by Tamia Reodica
It has been almost a year since the first 2KK Goes to EK, but I could never forget how much of a wonderful day it was - the most memorable thing being the smile that stayed on the face of Cy, my kapatid for the day.
2KK Goes to EK truly put the fun in fundraising. It made me see up close how important it is to give brilliant young minds such as the 200 kapatids these great memories, stories they'll take with them along the way to their bright futures. The kapatids were so game to do anything, which made things extra enjoyable. Every little thing, even the small ones (like the stuffed toys won from the parlor games), meant the entire world to them, so you could imagine how much going to EK was a great experience for them.
Aside from being able to give the 200 kapatids a day of magical memories, it was also a chance to bond with strangers who became friends, friends who had the same love for reaching out to those in need. The entire day had a nice atmosphere that felt like home and every volunteer was well taken care of. It was also wonderful seeing the 2KK team in action - I was in awe of how they were a family of different people who constantly work hard to put their time, effort, and love into teaching kapatids. The unique thing about 2KK is that even the scholars - the kapatids - are part of the family themselves. They also don't just teach these children academics, but even the ability to dream for themselves despite the poverty they may face.
2KK Goes to EK is a one of a kind experience and anyone with a love for helping and making others happy will enjoy it!
by Trisha Ann Frances Balan
They say you never forget your first time and thanks to my own little miracle named Milagros, I will never forget my first time in Enchanted Kingdom. Since I'm the youngest in my family, I'm not used to taking care of another living, breathing human being. I'm always the one being taken care of. As you might imagine, that makes me a little self-centered and quite inconsiderate. On June 6, 2015, however, I was given the serious responsibility of ensuring Milagros' safety and making sure she has good time. I've been with 2KK for quite a while and I've taught the kids countless times, so I thought this would be relatively easy.
It was not.
I had to follow her wherever she went and trust me that girl can run. There were rides I wanted to go on, but she didn't want to, so I had to stay with her. I had to make sure she was always hydrated. I always asked her hold my hand so she wouldn't get lost. It was the definition of stressful. I actually had war flashbacks to all of the times when I gave the same kind of stress to my older siblings. It made me appreciate them so much more. Even if I was frantic and frazzled half of the time, Milagros and I still had an amazing day together. We played games while waiting in line. We chased the Wizard around the park for a picture. We made each other laugh with our corny jokes. We tried to get soaking wet on the Rio Grande Rapids (she was drenched, I was not). We rode all the rides she loved again and again until we both got dizzy and slightly nauseous.
Come 8 pm, we were tired out of our minds, but when the fireworks began she ran all the way to the end of the parking lot and, of course, I ran after her. We stood side by side as the sparks flew across the sky. I glanced to my right and I saw her bright eyes shining in wonder and fascination at the golden lights. And, in that simple moment, I had forgotten all my stress and fatigue. I felt happy because I was able to give this sweet little girl the best time of her life. After the fireworks show, Milagros had me crouch down and she said to me, "Parang Pasko lang yun! Salamat po talaga, Ate Trisha!" Then Milagros hugged me like I was really her older sister and I tried so hard not to cry.
This event changed me on a level I cannot even begin to explain. When I first walked through those EK gates, I was a self-obsessed "bunso" in charge of a little girl. When I walked out, however, I was truly an Ate, constantly nagging and fiercely protective of her younger sister.
I believe that God sends us miracles not to save us, but to change us into better people. Safe to say Milagros was my miracle. She changed me from a Bunso to an Ate and for that I will always be grateful.
by Knut Anders GjersØe
Throughout the weeks after first volunteering with 2KK, people have started asking me this question with weird grins on their faces: "Why are you so excited for the weekend, going to Payatas?". I would have to say that it's a feeling, a feeling that you are able to do something truly wonderful, a feeling of coming into a community that embraces each other and wants to grow together. Engaged and enthusiastic volunteers and Kaps merge as such when we meet during the weekend, and the sessions are filled with energy, laughter and positivity. And we all know that we upskill ourselves in matters of good values and knowledge of the world.
You truly get a perspective of life when doing this kind of work. During one session, I was teaching my group of Kaps the word "unfortunate", and asked if one of them could use it in a sentence. "It was unfortunate when our our house burned down and we had nowhere to live," one of the Kaps said. How she said it and how the other Kaps showed that they knew how that feels really struck deep with me. This is one thing that many of them have seen, and they know that it can possibly happen in the future as well, because of their living conditions. In that moment, it felt like reality. The sessions always teaches us something, like testing our perceptions and training ourselves to be kind and helpful in all scenarios: for example, by doing role play, where we project how to act towards the disabled (which is played by a fellow Kap). Here, I could clearly see the Kaps starting the role play by teasing the disabled person, which somehow might be a normal thing, transitioning on welcoming and caring for that Kap playing as the disabled person. They did it naturally and I could see how they knew this was the right thing to do.
The work 2KK does for these kids is very valuable exactly because it brings out these values in the kids. When the Kaps go home and to school with these values, I believe the community where they live in would become better. You can see that several of the former Kaps continue with 2KK as volunteers themselves, which is a clear sign of how they truly want to build on these values and contribute to the next generation. By joining 2KK I've challenged myself and learned a lot about what I can contribute. I feel great being around this community of prospering these values. More than anything, the 2KK group wants you to feel good and enjoy yourself.
I work as project coordinator in a maritime company here in Manila. By being put to challenges in work and your everyday environment, as well as having to make friends and create your own happiness in an unknown and different place, you understand better who you are and what you can do. And by combining working and volunteering with 2KK, I feel like I can accomplish anything, take on challenges around the world with people from all over, because when you realize that you can enjoy and do great work wherever, you can do anything and go everywhere.