Lately, we have been experiencing dwindling numbers of volunteers and students in ARAL (catechism project in Iraya). This made me wonder what girls are doing with their Saturdays- classes?studying? going to malls? parlor? Facebook? Twitter? These are normal, and maybe if I did not meet ARAL, this might be the activities I’m doing too. That’s why it is a personal dream to see girls empowered- not with the number of tweets they have, not the Likes, and not the number of new clothes and make-ups they own, but the opportunities to serve others willingly and to give their all with the duties assigned to them. It is sad to see the priorities we have nowadays. And this reminded me of my lack of daring to bring girls to the extent of their generosity; thinking it will be a burden for them to ask for their morning time to be with kids. This is totally wrong and this ARAL of 2011 made me realized that. What if they are just waiting for someone to ask them? Or they did not know that such activity even exists?
Still we’re thankful to the girls who try to multiply their time and share their time and talents with the kids. I have to admit without being too melancholic that it hurts to see that kids try to join with all eagerness; with their mother or guardian fetching them to school in between their own errands, just to see that the kids are few and even the volunteers.Even with this situation, the catechism should and will go on. Even there is one volunteer and one student left, we will never know the good things which can come because of this one particular ARAL session.
It is also worthy to mention of an inspiring scene to pass by the former kids of ARAL who haveevidently grown up; call you out in the streets, smiling and waving. The words of the mother still ringing in our ears, saying: “Ma’am, bumait po talaga ang anak ko.” or saying “Gusto po sumali ang anak ko, nag-eenjoy po siya.” This is enough to jump out of the bed in the morning and meet the kids in Juan Luna Elementary School.
This April 18 of 2012, ARAL will open again to provide catechism classes and prepare fun activities for the kids. This will include arts and crafts, music, dancing, and even sports. We are inviting ladies to share their time and talents.They can even tag another friend along with them to experience this fruitful time in teaching kids. I should tell them this: “You don’t need to be a teacher by profession to be able to teach. Just the fact that you are generous with your time will lead you naturally as a teacher, because there has always been a teacher in you. Let it out!” This is not only about the kids, but ARAL is also an instrument for the volunteers to grow in lots of virtues and even in creativity and skills.
As long as someone needs ARAL, ARAL will always be around. With great optimism and God’s help, I know ARAL will not ran out of ladies with big hearts who we shall see this summer helping out and growing with ARAL!
by Carol Relucio