In 1969, Vicente Sibulo, the mayor of Naga City, wanted to put
up a school for very poor teenagers who could not afford to go to
high school. He invited Fr. James O'Brien, S.J., who was then the
chaplain and teacher of Bikol History / Culture and Public Speaking
at the Ateneo de Naga, to be on the Board of Directors of the new
school. The school was called Naga City Youth Opportunity School
(NACIYOS). As some form of assistance to this project, Fr. O'Brien
asked his generous Ateneo de Naga University college students to
train the students in NACIYOS in delivering Bikol folk tales.
This proved to be beneficial both for the Ateneans and the NACIYOS
students. The Naga Ateneans helped the children in their public
speaking skills while at the same time they, and without originally
intending to, were helped in their own human development. The
children "blossomed" before the genuine love, interest and care of
the tutors. The tutors themselves felt self-fulfillment in what
they did. This was where the idea of having Ateneans inspire and
tutor young children was born.
In 1975, Fr. OBrien, now assigned at the Ateneo de Manila,
made a proposition to Fr. Raymond Miller, S.J., who was the
principal of the high school at that time. This came after
OBrien played basketball with some poor boys who could not
afford to go to high school. Miller agreed to an experimental
program that had a social action project, combining the Churchs
Social Teachings with Sociology and Economics. One of the sections
of the high school was selected to be a pilot class and tutored the
children at nearby Barangka Elementary School. Upon receiving the
approval of Barangkas principal, Mr. Calibara, the program
was set in action.
Thus was the birth of Tulong Dunong.
Sitting on a Sidewalk
(A Tulong Dunong Tutors Reflection)
Every Thursday, my class goes to Balara Elementary School. We
spend a couple of hours there tutoring the kids, giving them tests,
and assigning them homework. After that, we board our bus ride back
to the Ateneo. That is our Thursday, another routine day that
comprises our TD subject.
But sometimes, I just think about what Im doing. Its
true that preparing so much requirements and tutoring these kids
can be really hard work. But we should all try to overlook
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