CAGAYAN DE ORO City, July 15, 2011â€”The Most Outstanding Volunteer Service Organization for 2010 sent off 11 new â€œbulingitsâ€ (literally, â€œdirtyâ€) to the â€œfrontiersâ€ in Mindanao to help communities developed their human resourcesâ€™ potentials for the greater glory of God.
The Community Outreach & Resource Development Volunteer Program-Year of Service (CORDVP-YOS), famously known only as YOS, a volunteer sending program of the Research and Social Outreach (RSO) of Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, officially sent off eleven fresh graduates to various partner organizations all over Mindanao and the Visayas regions Wednesday with a Eucharistic Celebration at the XU Chapel and a short program outside the Museu de Oro.
Among the eleven volunteers comprising the 18th Batch of Bulingits are four seminarians of the St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, and 2 members of the indigenous peoples (Talaandig and Umayamnon) of Bukidnon.
The YOS was founded by Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma in 1991.
YOS volunteers fondly refer to themselves as bulingits because of the literal dirty works they are sometimes exposed to do by partner organizations they are assigned with.
XU president Fr. Roberto Yap, S.J., urged the new volunteers to focus on their work in the fields they are sent to and not let their potentials be tied to what happened in the past.
â€œWhat you did in the past does not matter. What matters now is what you will do today,â€ he said.
Yap said Xavier University, through the YOS, is sending the volunteers to the frontiersâ€”â€œgeographical and spiritual places where others do not reach or find it difficult to reach.â€
â€œWe are sending you to the frontiersâ€¦I am very happy that the YOS are going to the frontiers, going to places and situation that others find it difficult to reach or cannot reach at allâ€¦We are sending you with our prayers and support,â€ he said.
YOS founder Ledesma expressed hope that the volunteers continue the YOS tradition and culture of the sharing â€œwith people human development [systems] to help the community for the service of the Kingdom of God.â€
Ledesma also encouraged the volunteers to not only focus on the â€œfrontiersâ€ of their work in the field they are sent but to also open their eyes and hearts to others because â€œthe frontiers might be in situations where people are suffering or in painâ€ whether in the communities they are working or in their home places.
â€œWe hope that you will do your best in the frontiers as you share the good news of God, the good news of the Kingdom and to show that the presence of Christ is a reality,â€ added Yap.
St. John Vianney Theological Seminary rector, Rev. Fr. Bong Polinar said he is very happy with the seminaryâ€™s collaboration with the YOS in developing and molding seminariansâ€™ character through a year of exposure in the fields.
2011 is the second year of this collaboration in which fresh graduate seminarians are sent as YOS volunteers.
â€œAt first, we were hesitant because we donâ€™t know the outcome. But with the YOS collaboration, we gradually open up and our experiences for the last two years confirmed the fruitfulness of this program,â€ he said.
Originally patterned after the Jesuit Volunteers Program (JVP), the YOS gives young graduate-volunteers avenues to serve the rural areas and share in developing techniques and strategies to improve the social conditions in the areas they are assigned by partner organizations.
YOS envisions a society, particularly in Mindanao, that is sustained with a human resource of social development professionals contributing to the achievement of the Peace and Development Agenda for Mindanao communities. It works hard to realize this dream by training and forming young professionals to serve Mindanao through volunteer service.
Most of the volunteers that were blessed to have come into contact with Ledesma and other leaders of the YOS communityâ€”now numbering more than 300â€”continue to serve their communities and the Church even while holding office jobs in the private and public sector.
Last May 24, YOS was awarded the Most Outstanding Volunteer Service Organization (Not-for-Profit category) for 2010 in the Search for Outstanding Volunteers 2010.
YOS Program Director Myrna Aboniawan-Siose received the award from presidential sister Ma. Aurora Corazon “Pinky” Aquino-Abellada, Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Cayetano W. Paderanga Sr., Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency Executive Director Joselito C. de Vera and Ricardo E. Reyes Jr. during the awarding night at that Manila Hotel on May 24, 2011, the 10th Year of the International Year of Volunteers.
â€œThe award was not an indication of success for YOS nor its end in 20 years. It was a signal that our mission is not yet finished and there are new challenges emerging,â€ she said.
During Wednesdayâ€™s send-off of the 18th Batch of volunteers, Siose urged everyone to â€œinfectâ€ those who are within their immediate sphere of influence with the sense of â€œMADâ€ness (Making A Difference) for Mindanao.
Siose pointed out the urgency to fill so huge a need for human resources in light of present threats to sustaining volunteersâ€™ sense of â€œMADâ€ness (Making A Difference-ness) in the lives of less fortunate Filipinos.
â€œI appeal to all of you, to all of us, to all who believe in volunteerism, to continue doing good, doing extra-ordinary for the common good, for the welfare and especially of those who can hardly experience what grace and goodness mean. Letâ€™s continue volunteering even in small, simple ways of becoming responsible and engaged citizen. I think, this is the only way we could give justice to our being Filipino, good Filipinos, indeed. Mabuhay ka, YOS volunteer/alumni!â€ she said. (Bong D. Fabe)