Toddlers Unlimited

Manila's Premiere Preschool & Toddler Center

Teaching Hearts

Typhoon Yolanda came and devastated the lives of so many people. Over here in Manila, we watched in horror as we saw homes, buildings, families and parts of our country ebb away into oblivion. While we did not have the means to fix the problem, we were all given the opportunity to do something. As an educator, I felt I had 2 roles: help the adults in our Toddlers Family find a way to reach the people in need and teach the children that a little act of kindness can make a huge difference in someone’s life.

In giving the families a chance to come together as a community and give what they could, a simple email asking for food was sent. This resulted in the arrival of numerous boxes of supplies. So many parents to thank, but how can I not mention Sky’s parents who asked friends for donations for the victims instead of birthday and christening gifts for their children? Or Bambi, a family friend, who filled grocery carts with goods and even paid for delivery cost.  Our food donations went to Samar, Barbaza in Antique, Estancia in Iloilo, and Capiz. Then a second email for stuffed toys was released, and those huggable animals came pouring in and were donated through the Galileo Head Office to Caritas finding their way into the arms of children in evacuation shelters. Our third wave was a request for children’s clothes. Cheerily we filled up boxes upon boxes of clothes and toys for the children of farmers in Pasi, Iloilo.

Stuffed Toys

I remember when our first set of deliveries arrived in Barbaza on November 13, the relatives of my yaya brought it to their church and immediately repacked and shared it with 200 families. Since people were not expecting donations so soon, they had to go out and distribute the food. The people in their community were so surprised and said to make sure that we knew how thankful they were.

Like many other people this past Christmas, my teaching family got in on the giving by doing away with our annual Exchange Gift tradition to give monetary donations to staff members with family in the affected areas. I was so glad they came up with this idea.

Our second role as Educators dealing with such an immense disastrous event was to light the spark in children and ignite the spirit of charity in them. My teachers approached me with the idea of a class bazaar to raise funds. The project was planned and green lighted. Then our Nursery Students and their teachers set to work making Christmas Décors and whipping up snacks and juice to sell. The teachers took photos of the children and wrote down what they said about helping others and posted the photos for us to see.

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Then, we proceeded to invite the parents, and when this note from Ethan’s mom arrived in my email, I felt my heart swell.

“I’ve chosen Toddlers because I believe you share my view that it’s not just the academics that is important but social and emotional development too.  And again, the email below [our invite] is one of the reasons why I tell myself that I’ve made the right decision to choose Toddlers.”

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The support from the children and their parents was overwhelming. Ethan brought his piggy bank and donated its contents to our cause. Other parents donated goodies for us to sell. One day of our little Bunnies Bazaar and we came up with a pretty decent pot.

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Over at the Pups Classes, the teachers had the children draw pictures and write notes of love to the children in the affected areas.

With the help of my dear cousin in law, Michi, who went to Divisoria, goodies were bought using the bazaar income. The Pups Class children then filled up the loot bags with pencil sets, notebooks, puzzles and other toys. To sweeten the gift, they added their love notes into the bags.

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Dr. Tiger, the dad of Chase from the Bunnies, picked up our gifts and personally delivered them to the children in East Samar before Christmas. He posted this heartwarming photo and this comment that made me feel so proud:

“Gifts from my daughter and all her schoolmates in Toddlers Unlimited in Alabang. They all gave gifts, packed them, and wrote letters. From one child to another. If there’s one thing I think my girls have learned so far is, from Bella asking me “Dada when I’m bigger can I help the poor?” to my youngest daughter handing me a lot of her toys while I was packing the gifts, is charity and humility in our actions. God bless our children and those that we help for they are our future. And maybe one of these kids, one day, might be the one to turn things around for all of us!”

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The healing and help is far from over. There is much more to be done. As time passes, we will continue to see how we can help and continue to rally our parents and teachers behind projects while reminding our students that kindness and generosity are invaluable traits worth nourishing.

By: Teacher Thumby Server-Veloso

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