A BEACON of hope now shines for street children in Pampanga as Angeles Bahay Bata Center is now reborn under the management of Father Rocky Evangelista's Tuloy Foundation, Inc.

The facility will soon open its doors not just to street children, as according to Fr. Evangelista, the facility is open to any youth needing support. The Angeles Bahay Bata Center is an institution in Central Luzon that seeks to uplift the welfare of "street children".

This, as the facility was again presented under new management on Monday. The event was attended by Clark Development Corporation president Arthur P. Tugade, Carmen McTavish as representative for Rotary Club of Clark Centennial and Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan among others.

Until recently, the Bahay Bata Center was managed by the Rotary Club of Clark Centennial members. However, according to the deed of donation, the organization could no longer manage it, and thus transferred the responsibility, management and operation to Tuloy Foundation.

It should be noted that Rotary has patterned its formula of taking care of street children on Tuloy Foundation’s comprehensive rehabilitation program for street children. Tuloy Foundation, Inc. is a non-stock, non-profit corporation based in Muntinlupa City and started by Father Evangelista in 1993.

It is a comprehensive rehabilitation program for street children in Manila that has achieved outstanding success and worldwide recognition since its inauguration.

The Tuloy Project is designed to help poor and abandoned children to regain self worth and dignity, giving them a chance for a better life; acquire Christian values and habits for a decent, humane and Christian life; and develop the skills and training for self-reliance and integration into society.

Mayor Pamintuan has transferred the management of the Bahay Bata Center to Tuloy Foundation under a usufruct agreement. The lot, where the center is located, was donated to the local government in November 16, 2000 by Timog Silangan Development Corporation.

Mayor Pamintuan is very optimistic that the project will be a further success under Fr. Evangelista.

Set in its own grounds, the center has a three-storey building and has four spacious dormitories that can house 60 children. However, Fr. Evangelista said that they need the support of the private and business sectors in the city to fully operate the facility to its full capacity.

Fr. Evangelista notes that they have tapped help of Clark Development Corporation and locators like Luen Thai for their support.

Taking the lead was Laus Group of Companies (LGC) chairman Levy P. Laus, who initiated the donation of one Haima FStar for the use of the foundation and its other logistical requirements.

The donation was formally presented by Maria Theresa Laus to Fr. Evangelista.

Mrs. Laus said that they are in full support of the Salesian initiatives in Pampanga adding that they hope to work on common initiatives through LGC's corporate social responsibility programs.

Prominent Architect Andy Gulapa is the lead architect for the future projects of the foundation in Pampanga.

Gulapa has volunteered his services to the foundation after knowing of its worthy advocacies. He said that helping the foundation will further bring much needed Christian charity where it is most needed.

"I believe in the project of Fr. Evangelista and I have been in contact with other people to help the foundation. The more children we could help, the better," Gulapa, a well known supporter of Christian advocacy programs in Candaba and Angeles City, said.

Fr. Evangelista was quick to note that the "Tuloy experience" impresses that fact that street children are not treated as marginalized and different.

"In fact they are treated as family. It is our objective to give them the needed well-rounded formation and skills so that they can be able to fully care for themselves," Fr. Evangelista said.

This claim is not surprising as Tuloy Foundation's formula emphasizes Christian values, discipline, vocational skills and training for future productive employment.

Following a six-phase program, the street children are gradually and systematically rehabilitated. Through apprenticeship and on the job training the children are exposed to the working world to prepare them for future employment.

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