A few years ago, I planted a seed:
a dream in the minds and hearts of some of my students.
Today, I need your help to keep that dream alive.
I am a public school teacher, and I have been teaching math and chess for sometime in Chicago.
Yet, to my first eight students who joined me in 2005 when I started a school’s chess club in Chicago –and to the hundreds others who have since given me the pleasure and honor to mentor them in chess– the chess club represents so much more than just safety, more than just being inside the school building after school. It represents hope and the real possibility of a life very different from what they have known.
A number of my students were underprivileged children, the kind who came to school hungry every morning, the kind who had no greater expectation in life than to struggle, because it was all they had ever known at home.
Now the same students see themselves as thinkers and problem-solvers. They see themselves as intellects, as part of a functioning culture that is willing to help, to share and to make a difference in order to touch the lives of others and make this world a better place to live.
Education is a failure –no matter how much it has done for your mind –if it has failed to open your heart. This is the message that my late parents had imparted in me and which I will always cherish for the rest of my life.
I have been working relentlessly to secure funding for this program, and also taking measures to bring the chess program into the curriculum, so that it stops being treated as a sideline activity and instead becomes validated for its immense benefit, and more importantly, shares in the available funding that is all too often allocated only to sports.
I will not give up this quest, but in the meantime, the program must continue and we have an immediate need funding for the next tournament. I have routinely used my personal earnings to pay for tournament travel costs, and this is becoming increasingly burdensome. If only this small part of the globe needed our help, it would be more manageable, but the reality is that my personal finances are being rapidly depleted also with my ongoing efforts to sustain the school my parents founded in the Philippines.
Please continue visiting the website. I’ve been supporting the Catanduanes Institute of Technology Foundation, Inc. for the past 20 years now.
The past typhoons and natural disasters in the Philippines have had immense impact on the school and I am powerless to rebuild it alone. How can I choose between those students in my homeland who so desperately need my ongoing help, and those beautiful faces of poor underprivileged students right her in my classroom in Chicago every day? How can I stretch my dollar so thin that it helps every child in need?
I cannot do it alone.
It is impossible without the help of someone like you.
Here in Chicago, I wholeheartedly believe that we have kept students safe. We have protected them from gang solicitation, and we have saved their lives. The program however has enjoyed success beyond just improving safety. There are rising stars among these students. There are bright lights among them. There are students who are now showing hope and promise that never existed in their eyes before.