by Anthony Lorcha
Children International- CSCDI Legazpi
Leslie Mae Apuli, 19, was recruited in the sponsorship program at the age of 5. Recalling her childhood life, she clearly remembers the time when her family has to move from one place to another due to the nature of work of her father as a soldier.
A native of Dugmanon, Davao Oriental, Leslie’s family moved to Legazpi City because her father, who is a soldier, was assigned to work in Albay. Hence, new adjustments struck her on how they will live a new life in a new place. Aside from adapting to their new environment, they also had to scuffle on how they will live a life with ease.
The sad fact: Leslie’s family has no shelter, which they can call their own, because they’ve been renting a house since she was a child.
Leslie said that even though her father works as a soldier, his earning is not adequate to provide for the basic needs of the family. Her father assumes the role of a breadwinner and provides the only source of income in the family, which is crucial for their survival.
“When I’m sick, I could see the anxious face of my mother because she had no ample money to buy for my medicine,” she shared.
“I’m grateful to God because Children International came to our lives,” Leslie said. The once gloomy face of Leslie was inspired with new hope when she was recruited as one of its sponsored children.
Leslie keenly recalls her first gleaming experiences being a sponsored child of CI. “When I was a child, I valued so much the photo taking & writing to my sponsor was fun and inspiring. I also enjoyed receiving birthday, Christmas, special hug, and Easter gifts including educational supplies and tuition fees,” she said.
“I’m so lucky to have been a sponsored child,” Leslie said with a pretty smile.
Through sponsorship, her interest to excel in school and her enthusiasm to take part in almost every activity in church and community has improved well.
Leslie is an example of one sponsored child who has greatly moved into becoming a successful youth now. She has grown as a very responsible person and has learned to become agent of change in her community. She has always loved to interact with people and draw inspiration from them.
Leslie knew very well the hardships that her parents had to go through just to help her achieve her dreams, so she remained strong and focused in her humble life’s aspirations.
Driven with so much passion to become successful, Leslie sustained her enthusiasm of being an outstanding student and young leader. Her being a sponsored child inspired her even more.
When she graduated as a Class Valedictorian in elementary, she went straight to high school as a Children International scholar with so much pride and dedication of finishing her studies.
In high school, she tried her best to become active in so many activities in the campus. She was a member of the student publication and was a consistent school representative in different academic tilts.
Right after high school, she entered Bicol University College of Social Science and Philosophy to pursue her degree in Sociology. During her stint in the university, she was a consistent dean’s lister and student leader.
She was President of the Society of Sociology Majors and the President & Team Captain of the BUCSSP Debate Society. Her team competed in the National Debate Competition in University of the Philippines Diliman, where it bagged the 1st runner up award and Leslie, being the Team Captain, as the Best Debater.
She graduated with Latin honors in the university as a Magna Cum Laude and an Outstanding Student in Academics.
A week after college graduation, she started working for the Local Government Unit in the Municipality of Libon as a Volunteer Management Officer in coordination with the mayor. She leads in the conceptualization of various strategies in ensuring active participation of youth and parents. She heads mobilization drives in the communities that aim to heighten people’s awareness about the different initiatives that the LGU of Libon has for its constituents.
Leslie thanks the people who have greatly supported her in her journey of becoming a positive agent of change in the society.
“As Volunteer Management Officer, I take the lead in coming up with new initiatives towards empowering young people and the constituents of Libon to become involved in our undertakings,” Leslie said.
She adds, “With the trainings and skills that I gained being a former Agency Youth Council President in Children International Legazpi, it is much easier for me to adjust with my new role now. I am able to apply many things that learned from the sponsorship program in the present job that I do. The leadership trainings and skills that I acquired from becoming a youth leader in the past was my weapon towards becoming an effective community mobilizer now.”
Leslie also participated in the International Youth Conference in 2006 in Kansas City, USA, where her leadership potentials had been harnessed and deepened. She was also an active facilitator & speaker in various youth events in Children International Legazpi.
“Now, I can truly say that I’ve grown up becoming a healthy, educated and self-reliant sponsored youth graduate of Children International,” Leslie said.
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