This article is written by DCCCO's Youth Coordinator, Ms. Honey Mae Grepon. In this article, she shared he experience and journey as previous Youth Cooperative leader to empowering other Children and Youth in Dumaguete City, in the Visayan region of the Philippines. Let's read on her story of hope and inspiration.
It will always bring me a big smile whenever I will reminisce my journey towards being a Youth Program Coordinator of DCCCO Multipurpose Cooperative (DCCCO) because I started as an ordinary Teen Saver at the age of thirteen (13) and eventually became the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of DCCCO Laboratory Cooperative by 2012-2015 which later on recognized by the Cooperative Development Authority as DCCCO Youth Zone Laboratory Cooperative (DYZLC) on December 18, 2018. Being in the Lab Coop allowed me to lay bare my frustrations and pains, experience the joy of being a child, lead and think out of the box, and learn lots of life lessons. When I became an employee of DCCCO, our Youth Coordinator of Dumaguete Branch back then, often allowed me to participate and assist in her activities for the Youth sector. Thus, giving me more exposure to the various activities and programs for the Youth and the Aflatoun members. After plenty of discernment, I grabbed the opportunity to become the Youth Program Coordinator of DYZLC in the Head Office when the position was opened.
As a Youth Program Coordinator, it was a big challenge for me to formulate policies, programs, activities, systems, and procedures for our laboratory cooperative especially because the DYZLC is still in its early stages of becoming a full-blown and established laboratory cooperative. I am also faced with difficulties because of the changes in the implementation of our activities and services brought by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Committing myself to participate in various activities provided by the National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO) helped me a great deal in equipping myself with the necessary knowledge and expertise to conduct the activities of DYZLC. The opportunities provided by the NATCCO Children and Youth Team were very timely and relevant to the new learning style of today, how to mobilize collections, and mitigate the challenges of the new normal.
Furthermore, DCCCO, our Guardian Cooperative has been very generous in allotting a budget from the Cooperative Education and Training Fund for the implementation of our membership developmental activities and the improvement of the capabilities of our DYZLC officers and DCCCO staff. I have found great mentors and support from the management, officers, and staff of DCCCO and DYZLC.
The Aflatoun and Youth Program honed me to become what I am today. From the management of my finances, and my attitude towards my brethren, to how I fulfill my mission as a Youth Program Coordinator, it was all credited to my experiences and learnings from the Youth Program and to God Almighty’s providence.
It was very life-enriching to connect with Aflatouners from other countries because of the Aflatoun Program and fellow cooperators from other places in the country. The Aflatoun and Youth Program allowed me to meet committed and passionate Aflatoun Coordinators, cooperators, young individuals, and impressive mentors and learn from them.
It is evident that the cooperative movement is improving and changing many lives, especially of the people in the marginalized sector of society. The youth of today should value the presence of the cooperative movement. I can attest that it would be truly life-changing if one will take part, become an active member, participate in various activities, become a good leader and help other people.
“Success without succession is a failure”. The current and future Aflatouners and the Youth are the hope of tomorrow. They should continue the legacy, the good deeds, and the beneficial impact of the cooperative movement and the Aflatoun Program on the lives of many.