Wednesday, November 25, 2009

His calling was to educate

At 16, he knew what he wanted to do. He wanted to help street children and provide them with basic education with whatever means he had. He is Efren Penaflorida.

(Photo courtesy of CNN)

Efren is the talk of the town as he was recently recognized as CNN Hero of the Year for 2009. And this is no mistake. Kuya F!, as he is fondly called by his volunteers and the children he helps, is the founder of Dynamic Teen Company, a group of teens who pushed makeshift carts of books and blackboards along the streets of Bacoor, Cavite, under the blistering heat of the sun, just to reach out to and gather kids and to teach them how to read and write. He organized the group at a time when he himself was struggling to make ends meet and to provide for his own education. Let it be known that Kuya F! was not as priviledged as other founders of foundations and socio-civic groups with money and resources to spare. He was from a poor family, living near a garbage dumpster, and was only able to finish his education because of the generous support that World Vision Phils. and Club 8586, Inc., gave him. He was not as popular back then as certain politicians or celebrities who have their own foundations; he was, in fact, bullied and often assaulted by his peers. All he had was a vision of a better youth: educated and with moral principles and values.

That vision, fueled with support, was the driving force of the hero known today that is Efren. And with that vision is encouragement; he encourages everyone to look into themselves and let their heroism unleash. More so, he affirmed that his work is the calling that God has given him and that he is only responding to that calling.

That led me to thinking. What is my calling?

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