NEWS FEATURE: Parents, Kids Told to Read and ‘Make Dreams Come True’
Gleaned from one of Ana Rita Reyes’ three books “Woman of Hope”, she exhorted her fellow Bacolodnons, especially the parents and their kids who were gathered in a gift-giving event last December 20, 2022, at the Lacson Street Jollitown Theme Park, to dare pursue their dreams “without limitations and boundaries”, just as she dreamt and hoped to “conquer the world” during her nurturing years when her family was so deprived of amenities in life.
Now in its second year, kids and kins from Bacolod and some parts of Murcia were invited to this year’s recipients of Mrs. Reyes’ academic work, volunteerism, and philanthropy, a topmost priority to make her family life focus on serving God and radiating goodness to the community especially here in Bacolod City, her hometown that deserves the fruits of her “pagpaninguha kag pagpangabudlay sa kabuhi” (efforts to achieve something in life).
So determined and persevering, Mrs. Reyes left Barangay 40 for the green pasture in the United States of America (USA), graduated Magna Cum Laude, a Si Se Puede Awardee from the National Hispanic University, and is currently a Commissioner of Library and Education, San Jose’s District 5, California, a position that represents the library and education sector in the Office of the Mayor and City Council.
As an educator and Pre-School Program Manager who has a very big heart for Bacolod, she advocates that the passionate pursuit of dreams, however, must start with the accumulation of knowledge, power sourced from “reading”. It is a value system, also, that must first be imbibed by parents otherwise they are unable to support, encourage and reinforce the reading habits of their children.
Mrs. Reyes agreed that education starts at home, children mimic their parents’ reading habits if they have one. The home, therefore, should breed kids who are powered by knowledge, knowledge through functional and critical literacy and education, these are tools to overcome obstacles, a key to success since those who cannot “read or write”, “cannot go where they want to go”, she said.
This paramount parental role in the home, as the source of knowledge and information, is a major problem here in the Philippines. The majority of Filipino parents do not invest in books and parents are not online readers themselves thus the intellectual development of children suffers a lot.
Mrs. Reyes, therefore, shared about Grail Family Services (GFS) in San Jose, CA, where she is currently the Program Director. It is a non-profit organization and has created a niche in the area for more than 20 years now, serving more than 3,000 families, trained more than 600 teachers and childcare providers to promote children’s success and well-being. She explained that GFS developed a “Building Blocks of Parenting (BBP) App” that helps parents and caregivers nurture their children’s total health development, and more importantly, this BBP App can measure, monitor, and encourage parents, and caregivers’ responsibilities to read book assignments to their children.
Introducing this GFS concept and introducing the BBP App to the Bacolod setting to enhance and heightened reading culture in families is her dream, that perhaps could start as a foundation. This is a dream so reminiscent of a quote attributed to Albert Einstein that says, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
Little wonder, then, that Mrs. Reyes so desired a hundred percent that the reading culture should be inculcated in the minds of her “kasimanwang” Bacolodnons, so that her first question in an opening remark to more than 30 kids and kins who attended the fun-filled gift-giving event “Make Dreams Come True – Adopt A Child” by Woman of Hope Year 2, was very empowering. She challenged, “have you read a book lately?” The challenge is so evocative and empowering for both parents and kids to “read, read and read”, after all, quality education is dependent on such families.
May your tribe increase Ana Rita Reyes! See you next year!* (Gil Alfredo B. Severino)