Sunday, May 26, 2013

Philippines Youth Leadership Program (PYLP) 2013 Port of Entry by Jevern Ellaga

PYLP batch 10. Group picture by Rey Ty.
With host families in Illinois. Picture taken by Rikk Nicholson Nalzaro.
At Northern Illinois University, Illinois, USA
Photo by Jun Mark Empas Amban during the PYLP orientation in Manila

"It was a hot Sunday of October when Sir Joven Ryan G. Malida, a popular leader in our community invited me in his house without stating any reason. After our holy mass I curiously prepared myself for the said appointment.

Sir Joven told me about the existing Philippine Youth Leadership Program – Environmental Leadership in the Philippines Developing Youth as Agents of Change and Ecological Activism (PYLP 10) Scholarship to  USA, a 30-day full scholarship funded by the Youth Programs Division, Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State, in partnership with lead grantee Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, USA, in cooperation with AFS Intercultural Programs Philippines, and supported by the Department of Education.

I was so happy to be informed about this program. As a young leader, I am certainly seeking trainings and seminars to improve my skills and capabilities to be a good and productive citizen in the near future. I seek support in our community leaders and do my best to comply all requirements. It was a tough task to comply everything while enrolment is going on. The paper works are very slow. Moreover, some of the faculty and staff are not approachable.

Luckily, I was able to accomplish all requirements. After a month, I receive a call from AFS Philippines inviting me in Davao city for an interview. It was a big accomplishment for me, I was so happy to be one of the semi-finalists of the said program. After knowing the result, Sir Joven, as a PYLP 9 alumna oriented me what to prepare and what to do. He also trained me in answering possible questions. And finally the interview happened in the 7th floor of Ateneo de Davao University, Davao City. Fortunately, I have answered everything and do well in cooperating with my group mates in discussing Peace Issues in Mindanao.

It was a cold afternoon of January and I was sleeping in our dormitory when my phone rang. I was wondering who it was.  I heard the cavernous cold voice of a man, I found out it was Sir Mahid, an AFS Philippines staff. He formally congratulates me for successfully passing the Philippine Youth Leadership Program Batch 10. I was so happy to the fullest and thank God for this big blessing. Although I know I will encounter financial problems I was even more grateful for I know that the unwavering support of my family, relatives and friends are always there to support me."
Jevern Latimban Ellaga is one of the recipients of the Galing Foundation, Inc. Youth Leadership Award Program from Landan National High School.

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