Last February 9, a team of student volunteers and teachers held the culminating activity for Project Dula at the Welfare Action Foundation of Davao Inc. (formerly Boystown Davao). The project lasted for 5 weeks in the community consisting of 44 young boys and was comprised of different beneficial sports and activities made to build up the boys’ characters and values.
Dula's project head, Antoine Philippe Cruz, is a Grade 12 student of Davao Christian High School and the school's representative to the annual Search for the Most Outstanding High School Graduate (MOHSG).
“The primary reason why we chose to do this is activity was because we believed that it was something that could help the boys in the long run. We believe that this project is able to provide long term benefits to the boys by inspiring them to pursue success and develop values that they can continue to carry on later in their life, and ultimately use to achieve their goals,” Cruz states.
According to Cruz, this year’s MOHSG opened up the opportunity for a community project. For the past years, MOHSG lets students compile all their achievements during their high school years and asks them to deliver a speech. But beginning last year, the competition changed directions to encourage more social and long-lasting involvement.
“Personally, I believe that the community project is a wonderful addition to the MOHSG program as it enables students to make a difference in their community, as well as show others what is possible given our opportunities as students,” Cruz adds in support of the additional aspect. “This time, we are given the chance to use our gifts to inspire others and make meaningful changes in society, something that I believe we are all capable of doing.”
Dula, the Visayan word for play, is a student-lead project that aims to equip teenagers with the right values through the use of sports. The project ran for 5 weekends with activities comprising from sports clinic and tournaments, a character formation program (which is the heart of the project), and extra livelihood training session about soap making.
Along with these activities, the participants were also provided journals where they completed daily physical, mental, social, and spiritual challenges to help develop them to be more holistic persons.
Together with Mr. Desi Magnaye, the Junior High School principal and Antoine's mentor for the MOHSG contest, the team of volunteers was able to raise more than Php 100,000 in donations for the community including a fully refurbished basketball backboard, complete soap making kits, basketballs, badminton rackets and shuttlecocks, new bedding, rice sacks, and new shoes for each boy in the community.
Along with these, Mr. Magnaye also headed a donation of used clothes as part of an outreach project for his Interest Group, Eco Warriors.
“I feel this project will not only benefit the Boystown community but also our students who have done greatly to do their share by volunteering their time as facilitators, donating in cash or in kind, or just believing in the project,” Magnaye comments on the the project’s relevance.
“When we did an ocular visit,” Magnaye recalls, “we were both convinced that they are the right group to help. The heart of the project is the character formation program, and a lot of researches say that character is a driving force to success, but we also want to make sure we can provide immediate help.”
Cruz agrees saying, “I believe that this project was able to give them a meaningful experience, and that it was able to help them see things in a different perspective, just as it was able to do so for me. This project has helped me realize that anyone can make a difference, we just have to be willing to make it happen.”
Dula is made possible through the efforts and support from Davao Christian High School, JCI Davao, and its generous sponsors and donors.