Pathways: working together - the Ateneo way =)

In his homily during the mass of St. Ignatius last July 30, Fr. Ben talks about the Ateneo way -- of magis, cura personalis, service and helping the individual discover his mission in life. His homily reminded me of a recent conversation I had with one of our Pathways students, Eumir Angeles, who is now an Ateneo sophomore taking up BS Math.

While waiting for a jeep to take us to Marikina last Friday, we got into talking. Apart from schoolwork, he has several extra-curricular activities - Saturday mornings, he volunteers as a tutor for the Math Teachers Association of the Philippines' (MTAP) supplementary classes in Marikina. On Saturday afternoons, he fulfills his NSTP duty as a Pathways volunteer for our tutorials. He even enlisted his block mates and friends to sign up for the same class. And most recently, he is attempting to create an organization composed of Mariqueños here in the Ateneo to find concrete ways to volunteer in Marikina.

Last summer too, he served as Math tutor in Alay ni Ignacio (ANI), oursummer school program. He joins our other Pathways participants - Archie Dolit (5 BS- ECE), Cholo Torres (4 BS DS), Enzo Fabic (3 BS Mgt) and Jo-anne Escolano (3-BS MECO), all of whom are products of Pathways now "paying it forward" through ANI.

Listening to him, I couldn't help but think about how he is able to balance all that on top of school. I asked him why he continues to volunteer for all these activities. What drives him to do so? Doesn't he just want to rest and enjoy some time for himself?

True to his introspective nature, he paused for a while before answering. Then he said, "To give back." I jokingly said, "Wow, Atenistang-Atenista ka na a! " I was curious, so I probed further and asked why he feels the need to give back. Does he feel pressured to do so? He paused again, smiled at how silly the question seemed, and then replied, "Maganda naman po kasi ang naging community ko. Maayos at tahimik. Nakikita kong inaalagaan kami ng gobyerno (Marikina). Maayos din ang naging experience ko sa high school (Marikina Science HS), sa Pathways at sa Ateneo. Malaki po ang naitulong ng Pathways sa pagkatao ko. Kaya hindi mahirap para sa akin ang mag-give back. Kulang pa nga e."

I was just stunned. His answer has stayed with me every since.

Fr. Ben is right. If only everyone would exert the same kind of concern and care Eumir has received all these years -- in his home, his community and schools, then young Filipinos will find it easier to give back to the communities who nurtured them

We have always believed that the Ateneo ideals of magis, cura personalis and service should reach far more than just the Ateneo. We at Pathways, endeavor to share the Ateneo experience with students like Eumir.

Based on a recent external evaluation by the Ford Foundation, apart from being effective in improving students' grades in Math and English, Pathways has also been found effective in enabling students to "recognize the roles they play in society as well as develop their vision and mission in life, thereby giving them more direction."

Judging from what I heard from Eumir last Friday, we must be doing something right. =)

Eumir and the rest of the kids are slowly finding their own paths. This has been made possibly by the immense support we receive from all of you in the Ateneo community - from the time and talent that our volunteer students, faculty and administrators share with us, to the donations you share primarily through the "Piso para kay Isko" coin can campaign as well as the words of encouragement we get from all of you. You have joined us in showing our participants what is the "Ateneo way".

Pathways celebrates its 5th anniversary this year. We graduated our first batch of college students, now all well placed in jobs that provide meaningful work while enabling them to help their families in a better capacity. This year, we also celebrate our 500th student bridged to college. Please check out our website -- http://www.pathwaysphilippines.org/ for more updates.

As we move towards our 6th year, we hope you will continue to support us mold young students into the leaders they were meant to be. =).

The Piso para kay Isko coin can campaign has raised a total of P 66,978.21 over two and a half years. That has provided 22 students with food and materials they'll need in the course of their Pathways classes which in turn have enabled these students to confidently tackle the college application process and enjoy college life soon after.

We hope you will continue and perhaps intensify your support for Piso para kay Isko so together; we can form more students the "Ateneo way".

To get your very own Piso para kay Isko coin can, or for more information, please feel free to call me or Ira Tamis at locals 4048-4049.

Solvie Nubla
Pathways to Higher Education
Local 4045-4048