Five years ago, the high school Gawad Kalinga service club had a dream. They envisioned themselves building homes for the poor families living in the slums of the Philippines. Now, not only have they built homes, they have made a village, a school, and more importantly, friendships that will last a lifetime.
GK is a Philippines-based service club established by founder Tony Meloto in 1995. The organization was started to prevent the impoverished youth in the Philippines from spiraling into a life of crime. Over the years, Meloto realized that establishing family-based communities was essential in stopping this downhill trend.
Meloto realized the importance of the home environment. The home is the foundation of a person’s upbringing. A broken home translates to a broken person, whereas Meloto wanted to create communities that would support each other like one big family.
“Since then solidarity with the poor has been the joy of my life and I am deeply grateful to my wife and children for accepting my bigger definition of family that includes the poor, who oftentimes deserve the bigger share of my time because they have less in life,” said Meloto.
This GK family consists not only of the people living in the homes, but the thousands of volunteers that travel to the Philippines each year to help build homes. That includes our very own SAS GK service club members who make a service trip at least once a year.
But 2014 was a special year for the GK service club. In 2010, the SAS high school service club was founded by Maiki Del Rosario with the goal of raising $5000 to build a home for one of the beneficiaries in the Philippines. Almost five years have past and the GK service club is now one of largest clubs at SAS, with over 100 members and an even bigger goal of raising $100,000 in order to establish a village.
“We are extremely excited to see the foundations of our own [SAS] village being built. It seemed as if it was only yesterday that we were in the planning stages,” said Bianca Antonio, vice president of the GK club. But this village didn’t just rise from the ground. Hard work and determination were key in the development of this village.
The highly successful GK fundraisers, such as the Zombie Run, Laser Wars, and Rally for Homes, have raised over $40,000, almost half of their final goal. Not only did they raise money, they raised awareness and more importantly, compassion, for the people living in poverty.
Justin Peterson, president of the GK club said, “Raising money definitely helps, but the more important aspect is to create compassionate relationships with the people in these villages. Donating can be a one-time thing, but love and care can last forever.”
The GK club meets every other Tuesday during lunch at Mr. Craig’s room, H329. Their upcoming fundraisers include the Gala Dinner in late November and the Zombie Run next year.