Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

Grooming Schoolkids as Nation-Builders

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  In its continuing mission to provide the younger generation with opportunities to realize their dreams and passions, non-profit volunteer group “I am Making A Difference,” Inc. (I am M.A.D.) has launched a new learning tool called the MAD ACtivity booklet (MACbooklet) that espouse values which can lead young people to become nation-builders.


I am M.A.D., a TAYO (Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations) Awards Foundation awardee on youth leadership, began distribution of its very own activity booklet titled “10 M.A.D. (Munting Aksyon na Dapat) Gawin ng Batang Pilipino” to school children during its recent outreach activities in remote areas around the Philippines.

Benefitting 250 students and led by close to a hundred volunteers, including 42 new recruits, “I am M.A.D.,” for this year has so far conducted its trademark three-day I am MAD Camp and pioneered the dissemination of its MACbooklet together with packs of school supplies in far-flung school communities such as Itbayat Central School in Itbayat, Batanes; Camp Susana Elementary School in La Paz, Zamboanga City; Laiban Elementary School in Tanay, Rizal; B. Aldana Central Elementary School in Lamitan City, Basilan; and Mayor Santiago Garcia Memorial Elementary School in Mati City, Davao Oriental.

Based on the 10 ‘I am M.A.D.’ Commitments that the group has been sharing with youngsters since its inception in 2009, the MACbooklet is an original creation by its co-founders Mark Conrad Ravanzo and Christian Marx Rivero, and written by Wino Dela Cruz, one of its active volunteers. It contains interactive content and illustrations (made solely in Microsoft PowerPoint) and a relatable story – inspired by the real-life characters of Damhar and Chooky, two of I am M.A.D.’s youngest volunteers from Basilan.

The latest learning tool highlights the group’s 10 small fundamental habits and to-do’s that can make a big difference forming part of its key advocacies anchored on the Department of Education’s core values – love of God (maka-Diyos), love for others (makatao), love of environment (makakalikasan), and love of country (makabayan).

With a good purpose in every journey mindset, the I am M.A.D. operates by fielding an army of “TraVolunteers” (to travel to volunteer) to run its outreach activities where one gets to travel to the country’s scenic spots while primarily allocating its time in their itinerary to perform community work as volunteers.

The volunteers facilitated values formation activities and engaged learner-participants from Grades 5 to 6 with games, team-building sorties, and workshops designed to promote Filipino values and inspire them to see themselves as future leaders.

 “As part of our efforts to continuously innovate and give school children more ways to appreciate learning and further inspire them, we developed and launched the MACbooklet out of donations and help from our sponsors and friends,” said Mark Conrad ‘Maco’ Ravanzo, co-founder and chief executive volunteer of I am Making A Difference, who is also the illustrator/designer of the booklet.

Ravanzo added that with limited resources and relying essentially on goodwill of other people, they would need further support to sustain its new initiative. “We are seeking for support from those who share our advocacy to help us print and distribute our MACbooklet to inspire more kids,” he said.

One MACbooklet costs P50 and the group would need 50 booklets per camp. The group calendared 15 camps all over the Philippines this year and still has 10 remaining outreach in General Santos, Bohol, Sulu, Romblon, Antique, Samar, Tawi-Tawi, Bacolod, Nueva Ecija, and Abra. It also plans to share the MACbooklet to other school partners in the country.

For partnerships, interested volunteers and sponsors may email I am M.A.D. at [email protected] or visit iammad.org.ph or connect through its Facebook page: facebook.com/IamMakingADifference or follow @iammad_ph on Twitter and Instagram.


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