THERE are still children nowadays who go to school without even a good pair of shoes especially those in the far-flung areas in the region. An economic reason is seen as a problem.

A pair of black shoes is part of the uniform of the students but some parents cannot afford to buy. It is also a very important item in the wish list of students who have been using just a pair of ordinary slippers and now would like to have their feet feel more comfortable while walking and travelling a long distance before reaching their school.

Realizing this need of the school children the University of the Cordilleras under its Project H.E.L.E.N (Health, Education, Livelihood, Environment, Nurturance), the community extension program of the university initiated an undertaking addressing this concern of the students.

Work continues for the donation of more than four thousand new pairs of Tom’s shoes for students in Baguio and Benguet this school opening to keep the students feet warm this rainy season.

481 pairs of shoes is intended for students in Jose P. Laurel Elementary School, 397 in Yagyagan Elementary School, 554 in Tuba Central School, 840 in Pinsao Elementary Schools, and 2,679 pairs in Lucban Elementary School.

Also, this year 50 pairs of shoes is allotted for the children in Bahay Ampunan Bethesda and another 50 for the students under the Adopt-A-Scholar Program of UC which is in partnership with individual or group who can become ”parents” of a child or children to help them with their education.

UC’s Adopt-A-Scholar Program was inspired by the very successful scholarship program “Barya ko, Skolar ko” of UC Laboratory School implemented in Tublay which benefitted ten students. For just a thousand pesos help from a sponsor a child’s education for one whole year is assured including the school supplies needed.

Last year, Project H.E.L.E.N shoes distribution beneficiary was Springhills Elementary School in Barangay Loakan Apugan, its adopted school, which received a total of 319 pairs of new shoes on December 17, 2013

UC Project H.E.L.E.N headed by Vice President for Administration Dr. Leonarda Aguinalde said they always try to see the needs of the kids and look for donors to help address it.

“The gift that keeps on giving. UC came from a gift. Until now it keeps on giving,” Aguinalde said.

Apart from shoes distribution UC Project H.E.L.E.N also implemented the book donations activity, the 14th wave delivery.

One drop of true love means a lot for students who need help. Helping them address their needs is also helping and inspiring them to attend school for a brighter future.

Meanwhile, talking about shoes, I remember when I was still a small kid it was my father who taught me how to wear my shoes correctly. That is just one of the most caring attributes of my father, my first teacher in reading, an avid fun of this column. Happy Fathers’ Day to my dad Eugenio “Waldo” Rullamas Sungduan!

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