What does it entail to “pay it forward”?
Three things: kindness, generosity, and time. Strongly enough, the more one gives these, the less one feels one lacks them in their lives. And when one combines these three things together, more often than not, it always results in heartfelt smiles and loving thanks.
Ever since TOG Integrated started, its advocacy of giving and sharing blessings back to the community has always been at the forefront of the company’s objectives. Anchoring on its core values of Humility, Empathy, Accountability, and Teamplay, TOG has consistently lived out their advocacy with passion and dedication. Whether in big or small ways, paying it forward is never a meager act for TOG.
On the first weekend of December 2019, TOG spent time with one of the barangays in the municipality of General Mamerto Natividad, in the province of the Nueva Ecija; the community of Pulong Singkamas. Such community experienced the outreach project of TOG that had a one-peso budget, and bared the name “Isang Samahan Para sa Pulong Singkamas”. Led by TOG’s Chief Executive Officer, Rod Vejerano, and Chief Finance and Administration Officer, Sheilla Vejerano, alongside the company’s shareholders, board of directors, employees, former employees, family members, clients, and partners, everyone took time and effort for the “Isang Samahan” project.
Activities such as stage games, group dancing, storytelling, and arts and crafts filled the day. Children were divided into age groups for the storytelling activity. TOG believes in the importance of reading comprehension—that at a young age, children should be exposed to books as these are vital to their growth and development in understanding facts and in expanding their awareness and imagination. Moreover, TOG also wanted to teach and to instill in the children the significance of reading with confidence so as to boost their belief in themselves and to raise their morale.
According to a report posted by the United Nations, the Philippines has the highest literacy rate amongst Southeast Asian countries rating at 97.95 percent. However, despite such progress, there is still an astounding number of children in the country who face literary difficulties. That is why with the help and involvement of Pulong Singkamas community leaders and teachers, TOG made sure the advocacy for storytelling was the highlight of the outreach.
After the storytelling session, the kids also got the chance to express their creativity through poem writing, string painting, DIY-slime making, and paper-mosaic designing. While the children were enjoying their activities, parents were invited to attend a session about fighting dengue.
The outreach ended with hearts filled with joy and gratitude as love and generosity emanated from the day’s happenings. The families of the community received grocery bags filled with snacks and drinks to bring home while the children received school supplies.
It was truly a day of pagsasamahan in Pulong Singkamas as the beneficiaries were treated to educational yet entertaining activities by the volunteers. TOG volunteers freely shared kindness, openly bestowed generosity, and willingly gave their time and effort to Pulong Singkamas, and in return, they left the community receiving bright smiles and heartfelt thanks.
“If you stop for one second and do something, everyone is happy. You pay it forward and it comes back to you twelvefold.” — Mariska Hargitay