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Friday, October 28, 2011

RAFI's YMA scholars: putting time and talent to good use

I am amazed at what I saw.

Teens and young adults promoting causes of local groups that help alleviate poverty through projects and use of social media. These are scholars of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Incorporated's Young Minds Academy or YMA, a youth citizenship and leadership development program that aims to mold young leaders that are ready to serve the community.

The scholars presented community-based projects last October 28 at the Casino Espanol, Cebu City after an eight-month program. One of the evaluators was my Cebu Bloggers' Society colleague, social media marketing expert Ruben Licera.  The presentation was followed by an awards and graduation ceremony graced by RAFI's executives.

For the YMA program, the scholars spent their weekends and even holidays training some months ago. They were exposed to experiential and situation-based learning strategies and to the real issues and concerns of the community. After which, they would come up with team projects addressing problems related to poverty and social welfare. Others on the other hand, would promote projects using a social marketing strategy that gathered support in cash or kind or commitment signatures.

These young individuals are so blessed. I can still recall that when I was their age, I was perhaps playing basketball in the munisipyo, playing volleyball in tournaments or enjoying Family Computer games. In these generation, perhaps a lot of the teens may be playing DOTA or other online games or stroll at the mall or party all night.

Bu thanks to RAFI and sponsors City Savings Bank and Unionbank of the Philippines, this season of YMA bore fruit and many future leaders are now made more ready to be agents of change for the good of the community.

In his inspirational speech during the YMA presentation and graduation, RAFI President Roberto E. Aboitiz challenged the scholars to be "driven to excel, driven to lead and driven to serve." To drive a point, he brought a "bugsay" with him on the podium and urged the YMA graduates to row and "have a destination, a purpose to our lives" and also to have a positive attitude and row his bugsay "with great effort and consistency." He added nothing comes without effort echoing Mikel Aboitiz earlier challenge to the youth leaders to not take the easy route.

Roberto Aboitiz's parting shot to the YMA participants for the event was memorable. "Let us row together...the Philippines awaits you."

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