"A man was walking down the beach one day and, off in the distance, he could see someone dancing, running from the waves up onto the sand and back again. He had never seen anything more beautiful.
As he got closer, he saw that it was a young boy and he wasn't dancing at all. He was picking up something and throwing it into the ocean over and over again.
He asked the boy what he was doing and the boy said he was saving the starfish. They had washed up on the beach and would die if he didn't throw them back in the water.
The man looked up and down the shoreline and saw thousands of starfish stranded in the sand. He told the boy that there was no way he could save all those starfish and the few he did save would make little difference.
The boy looked back at him and, holding up the starfish in his hands, said, "It will make all the difference to this one."
Reynan's parents are both imprisoned for petty crimes, and could not get out due to lack of financial resources to go through our legal system. Reynan was suddenly left with no guardians and was picked up by Virlanie Foundation at one of DSWD's Action Centers where Reynan was brought by the police after scooping him up in the dangerous streets of Quiapo commercial district.
It was planned by our account to celebrate Thanksgiving Day by "paying it forward" to our less fortunate peers. We pooled some money together to buy things needed by Marco Polo House, one of the houses maintained by Virlanie Foundation, in its effort to reintegrate street children into the society by giving them a safe house to sleep in, allowing them to take part in our public education system and trying to help them get out of the uncertain life of being on the streets at an early age.
I kept on thinking that my workmates and I at Convergys, are making a difference in the individual lives of the 31 street children currently kept safe from the horrors of the streets by Virlanie Foundation.
Reynan's story is just one of the many tear-jerker stories that can be heard within the house. I thought of myself as a brave person before but after our visit, I can only say that an 8-year old kid has me beaten in that area. He is definitely braver than me.
Fortunately for these kids, they found Virlanie. When Reynan was asked what he would like to be when he grows up, he puffed his chest proudly and without hesitation, answered "I will be a soldier."
Deep inside, I cried my heart out for him, but all of sudden, I realized that I was taught a lesson by this kid. This time, he might be facing an insurmountable mountain in front of him, but nothing can prevent him from squaring his shoulders and barrel through that mountain to come out on the other side, stronger than ever in the future.
And when that time comes, I hope I can still see Reynan again and when I do, I will give him my proudest salute, not only for the uniform that he will be wearing then but for something more...
... for the bravery that he has shown today!!!
|Photo: Virlanie kids with Convergys employees and Jollibee and Hetty during our Thanksgiving Party at Marco Polo House last Nov. 21, 2010|
To you who's reading this, go and pick up that starfish now and throw it back into the water. You may not be able to save them all, but at least, you saved one. That makes all the difference for that one person.
Will you let me know if you've found your Reynan? I will be delighted to hear your stories.
|Photo: Our program head, Bad Dino, with her Reynan, Len-Len.|
|Photo: TL Carlo Gutierrez, dancing it out with the kids.|
|Photo: TL Chris Lim (gray shirt) supervising the distribution|
of toys to the kids.
|Photo: TL Jasper Cantimbuhan with Reynan.|
From left: G-UNIT members Isa, Char and Makoy, Mariel A., program host Marose, Bogart and TL Chris.
|From left: Claire, G-UNIT member Makoy, Mariel A., G-UNIT members Char & Gab, Connie with her kids, Kirby, program hosts Pam and Marose, Greg, Angel.|
|From left: Mariel Z, Melvin, Maricar and TL Chris.|
|From left: Claire, Amiel and Johann.|