Home > News and Events > The Thanks We Give–and Get!

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!

Students at Luis Mirasol Elementary School in Mandurriao, Iloilo use the science books donated by the River Oaks Charter School from Stockton, California.

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.

When the book boxes were opened at the PECO Gawad Kalinga Village Library, it signaled the start of reading time—for the kids and the adults as well! (Photos courtesy of Ms. Celine Areno.)

Another box of books and materials was also delivered to the Gawad Kalinga preschool in the town of Barotac Viejo, Iloilo. (Photos courtesy of Ms. Areno.)

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!

Volunteer Dot (l), horsing around with donor Esther (middle). Thank you, ladies, for keeping the child in you alive! (Photo courtesy of Ms. Mia Martin Casino.)

Students at Cadagman Elementary School in Sta. Barbara, Iloilo also received books and materials from Ms. Esther. Thank you to Ms. Maristel Delfin Decio who facilitated this particular distribution. (Photo courtesy of Ms. Decio.)

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!

(Top) Volunteer Ai gives the opening address at this year’s Angels Walk for Autism. (Bottom) Ai and Casi (3rd from left) hand over story books, textbooks, and reference books to Jun Ramirez (far right), president of the Iloilo Mountaineering Club. IMC delivers books to village schools in the hinterlands of Panay Island.

(Top) Volunteer Casi, while on a work visit, lugs around books to donate to schools in villages he’s assigned to help as an aquaculturist for Rare, an international non-profit environmental conservation organization. Here, he turns over books donated by River Oaks Charter School to the elementary school and high school of Sipaway Island, San Carlos City, Negros Occidental. (Photos courtesy of Kitty Xennie Fishstone.)

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.

(Top) VC Martin (right) hosted delegates and organized the 2nd International Conference on Intangible Culture Heritage sponsored by UPV, the Commission on Higher Education, and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. (Bottom) Tree planting at the UPV Miagao campus. (Photos courtesy of Office of VC for Planning and Development, UPV.)

(Top) Volunteer Martin officially signs our consignment agreement with Book Latte. (Bottom) Our partnership also gave us the opportunity to promote our project at the recently concluded 1st Iloilo Mega Book Fair and join the book swap.

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.

(Top) The daring, darling Mr. K, our no-nonsense Japanese quality control expert, tested our first batch of Li’l Creatures and they passed with flying colors. (Bottom) Weeks later, volunteer Mitch created a bag of them and sent them on their way to their new homes 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.

(Top left) Volunteer Stella’s book donations. (Top right) Stella with daughter Tala (in cap) on the “Reflection Walk for Palu,” a fundraiser to help the earthquake and tsunami victims in Sulawesi, Indonesia. (Bottom) Volunteer Rhods at Escuela de Iloilo, teaching painting to children. (Bottom photo courtesy of Escuela de Iloilo.)

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!





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