Photo by Pete? Toshi?o™ of

Willie Dechavez, the chairperson of the Michigan chapter of the US Pinoys for Good Governance USP4GG-Michigan, reported that the group’s recent Michigan Educational Mission in the Philippines went on smoothly and benefited many poor school children in Sorsogon Province, Philippines.

This community came about as a result of the compassionate spirit of the members of the Filipino American community in Michigan as well as USP4GG-Michigan members and friends.

Dechavez personally supervised the implementation of a project, traveling all the way to the Philippines and coordinating every aspect of the charity undertaking.

Dechavez said, “It was also a memorable experience interacting with local community volunteers with the school children as the priority beneficiaries of the project. What an opportunity to represent our organization and help the less fortunate.”

Seventy students of the Bitano Elementary School in Sorsogon received educational materials and supplies.

Dechavez said the school was reported to be in need of assistance by the local leaders. The students received 70 book bags as well as school supplies such as lined papers, pencils, erasers, and crayons. The girls were given colorful umbrellas.

The Bitano Elementary School teaching staff and community volunteers were on hand to assist in the activity.

The same kinds of educational materials were given to Aemilianum Elementary School Grades I, II and III pupils.

The pupils were advised to study hard and value education.

Included in the mission, Dechavez said, was a feeding program for the disadvantaged kids. This program was conducted in five barangays in Sorsogon, namely Cabidan, Almendras, Bitano, Abuyog, and Baribag. The local governments usually called the food served as “Nutri Snacks” for the children. It was actually “lugaw” or rice congie with chicken and malunggay leaves, bread and eggs.

Dechavez observed that the recipients are really in need of the supplemental feeding. In one barangay, the children served were living near a cemetery.

He said, “I can only wish that this feeding program is sustained for months so the desired result could be achieved for this needy population.

The feeding programs were coordinated by Sorsogon Provincial Board Member Ellen Dechavez Jamisola and her volunteer staff.

Yolly Dechavez Tolosa, who is an honorary USP4GG-Michigan member, was a great help in some feeding areas.

From the funds solicited in Michigan by the USP4GG from friends and community members, a certain amount was allocated for the scholarship.

The scholarship grants were given to two Aemilianum graduating high school students who will take up a two-year vocational course in automotive and computer technology. This was funded mostly by the 1968 Class of Divine Word High School, and USP4GG was happy to contribute to this special project.

Another scholarship award was given to a 12th-grade student at Lewis College for the completion of his/her studies.

A Memorandum of Agreement was signed by the school administrator and USP4GG State Chairperson Dechavez outlining the scholarship eligibility and disbursement of funds.

The criteria for selection include the financial capability of the student who would not be able to complete the course without financial assistance. The academic performance of the scholars will be regularly monitored.

Other related activities held during the mission were free medical and dental services that benefited the children and parents of Barangay Bitano.

Dechavez had also paid a courtesy call on Provincial Governor Sally Lee.

He thanked following people and organizations who supported the mission: Josie Sanders, Mimie Stampien, Lue Grandberry, Michelle Oh, Gloria Bohacz, Maricell Villarosa, Bobb Vergiels,Oscar Dechavez, Tracy Lee, Melissa Abiva Fata, Evelyn Retino, Elaine Penson, Maryann Franco, Luchie Ibarolla, Michael Notte, Nieves Mc Roberts Lucasik, Jessa Gomez, Brenda Sanagustin, Loida Nicolas, Brent Wilson, Tess Pascua, Nida Jaramillo, Letty Taguran, Miko Parkinson, Jessa Vivio, Laurence Salazar, Kiwanis Club of Metropolitan North-Troy and Iqbal Singh.