BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Uplift Foundation International (UPI), a non-profit organization registered in Las Vegas, Nevada, launched on September 18 its Values Advocacy and Literacy Upliftment through Education and Sharing (VALUES) for Children in the Countryside, in partnership with St. Vincent Ferrer Parish in La Castellana, Negros Occidental.
The pilot program identified 54 children, aged 6-12 years old, in Brgy. Robles, La Castellana, who will be attending 12 Sunday sessions on literacy and values education.
More than 40 individuals composed of retired and active teachers, young professionals, and parish youth members have signed up as volunteers, according to its founder, former Lin-ay sang Negros Vi Anne Cadianza Calipusan.
Calipusan said that VALUES for Children in the Countryside aims to assist children in honing their literacy skills, strengthen their values formation and boost their self-confidence.
The volunteers, who will facilitate each session, will also serve as teacher volunteers to the children-beneficiaries, who were profiled and grouped as readers, slow readers and non-readers.
Calipusan also disclosed that the catechism classes, with integration of Filipino values part of every session, with a feeding program as one of its components.
Calipusan and her husband, Alex, who founded UPI, said they are happy to have shared their blessings, especially to young children and empower them with hope, kindness and love.
Former Negros Occidental Gov. Rafael “Lito” Coscolluela, who volunteered to the UPI adviser, attended the activity and lauded the Calipusan couple for initiating this kind of program that addresses the alarming problem of children’s literacy.
Fr. Ricon Dagunan, the La Castellana parish priest and program co-chairman, expressed his elation and gratitude for the realization of what described as noble endeavor, which he also considers a miracle, citing the overwhelming response from community volunteers who signed up for the program.
This pilot group which is named as the “Love batch” will have 12 weeks of Sunday classes which will culminate on December 11 this year.*