Health And Family

Helping children make the right choices in life

Julie Cabatit-Alegre - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - It has often been said that we are the products of the choices we make. Certain important decisions that we make early in our life can determine the direction the rest of our life will take. Decision making is an important skill that children need to learn early on. With the multitude of choices that’s so readily available out there, this has never been more true than it is today.

“Children today have a lot of options. Social media, or media in general, give them  a lot of options. Kids today are faced with many decisions that may be life-changing or even life-threatening,” says Juan Dominguez, corporate affairs director for Coca-Cola FEMSA Asia Division.

“Coordinates for Life, FEMSA’s flagship education program, was designed to get children to make the right choices in life,” Dominguez remarks. “This involves giving kids a tool kit for them to be able to run their lives in the right way.” 



Developed in Mexico, where FEMSA has its headquarters, and implemented in five countries in Latin America (Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Argentina) in 2013, Coca-Cola FEMSA partnered with Teach for the Philippines, an NGO dedicated to providing quality education in public schools, to introduce Coordinates for Life in the Philippines.

The program is made up of a series of training modules for children and young adults that aim to develop and strengthen their decision-making skills, as well as decrease their vulnerability when faced with difficult situations. “It’s embedded in the school program, and not as an additional program for the kids to take. It’s a program that they will be able to receive within their normal school activities,” Dominguez explains. “The modules address issues such as bullying, justice, and healthy lifestyles. So, for example, in the case of a healthy lifestyle, it is facilitated through the type of food, or the type of sports or the type of physical activity that the kids are able to do in their own schools.”

In 2014, Coordinates for Life was rolled out in Metro Manila. In its first year of implementation, the program was received by 2,178 elementary school students and 304 parents and teachers in 15 public schools in four cities, namely Marikina, Mandaluyong, Navotas, and Quezon City. 

“The program also provides training support for parents, teachers, and mentors  through lectures and workshops so they can be better equipped to participate more actively in the child’s holistic development as they go through various stages in life,”  Monette Santos, Teach for the Philippines chief program officer, notes.

 “Feedback from the parents and teachers shows that some of the most disruptive and undisciplined students have exhibited positive improvements in their behavior and attitude in the first year after the implementation of the workshops,” Teach for the Philippines CEO Clarissa Delgado remarks. “There has also been an improvement in the students’ performance in school and in their relationships with their family and peers. Parents also expressed appreciation for the workshops as a safe place for them to share their concerns and to receive feedback and advice from other parents.”

Some 92 teacher-fellows were trained during the program’s first year of implementation, among whom were Nico Fos, Ohne Lopez, and Jerlyn Rabaca  of the Kapitbahayan Elementary School in Navotas.  Nico Fos, a grade 3 teacher, mentored Kristoff Diaz who used to have difficulty in reading. Now in grade 4, Kristoff, who was raised by his grandparents together with a younger brother, says his favorite story book is one titled Lolo Ding. 

Marivel Beranguel, together with her only child, Roxanne, had 100-percent attendance in the seminars offered in the school. She says she learned a lot about how to raise a child and she encourages other parents to participate in the program.

“It is believed that with the right skills and values, students can create a better life for themselves and those around them,” Delgado notes. “As the fellows for Teach for the Philippines grow in number, so will the opportunities for more schools to benefit from the Coordinates for Life program. In our second year of implementation, we are expanding geographically with two schools in Mindanao.”

“We have seen the potential impact of Coordinates for Life and are excited to bring this to even more schools and more Filipino communities,” Dominguez concludes.


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