This year, Earth Day fell on April 22nd.
So this past Saturday, @bestbuddiesphl organized our first #treeplanting in #Marikina. We did this with the help of many partners like #BEST #AustralianAid and #DepEd. We asked our friends from all over to join us as we planted 70 new tree in the Roman Gardens at Marikina River Park. It was a day full of smiles. It was a day full of fun. Kids and adults doing good with each other for Mother Earth. All because this little girl chose me as her momma. ?: @dsapi1 #inclusion #bestbuddies #BestBuddiesPh #BestBuddiesAsiaPac #dsapi #downsyndromelove #downsyndromeawareness
While, I have always observed Earth Day with my children in a quiet way, this year, I wanted to celebrate Earth Day with Best Buddies Philippines. Together, with the core group of volunteers, we came up with the idea that we could host a tree planting with the help of some very important friends.
One of these friends is Cess Narva.
Because her son Eugene, is one of our Citizen Buddies, Cathy (our Citizen Buddies Program Manager) and I knew that she would be able to help us put our tree planting dream into action.
Cess works for the Marikina City Government, and she played a very important part in facilitating our day of service that was full of friendship, AND inclusive for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
We put together a wonderful plan of learning more about the environment, planting trees, and even holding a contest for a river clean up for the buddies.
We opened this activity to all who wanted to participate. Because that’s what we do here at Best Buddies.
Best Buddies Philippines provides an opportunity for others to come, volunteer, and maybe even learn a little bit more about others and THEMSELVES in the process.
Being Country Director of Best Buddies has afforded me so many learning experiences that I would not have had, had it not been for this organization.
There truly is a beauty in this global volunteer movement that I know I am lucky to be a part of.
So, over coffee one day in Marikina, Cess, Cathy, and I hatched the plan that gave birth to our first tree planting activity.
But we knew we would need help.
- We wanted our Buddies to have fun together, doing something good for the environment.
- We wanted the community to see that our Buddies are completely capable of giving back.
Through the financial aid afforded us by our partnership with Australian Aid, BEST, and DepEd, we were able to plant over 70 trees, forge bonds through service, and further inclusion in a small way.
It is through our programs like this, community events, and fundraising that we can educate even the youngest of individuals that we are more alike than we think…that we should all be included…and that everyone has a purpose and the right to share themselves with others.
While, we did have financial partners in this process, there were also other partners in our event who helped us in kind, as well.
One. Two. TREE! Getting ready for our #BestBuddiesPh Tree Planting tomorrow! Thank you @gatoradeph for making sure everyone will be hydrated tomorrow!!! #inclusion #DepEd #friendship #BestBuddiesAsiaPac
A photo posted by Michelle Aventajado (@mommanmanila) on
We are so grateful for Gatorade Philippines. They made sure our buddies were well-hydrated in the scorching weather.
The Marikina City Government made sure we had ambulances on standby in case of emergency, and our private donors and volunteers made sure that our event ran smoothly, even behind the scenes.
Can I share one thing I have realized through my volunteer work?
People are inherently good and want to help.
YES THEY ARE.
And for that I am thankful.
I’m sure you will think so to, when you take a look at the joy and happiness that was captured by our volunteer photographers Lianne Bacorro and Jhun Richie Chua.