In response to the pressing need for aid for the thousands of families displaced after the Taal eruption last January, the staff, students and alumni of the Learning Links Academy (LLA) quickly mobilized to provide relief to the victims of the tragedy. In the span of a few days, the community quickly banded together to offer their time, talents and resources to contribute whatever they could to the cause. While the school itself served as the physical base of operations, none of it would have been possible if it were not for the teams of students and alumni who stepped up and made the relief operations possible.
Effective Synergy and Interpersonal Intelligence
Beginning January 13, the LLA served as a drop off point for donations and a command center for the school-led relief operations. At least 20 teachers, 20 students, and 3 alumni actively assisted in the efforts, leading in the collecting, sorting, and delivering of goods to evacuation centers. Beyond the operations within the school, students and alumni also volunteered their own homes as drop-off points to make contributing goods more accessible to community members.
Among the volunteers was Gianina Jimenez, an LLA alumna who graduated in 2012. Reflecting on the experience, Giana shared that what had inspired her to take initiative was the interpersonal skills and lessons that she received through the multiple intelligence program. “The school always taught us to be proactive through the 7 Habits for Highly Effective People,” she said. “Being exposed to social and environmental issues at a very young age taught me to be proactive and socially aware, and that was what helped me the most.” Not only did these lessons help her develop the consciousness and sense of initiative to do good for the community, she said, but also equipped her with the skills to do so effectively.
Elaborating on the 7 Habits, LLA Directress Teacher Nen said that one of the core values that the school aims to develop is Habit No. 6 which is synergy, and it was this value that emerged during the relief efforts. “Organizing the whole community was not an arduous task because everyone’s efforts — from the students, alumni, teachers, and staff — created synergy,” she explained. However small each contribution may seem, the dedication of each individual combined with the efforts of others enabled them to effectively work towards achieving something bigger than themselves.
“I believe that no help is small or trivial when it is given with sincerity, love and compassion.” said the Directress. Having seen the community band together, Gianna also said that one of her biggest learnings was that “acts of service can also have a ripple effect and inspire others to do the same, so no effort is truly wasted.”
Small Actions, Big Impacts
LLA’s efforts aimed to assist 10 evacuation centers namely Pooc I, Kaong, Carmen, Tibig, Hukay, Lumil, Biga 1 and 2, Puting Kahoy, and Inchican, whose evacuees were former residents of Agoncillo, Talisay, and Lemery. By the end of the first wave of the relief efforts, the LLA team was able to collect enough sacks of rice, bread and biscuits, canned goods, water, milk, mats and blankets, toiletries, clothing, and even face masks to provide relief to at least 550 families. On top of the external donations, the school also provided additional relief goods for around 200 families. Aside from material assistance, the LLA team also conducted creatively designed activities and entertainment to uplift their spirits.
In planning for long-term solutions, students and staff launched a fundraising initiative that was geared toward helping the fishing community of Talisay restart their livelihoods. LLA teachers and staff also conducted sessions to teach evacuees temporary ways to earn an income while they get themselves back on track.
Learning Links Academy will continue to provide assistance to victims of the Taal eruptions as necessary. To contribute to the relief efforts, kindly visit https://learninglinks.edu.ph/contact-us/
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