aeta community. He then immediately directed the beneficiaries to their seats, distributed relief, and cleaned up the venue.
“I feel very tired but it’s fulfilling since this is the most people that I have helped in volunteering,” said Celis, while still panting. He used to go to small villages in the mountains with Tzu Chi volunteers, and tried to apply in Tzu Chi Indonesia as an English teacher before the pandemic.
This is the second time that Celis volunteered for Tzu Chi. He wishes that there would be more time and opportunity to help more people.
Teaching for 20 years, Nika Valdemor, 40, started her Tzu Chi journey two years ago. Her school was tapped by commissioner Pansy Ho to help in surveying and validating information on Tzu Chi relief beneficiaries in the city and far-flung areas.
“In Tzu Chi, I feel great as a volunteer since beneficiaries are empowered because there’s a dignified relief system that they don’t need to be rushed in receiving aid,” she says.
Her involvement with Tzu Chi deepened when she decided to pursue the volunteers apprentice training. “I use to spend almost four hours traveling just to attend the training every Sunday in Manila. I remember [Tzu Chi Philippines CEO] Uncle Henry Yuñez giving me a book and I asked him to sign it.”
“I hope people will receive lots of love from Tzu Chi that will create ripples of generosity,” she says.