Driven by their passion and desire to make their time worthwhile this summer, twenty volunteers from across the country who were mostly millennials recently gathered for a three-day outreach program called I am M.A.D. (Making A Difference) Camp in the municipality of Magdiwang, Sibuyan Island, Romblon.
The millennial volunteers consist of old and new ones united to help 50 students of Tomas and Maria Maglaya Memorial School in Magdiwang to develop their innermost potentials and to make a difference in many simple ways starting from themselves to their families, schoolmates, and their community.
“I am a millennial myself and for me, having a purpose is empowering. Just as we millennials are seeking to find purpose in our career, we also seek purpose in almost everything we do which includes travelling. But regardless of generation, we are all human beings. Each of us is looking for a place to belong, feel loved, and know that we are truly making an impact. This is what I am MAD, Inc. is doing, making meaningful difference not only to our beneficiaries but also to our volunteers who are committed to discover and share their passions through volunteering,” Mark Conrad ‘Maco’ Ravanzo, co-founder and CEO of I am Making A Difference, Inc. said.
During the first part of the camp, students were engaged to various sets of fun and educational activities including storytelling, team-building, games, and obstacle courses—all advocating the four core values of I am MAD of being Maka-diyos, Maka-tao, Makabayan and Makakalikasan.
The I am MAD Camp concluded with an encounter with the parents of the beneficiaries, introducing I am MAD’s mission and encouraging them to support their children in reaching their dreams and be more proactive in their own community. Afterwards, the families met in a mini-retreat session before handling I am MAD’s “Bags of Dreams” school supply gifts to the students.
Magdiwang Mayor Denisa Repizo was present during the closing ceremony where volunteers and beneficiaries alike got the chance to show their appreciation for the support given by the community and local government in making the I am MAD Camp possible.
A youth forum called MAD Talks was also held that aims to empower the local youth to make a difference in their own ways and choose to be part of the solution. Teens were encouraged to join the volunteering community to spur positive change in their community.
To complete the volunteering and #TravelWithAPurpose experience, volunteers of I am MAD had the chance to explore the raw beauty of Romblon by visiting some of its natural attractions such as Lambingan Falls, Sanctuary Garden, Dalipi River, Magdiwang Beach and the scenic view of the famous Mt. Guiting-Guiting in Sibuyan Island. The local tour called “MADventure” ended in the capital town of Romblon where volunteers enjoyed the white sand beaches of Tiamban and Bonbon with a sandbar.
A 2016 TAYO Awards (Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations) awardee for Culture and the Arts, Peace, and Human Development, I am Making A Difference (I am M.A.D.) is millennial-driven, non-profit volunteer organization that aims to advocate Filipino values to both its children-participants and volunteers and spread the passion of creating significance in making a difference in simple yet meaningful ways. It was established in December 2009 as a simple outreach project.
In keeping its advocacy alive, I am MAD travels to different parts of the Philippines to inspire and empower more young individuals to be catalyst of change for a stronger nation-building. After the camp in Romblon, this year, I am MAD is set to visit and do more camps in Zamboanga, Guimaras, Cavite, Oriental Mindoro, and Ilocos Norte.