HAPI Kids, HAPI Jr. – Alabang Crash Course in COVID-19 Prevention
by Angie Driskell
It had been a goal of mine to visit HAPI Kids – Alabang and meet the coordinators, Jamie Del Rosario Martinez and Jhing Dedicatoria, since January 2020. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, this was not going to happen as I envisioned. But for every missed opportunity comes a new chance to adjust and push onward. This was that chance.
When Maria Valenzuela, Operations Head – HAPI Secretariat, contacted me to inform me of the HAPI-EVO COVID-19 CAMPAIGN on September 27, I was excited to finally meet the HAPI team in Alabang. The original plan was to assist in meal preparation and documentation.
The night before the event, about ten hours before our scheduled call time, we were asked to create an activity for approximately fifty of the HAPI – Kids Alabang. Considering the curfew and limited mobility at that hour, we put our thinking caps on. (Insert Queen’s ‘Under Pressure’ as background music here.)
Mutya, Dweng, and I looked around the room for supplies, props, and basically whatever we felt we could use to entertain and educate the children. Mutya managed to finalize breakfast for the kids. On top of that, she voiced the COVID song that was later used for the program. Dweng, HAPI – Chief Finance Officer, took on the role of sound engineer and later documented the activity.
We considered several activities, but settled on a short, informative puppet show and review of proper hygiene to prevent the spread of COVID-19. I made it clear that the program must be short and concise. Fun, but fast.
I commend all the children for being so knowledgeable about what they must do as far as washing their hands and sanitizing. I brought disposable masks in case any children might need them, but every child had their own mask. Jhing then made sure that they observed proper distancing after they registered with her. I am also proud of the little ones because they answered questions and participated eagerly. They seemed to enjoy the puppets as well.
They were then served lugaw (rice porridge) and pandesal (bread rolls) for breakfast. They were asked to bring their own bowls and spoons to minimize waste.
Although we did not have much time to discuss future plans for the children in Alabang, it was already agreed that we would push for an activity in December to end such a dismal year on a high note. The goal is to bring back more activities for HAPI – KIDS ALABANG, in cooperation with HAPI JR., in 2021.
Working under pressure and with limited resources is usually stressful. I am grateful for Mutya and Dweng because their quick thinking and creativity helped bring all of this together. It just goes to show that anything is possible with teamwork and enough coffee.
May the spirit of this teamwork carry over into 2021 so we can create bigger and better events for these children’s creativity to keep on flowing so we can provide fun and educational activities for them as well. They deserve it.