Today is no special day. Since I hit adulthood, that’s how I thought of my birthdays. Nothing special going on. I was done with big parties my parents used to throw for me and the blowing of birthday candles in lavish birthday cakes. I was done with all of that and I don’t have a problem with it. I love being alone especially on my birthday. I usually use this time to look back to the year that was and set goals to the year ahead of me. So looking back to those moments, I couldn’t help but revel over the most marvelous times and gloom over the most atrocious circumstances I have had. Each of them equally important in piecing together the puzzle that is me.
So today as I do exactly that, I stumbled upon a precious priceless memory. Around this time last year, I turned 25. To me it was a milestone, seeing that I could be a little misanthropic sometimes. It meant a lot to have survived a quarter of my life, sanely! I felt abundantly blessed and I had this aching need to share my blessings. One day I asked myself; “Have you been blessed?” Yes. “Have you been a blessing to someone or anyone?” No. “So, what can you do about it?” So I started thinking about it until I had this idea that became a plan and eventually became a simple project I called “Pay It Forward.” I got this idea from a movie with the same title. The general concept of this project is to literally pay it forward and give back to the world what it had generously given me. Since my birthday falls in the month of June which is also the opening of classes, I had thought of paying it forward by giving away school supplies to children in a poverty-stricken community. I still have these vivid memories of my childhood, those days when I am over the head excited for classes to start because I have new school supplies. Fresh pads of paper, shiny notebooks, sharpened pencils, gigantic pencil case, a set of colorful crayons and more. Unfortunately not all of us has the luxury of having that, children are robbed of that feeling of excitement and elation. I wanted to give them that; that feeling of happiness, ecstasy, euphoria even if it will only last for a day. I have this soft spot for children and I advocate for education so I thought that this project is timely and significant.
Truth be told, I had quite a hard time making this project possible. When I started to plan about it, what I had in mind is only a small number of children. But when we surveyed the area, there were more than 80 school-aged children in the community. It was a bit larger number than what I had expected. And since I couldn’t do it all by myself, I asked people to help me out. My sister and I posted a sort of an ad in Facebook; asking all of our friends for any kind of donation to help out these children. And I am greatly overwhelmed with all the positive responses we got from family and friends. It made me realize that in my simple way of giving blessings; more and more blessings are even coming in which make my heart grow fonder. I would like also to take this opportunity to say my thank you to the following people who helped out in making this project a huge success:
- My supportive parents.
- My generous sister.
- Manang Josie Montibon
- Mae Louise
- My Friend from Outer Space (Ms. Tin Gallega)
- Ms. Tin Bello
- Ms. Eden
- Ms. Ching
- My family
- My friends
- And to anyone else I forgot to mention who selflessly gave without expecting anything in return.
I initially planned this out to become an annual thing, but unfortunately this year we hadn’t had the chance to organize a program due to some personal reasons. But next year, I swear to do it again. And I’ll keep on doing it as long as God permits it.
What started out as a question became an idea that turned into one big turning point in my life. Seeing the most genuine smiles on their faces, hearing their uncontrollable laughter and receiving their most heart-felt thank-yous were all enough blessing for me. I had been abundantly blessed, not with trivial things such as money or possessions, but with God’s grace and His unrelenting and unconditional love that I felt an aching need to continuously share it. So I’ll keep on paying it forward so that one day, other people will realize that it is in giving that we receive.