“Stewards of the Earth. Living Life Sustainably.“
Around 36 and 47 young men and women or 83 scholars from various regions across the country gathered in the April 28 to May 2 Scholars’ Learning Summit (LS) at International Institute for Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), Silang Cavite. The summit, dubbed, “Stewards of the Earth. Living Life Sustainably.” captured the workshop topics for the 30 college seniors and fresh graduates who will soon be involved in their respective careers.
The summit started on April 29—the one day general assembly of 97 scholars and guests—followed by break out workshops per college year level in the succeeding two days, and sports fest and study tour on organic gardening on the last day. Francis Joseph De La Cruz of Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) delivered the Keynote Address, inspiring the scholars to appreciate and understand how to improve on how they live, considering that everything is interconnected and part of the web of life, and that “whatever we do to the environment, to the web, we do to ourselves.” He sought to challenge the scholars to start now, to commit and do, even in small simple ways, actions and choices that promote a sustainable life in their homes, school or community.
The afternoon session took off with Self-Regulated and Empowerment Strategy workshop, facilitated by Ma. Joanna Aňonuevo, which focused on strengthening scholars’ commitment to their educational goals with a review and re-formulation of their development goals and plans in three areas: academic, social and personal goals. In the evening, the Mindanao-based scholars, represented by their elected officials presented the report on Scholars’ Community Outreach Project (SCOP) conducted last December 21 in Brgy. Gatungan day care center in Davao City. Election of officers for this year’s SCOP followed, with the Visayas-based scholars designated to spearhead the December 2016 social responsibility project.
April 30 and May 1 activities focused on the concurrent workshops for incoming 2nd year, 3rd year and 4th year college and April 2016 graduates. Workshop facilitators included:
• Myreen Cleofe, Ma. Joanna Aňonuevo and Gem Hanzette Dilag, educators, on “Becoming Leaders for Change”; and
• Rosalina Lodripas-Tarrayo of CERD (Center for Empowerment & Resource Development), and Jytte Hollender, TPEF BOT member, on “Improving Gender Relations” – A Gender Sensitivity Training Workshop for Teens; incoming 2nd year
• Sindhy Obias and Ansherina Grace Talavera of ACCORD (Assistance and Cooperation for Community Resilience and Development, Inc., “Climate Change, Disaster Preparedness and Resiliency Basics”; and
• Mailyn Borillo and Ma. Joanna Aňonuevo, Exploring the “Me” in “We” – Striving for Meaning in Personal Goals & Relationships; incoming 3rd year
• Eribert Padilla, auditor, for “Managing Your Finances – A Financial Literacy Training for Young Adults; and,
• Froilan Grate of GAIA (Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance), “Change the Way We Live. Live Sustainably.”– A Workshop on Sustainable Lifestyle. Incoming 4th year & fresh graduates
The 30 senior scholars who were the first batch to complete the four-year capability building program created a mural symbolizing “the changes in me and us” in terms of knowledge, skills, attitude and values as a result of their participation in training workshops for four years.
The TPEF team also made sure that outdoor activities and reflection be part of the five-day activity, with the last day’s Palarong Pinoy and study tour in IIRR’s bio-intensive and bio-aero gardening and seed collection projects. Also, the scholars themselves organized two solidarity nights during the summit which featured their creativity and various talents in the annual search for Mr. and Ms. TPEF Scholar, strengthening the scholars’ cooperation, team work, communication and leadership values.
To close the five-day learning summit, the facilitator guided the scholars through some reflection. They spent few minutes in silence and listened to the invocations of four scholars holding symbols of life—candle symbolizing fire, potted seedling for earth, bowl of water, and flower petals representing wind. Each expressed gratitude to the support of family, friends, teachers, co-scholars and TPEF in their lives. The ceremony ended with a thanksgiving prayer to God, the source of all life.
Now on its 4th year of implementation, the annual LS is a four-year scaled up capability building effort of TPEF under the Scholars’ Development Program to develop or improve awareness on social issues and life skills; with training topics for incoming first year college scholars on self-awareness, communication and social responsibility; incoming 2nd year on gender sensitivity and leadership; incoming 3rd year on fostering resiliency & coping mechanism and climate change and disaster preparedness; and incoming 4th year and graduates, financial literacy and sustainable lifestyle.