‘Good Deeds Day’ debuts in PH: Sowing seeds of kindness
Amid the hate, division and negativity that have tainted the political scene for the past few months, it is reassuring to know that compassion remains in abundance, moving people to make a difference for others, in ways big or small.
This was how organizers framed the country’s first observance of “Good Deeds Day,” an annual event now observed in over 90 nations.
It could not have come at a better time, said Dondon Marquez, executive director of the volunteer group Hands on Manila (HOM), as the Philippines and the world at large face various challenges, from poverty, corruption and conflicts that burden families, tear up communities and erode values.
As Marquez put it in an interview, “despite all that negativity, it’s good that there are positive activities like this that can balance it out.”
Started a decade ago by American-Israeli businesswoman Shari Arison, Good Deeds Day aims to gather volunteers in various countries to “put into practice the simple idea that every single person can do something good, be it large or small, to improve the lives of others and positively change the world.”
In Manila, Good Deeds Day was celebrated for the first time on April 1 by HOM volunteers with the help of Child Hope Asia Philippines at Arroceros Park. Around 130 urban poor children from various communities in the capital were treated on that day to games, prizes and a hearty lunch.
“Sometimes, we have to remind people to still do good even if there are many unpleasant aspects in our lives,” Marquez said. “Being good is natural to us. We just have to keep it alive.”
Among the children present were 13-year-old AC and her friend, Abigail, 12, both from Divisoria. For AC, the experience best demonstrated the meaning of the Golden Rule—“Do unto others what you want others to do unto you.”
Abigail, meanwhile, said she believed she has been doing her own share of good deeds by helping her parents do chores like looking after their eatery.
Lolit Ferro, one of the hundreds of HOM volunteers who showed up for the event, said it was important for kids like AC and Abigail to receive or be shown acts of kindness, to impress upon them that they can also help others.
She noticed that some of the kids appeared to have imbibed this message as they chose to bring their lunch home to share it with their families.
Joey Gacho’s case is an example of how a simple good deed can become a life-changing moment for a child.
In the late 1980s, Gacho became a beneficiary of the various outreach programs of the newly established Child Hope Asia Philippines. Through the group’s activities, the young boy learned to appreciate the kindness of strangers. Today, he serves as one of the group’s educators.
Street children, he noted, often grow up angry at the world because of their condition. “But once they are given love and shown how to do good, they are able to reciprocate and even replicate the kindness extended to them.”
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