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  • GK USA

SipaG: Age is just a number (when it comes to caring!)

Jose Rizal, the Philippines' National Hero once said that the youth is the hope of the (Filipino) nation. And that is exactly what we see in the past and current scholars of SipaG - GK's platform for youth empowerment.

These empowered young men and women did not allow their material poverty to hinder them from building a better future for themselves and others. They have taken the lead in showing that anyone can help regardless of stature. In truth, anyone who wishes to help others just has to start from where he is. Take for instance these SIPAG scholars, who have assumed active roles in the digital campaigns and online broadcasts of Gawad Kalinga while they assist on-ground relief operations.

Meet Chester Pagador De Torres, a former Sipag scholar who is now the head coach of the Sipag Program and a member of the KAYA FC Academy. His family was one of the beneficiaries of the GK Shelter Program in Mandaluyong. There, he participated in various GK youth activities, one of which is SIPAG.

Chester was once a trouble maker in the community and how Sipag brought out the good in him with sports as the vehicle for him to realize his self-worth.

Chester's confidence has allowed him to take on roles crucial to the mission work of GK. Amidst the quarantine when everything had to be done virtually, he accepted the challenge and succeeded in directing several webinars/webisodes for GK despite not having had formal training in it. He would diligently read articles on Zoom and continuously improve every broadcast. He was the webinar director for KnK's Million Miracles, Sipag Kamustahan, 3Zero Summit, and even directed a Partner's online Townhall(with 300 attendees).

He is supported by his program & technical team composed of Kenneth, Bert, and Jeznel. All of whom are products of the Sipag Program. Kenneth who controls the flow of the webisode is a GK full-time worker in the IT department. Bert Russel and Jeznel are volunteers as they are students who have failed to enroll this school year due to a lack of funds. Bert Russel is a young man of few words but has a great passion for photography. He is a self-taught photographer who shows a great deal of potential as a visual storyteller.

And then, there is also Zarah, another former Sipag Scholar from GK Mandaluyong who is now a member of GK's Key Accounts and Partnership team serving as liaison officer to various donors and benefactors.

Chester, Kenneth, Bert Russell, Jeznel and Zarah are just a few of the GK youth beneficiaries who have chosen to pursue their dreams in helping end poverty by stepping up to meet current needs of GK. They may be young but their hearts are committed to give back and share the same love and care they have received.

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