Tracy Cruz: Serving for a living

After four years of volunteering for Gawad Kalinga (GK), Tracy Cruz decided to work fulltime for the non-governmental organization in 2013. Para sa kanya, pagsagot ito sa isang “calling” na magsilbi sa mahihirap.

“I’ve seen how GK transforms lives of the poor through its values formation program in which they empower the poor to become productive citizens by ‘building a culture of caring and sharing,’” kwento niya.

Puso ng Pamilyang Pilipino - Tracy Cruz : Serving for a living

Trabaho ni Tracy ang kumuha ng volunteers, especially among the youth through partnerships with different institutions, including universities.

“I am also responsible for the implementation of the values formation with the staff and members of our partner, Lifebank Foundation,” sabi niya.

Volunteer for life

Nakakabilib dahil kahit fulltime ang service ni Tracy sa mga underprivileged communities, may oras pa siyang mag-volunteer sa isa pang grupo.

“I also volunteer for another international NGO, All Together In Dignity Fourth World Philippines,” dagdag niya. “The advocacy of this organization is to share our talents and knowledge with the poorest of the poor.”

Tracy uses her photography and writing skills for their cause.

Para sa kanya, it’s our responsibility to make a contribution. Aside from the great need to help the poor, hindi raw kaya kung government lang ang kikilos. “We need to act to alleviate poverty,” paliwanag ni Tracy.

Sabi niya, binibigyan natin sila ng chance to have a better life by creating opportunities.

“By loving the poor, we naturally share our time and resources,” sabi niya. “We need to empower them so they can start believing in themselves.”

Change lives

Talagang life-changing ang buhay ng volunteer, according to Tracy.  By helping, you also give people hope.

Puso ng Pamilyang Pilipino - Tracy Cruz : Serving for a living

“Our activities, such as house build and workshops, encourage the volunteers to help,” kwento niya. “Through hard work, they realize that they are needed and that they can do something for our country by being pro-active.”

According to Tracy, siya mismo ay beneficiary ng volunteerism. “This is where I found fulfilment, peace, and contentment,” she shares. “When we live our lives for others and when we align our passions to our purpose, we find ourselves.”

Bawat araw daw ay opportunity to learn, inspire, discover, and make a difference sa buhay ng iba. Kaya pala maraming gaya niya ang talagang nagbibigay ng panahon sa ganitong gawain.

“We never feel that we are wasting our time because we know that our efforts are needed and appreciated,” sabi niya.

Teach and share

Bukod sa mga house-build na tatak-GK, kabilang sa mga projects nila ang paghanap ng volunteer facilitators sa iba’t ibang workshops, gaya ng arts, sports, at iba pang interests para sa mga bata.

When you teach and share your talents and knowledge, you feel the hunger of the children to learn. You realize that they need opportunities and we have the power to create it for them,” sabi niya.

Ini-encourage niya tayo na mag-volunteer sa pagturo, hindi lang para ma-share ang talent pero pati ang passion. Challenge daw ang pagiging teacher sa mga ganitong community dahil karamihan sa kanila ay hindi fast learners.

Puso ng Pamilyang Pilipino - Tracy Cruz : Serving for a living

“But they try their best to impress you,” ayon kay Tracy. “Because they cannot afford education, they appreciate your time and they make the best out of it.”

By teaching these children, ikaw mismo ay matututo. “You become patient, understanding and grateful,” sabi niya.

At ang final tip ni Tracy for future volunteers?: “Keep an open heart and mind.”

Kaya sa mga gustong mag-volunteer sa Gawad-Kalinga, check-out

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