As the season of grace and gratitude settles upon us, we’d like to give thanks to all who’ve worked with us in our quest to bring books to children this year. For Thanksgiving, we acknowledge and present the quiet, yet powerful work that our volunteers, partners, and donors have been doing, not just for Woods and Books, but for those in need.
We recently received valuable evidence that the books we had previously given are still looking good and in good hands! What more could we ask for? Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
River Oaks Charter School (ROCS) is our most generous and most faithful donor. Thanks to the faculty and staff of ROCS, we are never without books to give to Ilonggo children every year.
This year, we also received wonderful news from Gawad Kalinga Iloilo that the book boxes, which volunteers Dot Llariza-Tome and John Tome sent all the way from Las Vegas, Nevada, arrived in the villages we visited last December.
The books and materials were donated by Ms. Esther Reyes, retired teacher and former president of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Nevada. Guess who’s the current present of UPAAN? Ms. Dot! Congratulations, President Dot!
Our most active volunteer, AiAi Abello, has also taken on presidential duties, this time at the Iloilo Chapter of the Autism Society Philippines. With the able support of hubby Casi, Ai has been meeting with our Iloilo partners and pushing our projects forward. She does all this, while teaching special education classes full time at the Central Philippine University. Congratulations, dynamic duo!
Meanwhile, volunteer Martin Genodepa, when not busy planning, organizing, and supervising projects, workshops, and international conferences as Vice Chancellor for Planning and Development of the University of the Philippines in the Visayas (UPV), continues to link us with like-minded individuals whose vision mirrors ours. He facilitated our linkage with Book Latte, our newest partner in our latest fundraising project, Li’l Creatures for Li’l Readers.
Proceeds from the sale of the Li’l Creatures, amigurumi dolls and bookmarks donated by volunteer Mitch Espinosa, will fund the creation of a read-aloud-and-arts program that we hope to start in 2019. Volunteer Betty Usui quickly offered to buy some Li’l Creatures and is promoting them among friends and students in Japan.
Meanwhile, volunteer Stella Arungayan, on break from teaching duties in Jakarta, returned to Iloilo for a quick visit, and dropped off book donations. Volunteer Rhods Solis, now with designer PJ Aranador’s “Escuela de Iloilo,” a design-led arts, crafts, and fashion school, received the books for safekeeping.
As for the rest of us, we continue to do what we love and what we do best, day after day, in private and often in silence, but always with passion, perseverance, and determination. For being blessed with the skills and the capacity for life-long learning and growth, while helping others—and working in the warmth and glow of the loving kindness of others—we are truly thankful!