Heneral Luna wages a different battle
Photos by Kimberly dela Cruz
Heneral Luna may have died at the end of the movie of the same name, but the person behind the feisty character is so very much alive, especially to the young beneficiaries of Capable (Care and Protect Life on Earth) Foundation.
Award-winning actor John Arcilla, who played the title role in the much-acclaimed movie, is president of Capable Foundation.
Although set up primarily to promote care for the environment, one of Capable’s major initiatives is the Complementary Education for Holistic Development Program (CEHDP), which offers free tutorial services for Grades 1 to 6 students.
CEHDP also arranges a field trip once a year.
On a recent Sunday, about 60 CEHDP participating Grades 1 to 5 pupils from San Antonio Elementary School, Fourth Estate Elementary School, Agape Young Achievers Christian Academy and Department of Science and Technology special classes at Parañaque National High School visited the Mind Museum in Taguig City.
Arcilla and most of Capable’s volunteers told the Inquirer that it was also their first time to visit the museum.
At the museum, it was obvious the children enjoyed the tour, watching attentively and actively participating in the experiments that were conducted.
Arcilla said the students’ grades were not checked prior to acceptance in the tutorial program.
“Anyone who wants to be part of the program can join. We can accommodate more than 100 students,” he said. “For some of these children, who come from public schools, the tutorial program becomes an advanced class. For slow learners or younger students, the program helps them learn.”
The tutorials are held every Sunday, 1-5 p.m., at the covered court of New San Dionisio Village, United Parañaque 5, Sucat in Parañaque City.
Right now CEHDP, which is led by teacher Maria Dina Fabian, has seven volunteer teachers for the tutorial program. The volunteers came from Agape Young Achievers Christian Academy, Las Piñas Science High School and St. Mark’s Institute.
“Before the school year ends, we go to different schools and look for volunteers. But if the volunteers we have right now will stay, there will be no need to get more volunteers,” said Arcilla, who was once a volunteer catechism teacher in his parish in his hometown Baler, Aurora province.
The volunteers are licensed teachers. “The subjects they teach in school should be the subjects that they will teach to the beneficiaries of CEHDP, like Mathematics, Science and English,” Arcilla said.
The education program is still very much in keeping with Capable’s objectives of concern for the environment.
Arcilla got the idea to set up the foundation when he organized acting workshops in 2003. The passing of a brother-in-law, who had cancer, strengthened his resolve to set up the foundation. Cancer is the “sickness of the earth,” according to Arcilla.
“We have to do something about our environmental problems,” the actor said. “If you think about it, everything is interrelated. Even if you graduate and get the job you want, you are still vulnerable to the hazards in your environment. Your dreams will be nothing if pollution or typhoons will destroy your life.”
Arcilla said he would like the CEHDP beneficiaries to visit people who were sick, especially those suffering from cancer, so the children could visualize life’s difficulties and they could respond and be concerned for other people and the environment.
“No human being should do nothing for the environment. We are all interconnected, whether we like it or not,” the actor said.
Capable Foundation’s projects also include Fit Earth, Fit All, a weekly fitness program; CEHDP’s Sining Kalikasan, environmentally oriented performing arts workshops for out-of-school youth; Seedlings Project, distribution of fruit and vegetable seeds; and Stray Home Project, an animal adoption program.
Arcilla said the projects were like symbols of the steps human beings had to take to ease their situation on earth.
As for the performing arts workshops, they are no surprise at all.
After Arcilla himself attended theater workshops in his youth, he went on to give echo seminars in the communities of Baler. He had to stop, though, once he received a scholarship to St. Joseph’s College in Quezon City where he took up Mass Communication. But he found himself giving theater workshops again, this time for the adopted schools of his alma mater.
“I am glad that I am sharing discoveries and experiences with others,” he said.
The actor has been told that, in some cases, student grades have improved with the tutorials. “Getting passing grades was really a big thing for them. I’m so happy that they are proud and aware of their progress.”
He thinks the program’s children will be better citizens who will value education and man’s relationship with the environment. He has plans of expanding the foundation nationwide.
For more information on Capable Foundation, visit www.capablefoundation.com.
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