150 ‘special children’ to learn skills at summer camp

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QUEZON CITY, April 15, 2014 – About 150 special children from different parts of the country will gather for a fun-filled summer camp with workshops on basic self-care and independence in Orion, Bataan on April 25-May 4.

The camp is “a big play ground,” said Guided and Unified Interaction for the Development of Children, Inc. (GUIDE, Inc.) founder and president Gerry Duwin Dela Zerna, who is the main organizer of the event. “They can roam around” and do the activities intended to give them delight, learning and experiences, he explained.

Michael Gerry Duwin Dela Zerna, founder and president of Guided and Unified Interaction for the Development of Children, Inc. (GUIDE, Inc.), bonds with one of GUIDE’s recipients.

The 10-day camp will also teach special children good manners, proper table conduct, how to wash and take a bath on their own, he said. These are components of the foundation’s effort to instill independence in special children.

“They are capable of autonomy,” Dela Zerna said. “Parents can inspire them do basic things on their own by leading them to emulate actions.”

Special kids generally look for a gesture of approval from their parents before doing a particular act in public, he said.

This behavior indicates reliance on parents, which GUIDE discourages, Dela Zerna added. This is the reason why the kid should not accompanied by their parents during the 10-day camp.

In the camp, the special children’s dreams come true, he said. They will experience participating in an actual Santacruzan, dressed up as the Reyna Elena or the escorts and sagalas.

Dela Zerna during one of his classroom talks

Their dream of becoming TV stars will come true in the “Little Mister and Miss GUIDE.” Similar to TV kiddie searches, the special children will be clad in swim wear, casual wear, and long gown. Questions will be asked.

Other activities in the 10-day camp include Bayanihan; arts and crafts; Mascarada; story-telling; Tanghalang Pambata (act playing contest); kite-making and flying; Musikahan (singing contest); Hatawan (modern dance contest); Kiddie Olympics; Cheering Bonanza; Palarong Pinoy; Pistang Pinoy; Siningdakan (folk dance contest); nature hike and tree-planting, explained GUIDE secretary Sharon C. Manipon, who is a SPED teacher at Pax Et Bonum Center For Special Children.

The activities are meant to motivate them and develop their motor skills, creativity, and build their self-esteem and sociability, she said.

In 2012, Dela Zerna was chosen by Yahoo! Southeast Asia as among “7 Modern Day Pinoy Heroes”. He also received Gawad Geny Lopez Jr. Bayaning Pilipino Award in 2014. (Oliver Samson)

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