For students in its care, FPVI provides the platform for discovery and adventure. Each Sunday session brings new learnings in unexpected ways. For example, while the schools settled with the modular distance learning system during the pandemic, FPVI introduced learning through self-discovery. Projects like the e-book, the video trilogy---Christmas in August, Local News Recap, and Uswag, virtually---fully reflected their own experiences and memories that they were not aware they could tap and mine for their written work and arts and crafts work.
The FPVI Christmas celebration in 2022 came in the form of Year-End Retreat aimed at helping the students focus on setting goals beyond senior high school, encompassing the spiritual and practical dimension, and made possible by sessions with a Catholic missionary priest, a school teacher, a district school supervisor, a Theology School rector, and Tunga’s town mayor. The side activities were just as important and the thoughtful questions at the end of each session and at mealtime revealed a growing maturity in each of them. The retreat reaffirmed FPVI’s role in the students’ lives and as a safe place for fostering and nurturing their potential. It was a first for all but also their first sleepover, first visit to the city, first time to dine in a proper restaurant, and first time to see historic sites. The group left the FPVI Center with a genuine sense of joy, appreciation and optimism from the 4-day retreat experience.
This e-booklet aptly captures the spirit of the retreat.
All the children joined FPVI in different times with different degrees of shyness, almost resistant to all manners of persuasion to express their thoughts and feelings, and share what they know or ask what they don’t know. But the regular sessions, shared activities, and confidence-building exercises allowed them to flourish gradually, in their own pace and time. Their recollections here reveal a measure of transformation…
“I first came to the FPVI Center in 2019 expecting that the support I would be getting if admitted would be limited to the school expenses involved in going to high school. I was in for a pleasant surprise. I was not confident speaking in front of a group and talking with others not close to me. But FPVI helped me overcome my fears. FPVI also has instilled in us the importance of good manners and basic home-based values. And reading, writing and speaking in English for which I am very thankful now. FPVI also has exposed us to art-making and I am now enjoying painting. FPVI continues to guide us not just in our school work but also and especially towards becoming better persons.” ---Hannah
“I was nervous, happy, scared, and excited when I showed up for the interview in 2019. And I kept praying that I would get in. My prayers were answered and I knew then that a new life had started for me. I have always been shy but slowly FPVI started ‘deleting’ my shyness through activities like open mic, theater arts, team role-playing. It was terrifying at first but gradually I could feel my self-confidence being lifted. Sharing meals with the other FPVI Fellows, I learned more new things---setting the table and using a spoon and fork to eat. It was also thrilling for me to have a table napkin during meal times. And having been exposed to many kinds of art materials plus various ways to use them and with FPVI encouraging us to try, I can now confidently paint and do collage. I have grown much under FPVI in my learning journey.” ----Marky
“Joining FPVI in 2018 has been one of the best things that happened to me. I used to be a shy and not-so-friendly boy but FPVI changed that. FPVI drew out from me what I did not know existed. Through various ways, FPVI boosted my self-confidence and I very much like the new me. The impact FPVI has made on my life is hard to measure and I’m happy to be a part of the FPVI family.” ---Angelo
“Being part of the FPVI is the greatest thing that happened to me. Nervous, I came for the interview in 2019 not knowing what to expect. I remember the terms being explained to me and was surprised being asked to determine the grades I needed to achieve. FPVI’s support of our school needs is a huge help for my family. But FPVI does more. They help us to gain more knowledge and expose us to new experiences. I have discovered many new things in myself which FPVI helped me identify, develop and enjoy. The most enjoyable activity for me is art-making, painting in particular.” ---Lyka
“I first joined the Sunday sessions at FPVI in 2018. Shy and awkward, I felt I was not good at anything. The tutorials helped me to discover that I like Science. I have learned that school work could be fun as well. At first, role playing and team open mic (where I experienced my first debate) seemed frightening but the experience was fun too. FPVI also exposes us to nutritious meals and sometimes cultural aspects of what we are eating. Now, I am not shy anymore. And I can draw and paint and construct good sentences. And my grammar is improving.” ---Gaby
“I first went to FPVI in 2018 as a guest. For a 5-year old, FPVI was the most fun playground. There were toys, puzzles and books and the group did fun activities such as the open mic and team role playing. I also participated in several video projects which was fun. Best of all, I learned to love books. I can borrow books that I enjoy reading. I am now learning to write essays and recently contributed several pieces to the e-book which FPVI published during the Summer of 2022.” ---Manuel
Mindful of the importance of engaging children’s minds in productive and positive activities in pandemic times, FPVI devised a program that they can do from home during the first lockdown, long before the Module Distance Learning was launched by the Department of Education. There were news features, articles and books to read and understand in order to write summaries and share with others. They were also encouraged to keep a journal and to continue making art using found materials from their surroundings. The reading part remains a challenge, done more for compliance rather than for personal pleasure. On the other hand, journal-keeping and art-making have now become almost a habit and a source of great fun to all.
showcases the FPVI students’ written work and art creations combined. They have gone a long way since becoming part of the FPVI family. In the two long years of the pandemic, their physical growth is much evident but, on their way to becoming more mature pre-adults, we also see incremental growths emotionally, mentally and socially which FPVI is immensely proud of.
The rapid advances in communication technology and the complete shift to virtual meetings and sessions during this pandemic disadvantaged many in rural areas where internet connectivity is poor, if at all available. FPVI, nonetheless, stayed in regular touch with all the children in our care using devices available, primarily the early version of Android phones, and providing each phone with regular credits. FPVI maximized the utility of these devices for online tutorials and virtual sessions that were oftentimes interrupted by rain or thunderstorms, causing the internet connection to drop or die.
Zoom we don't do at FPVI as the children do not have the right devices to support the app, but we do group chats using Messenger, the easiest and most popular way to have online gatherings in rural areas. We have also devised Uswag (meaning, “Come in” in Waray, our local dialect), FPVI's own rudimentary version of gathering the children virtually.
FPVI's Uswag sessions go beyond academic learning and enable the children to discover important facets of their own families and communities. At the same time, they afford the viewers a peek into rural life. The feelings and sentiments emerging from the characters and circumstances are starkly real and will resonate with rural lives everywhere.
Please enjoy our inaugural Uswag session. https://youtu.be/7nhrkkEoTGA
Through this video, the FPVI family extends its warmest greetings and best wishes to you and your family during this holiday season.
As of December 2021, the Philippines is one of two countries in the world whose children have not had any face-to-face classes since the pandemic lockdown began in March 2020. The prolonged lockdown has not only severely impacted the children’s ability to learn but it has also tested their mental health and resilience. FPVI continues to provide support to the children within the confines of health and safety protocols through mentoring in their distance study learning and printed modules, and through opportunities for in-person sessions and personal interactions in aid of their mental well-being. The children’s Christmas wish this year, the Omicron variant notwithstanding, is for the planned resumption of in-person classes to happen in 2022 now that they are double vaccinated, and for resumption of the weekly support sessions at FPVI.
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