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Referred by a friend of a D&L employee, Lao Foundation (LFI) came to know about the night high school program of Siena College Taytay, Rizal. LFI was in turn linked up with A Better Chance Foundation (ABC Foundation), the program partner of Siena College for 13 years.

On February 2, 2016, A Better Chance (ABC) Foundation founder and Chairman Mr. Lewis Edwards with his Board Directors Dr. Bayani delos Santos and Mr. Rene Logatoc (also the Director of Siena Christian Community Formation& Development Services and the one who established the night high school program) and Program Director Ms. Gail Pangilinan-Espinas visited Lao Foundation Inc. to present their scholarship program to Lao Foundation.

ABC Foundation established in July 2001 and registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is a non-stock, non-profit, non-governmental charitable institution which aims to assist financially challenged children. The Foundation envisions itself of becoming a significant and respected contributor to nation building by giving equal opportunity to education and other learning facilities among indigent but deserving Filipino children towards developing their human potential to the maximum, and eventually, making them an asset to society.

Working towards this vision, ABC Foundation has partnered with Siena Colleges in 2002 a year after it launched its night high school program for out of school youth and has since provided scholarship to students in poor communities near and around the campuses of Siena Colleges specifically: 
Siena College, Taytay, Rizal 
Siena College, Quezon City 
Siena College, San Jose Delmonte, Bulacan
St. Dominic Academy, Pulilan, Bulacan
St. James Academy, Plaridel, Bulacan

With lots of applications (300 for Siena College Taytay alone) and only 55 slots to fill in, the applicants must: 
• Be a resident of the locality of partner schools or nearby neighboring towns of the school
• Be a 6th grade graduate from a public school
• Be between 12-15 years of age upon submission of application for 1st year night high school scholar
• Submit an application form with necessary requirement to Siena College
• Take and pass the night high school scholarship requirements such as an entrance exam, interviews, and home visit by a social worker.

Once an applicant has passed all the requirements to become a night high school scholar, he/she must abide by the following rules and regulations, created and implemented by ABC Foundation and Siena College. One of this is the active participation of the parents in their children’s education and values formation activities of the school.

Five years after in 2007, Siena College and ABC Foundation had its first batch of night high school graduates. This started the college scholarship of ABC Foundation for the graduates of their night high school program. Every year 12 outstanding night high school graduates are given the opportunity to pursue their college education after they passed the selection process that involves taking a college level aptitude exams, writing essays, and several interviews. They must also be interested in attending state or public colleges or universities only.

Mr. Edwards commits to invest in continuing education and also encourage recipients particularly with respect to college scholars to practice the “Pay It Forward” scheme so that the program becomes a continuous helping process that could benefit future generations. Presently, ABC Foundation has a total of 616 Night High Scholars and 190 College Scholars. They have a total of 130 college graduates who are now part of the workforce as engineers, certified public accountants, data analysts, instructor, etc and working in big companies such as Accenture, Deloitte Philippines, and Ducati Philippines.

In addition to their scholarship program, ABC Foundation also provides eyeglasses for students in selected public schools and feeding program for their night high school students and severely wasted students in selected public schools.

Convinced by the work of ABC Foundation and the alignment of its mission to LFI’s mission of uplifting the economic situation of those in need through education, LFI welcomes ABC Foundation as its new partner to begin with the sponsorship of twenty (20) night high school students in the coming school year 2016-2017.

Mr. Francis Yan, president and co-founder of GCHS Project Bless Foundation (Project Bless) updated Lao Foundation last 2 February 2016 on LFI’s Evelyn Lee Lao Teachers' Welfare Program (LFI code: TW_2013-001) which is a fund that supports Project Bless’ “Teachers’ Welfare Program”.

Mr. Yan reported that they have 77 retired teacher-beneficiaries at present, the youngest is 65years old and the oldest is 97 years old. These teachers have rendered at least 10years of service at Grace Christian College. Half of them are already fully retired and half are actually still teaching in the school.

Lao Foundation has been supporting Project Bless for 3 years now through the Evelyn Lee Lao Teachers' Welfare Program in honor of the matriarch of the Lao Family who was a teacher at Grace Christian High School (now Grace Christian College). LFI’s support goes to the welfare services for the teachers that include:

- monthly allowance of Php2,500
- birthday love gift of Php 5,000
- ambulance services
medical services worth Php30,000/year (covers annual physical exams, check-up and medical consultations, medicals procedures, hospitalization, and medicines.
- bereavement assistance to immediate family upon death Php20,000

Every quarter, Project Bless organizes a lunch get-together for the retired teacher-beneficiaries, an event being looked forward to as all come in their best attire. It is a day not only for catching up but also of fun --- raffle prizes, songs and dances, etc. For Project Bless it is also a day to observe the physical well-being of their beneficiaries. If a beneficiary fails to attend the quarterly meeting twice they conduct a home visit.

Noting the geriatric needs of the retired teacher-beneficiaries, Project Bless, started by Grace Christian High School Class 71, is reaching out to alumni of other batches particular those who are now doctors.

012916Lao Foundation visited Purple Community Fund (PCF) last 28 January 2016 at its school in Balut, Tondo, Manila.

Ms. Yda Rodulfo (Development and Special Projects Director) updated the LFI team on various developments among these: the renewal of their license with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the scheduled evaluation by Philippine Council for NGO Certification (PCNC) for their accreditation. The PCNC accreditation will unlock more doors for PCF’s funding requirements.

Ms. Rocelle Malvar (Student Success Coach) said that besides giving traditional education, the clubs (singing, dancing, ballet, and sports) and other artistic and creative initiatives have been activated. They found out that their students excel more in these areas considering their economic background. With these activities, they also make the parents aware of the other career paths for their children.

According to Ms. Yda there will be changes and development in their operations and management style all geared towards a clearer direction of achieving their goal--- that of transforming the lives of their students for the better. She proudly introduced one of their college graduates who is now working with them.

Aside from this, they will seriously look more into and address the welfare of their employees: teaching, social, community, medical, office, and admin personnel. LFI provides funding for the salaries of the teachers which is about 76% of the total requirement.

Ms. Yda expressed her thanks for LFI who not only provided them with funds but also connected them with LFI’s other partners. One of which, the GCHS Project Bless Foundation, Inc. who sponsored a 2-day training for their teachers at Grace Christian College.

LFI conducts regular site visitation to its partners to be updated, to exchange ideas and good practices observed from other partners, and to connect them with other partners.

During this visit, LFI turned over to PCF the in-kind goods donated by Industria Multipurpose Cooperative (IMC) to LFI. IMC is an employees' cooperative of D&L Group of Companies since July 2005. It encourages thrift and savings mobilization and extends funds/credit to the members for production and provident purposes.

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Lao Foundation kicked off 2016 by visiting and extending educational assistance to financially constrained students of Don Bosco Training Center in San Jose, Nueva Ecija last January 14, 2016. Under the new project LFI-.Don Bosco Training Center TechVoc Educational Assistance Project, LFI will provide for the total training cost of the students.

Don Bosco Training Center is a TESDA accredited Technical-Vocational Institution catering to out-of-school youths. The center offers a 15–month training program in three trade qualifications, namely: SMAW NC II (Shielded Metal Arc Welding), MSES NC II (Motorcycle Small Engine Servicing), and Automotive Servicing NC I & NC II.

TVET Director Fr. Jerry T. Santos said that the Salesians of Don Bosco have been helping the underprivileged youth of Nueva Ecija by running the training center for the past twenty years. They accept applicants from the different municipalities in the province of Nueva Ecija and nearby provinces of Tarlac, Quirino and Nueva Viscaya. Once the applicant passed the tests and interview, two of their staff conducts home visit to further screen the applicants and prioritize the students based on their economic status.

To support the education of their students, Fr. Jerry T. Santos and his staff look for sponsors and the students are required to pay a minimal fee as their counterpart for their training. Currently, they have a total of one hundred fifteen (115) scholars; only fifteen (15) of these have sponsors and receiving full scholarship. The others are partially supported by the donations from individuals and organizations. They also receive minimal donation from the local government unit and TESDA.

During LFI’s visit, TVET Director Fr. Jerry T. Santos expressed his gratitude for the sponsorship of LFI. He shared that they were fortunate to know about LFI through D&L HRD Director Ramon 'Mon' Taniola during a talk to Don Bosco TVET Directors encouraging them to tweak their courses to fit the current needs of the industry. About 8 years back, Mon Taniola was also instrumental in linking Don Bosco Training Center in Nueva Ecija with D&L HRD, which lead to some graduates to work at D&L. Similarly, LFI mentioned that it would also be good for Don Bosco to think of high value courses that would alleviate the students’ economic situation faster which in turn could cascade to the students’ families considering the strong Filipino culture in helping their family.

According to Fr. Santos, LFI’s approval of the sponsorship was an answered prayer. He expressed gratitude for the LFI’s visit and for the productive and inspiring discussions with the foundation. He said that LFI’s sponsorship encouraged them to not only continue their work but to do more for the poor youth entrusted to their care.

P10.54

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As of 22 Nov 2017