Baumgart: Volunteer

BRIGHT and early on a Saturday morning, a group of volunteers make their way to Barangay Luz. While for some, weekends are spent sleeping in and catching up on rest (or TV series—Game of Thrones?), this bunch of volunteers have found a more meaningful way of spending their weekends.

Tutoring kids in Math and English.

Normally, these are subjects that make most kids run for the high mountains. But for these volunteers and their throng of 40 tutees, math and English have become two well-loved subjects.

The volunteers are part of a fun new program called “KATON (Kaon + Tuon) Barangay Junior Public High School Tutorial Program” launched by the Barangay Impact Management and Support Services Corporation in 2015. The organization’s goal is simple: address the dropout problem among junior public high school students by providing them chances of staying in school.

And yes—there’s a food component as well, true to its title. You can find them on Facebook for more yummy and inspiring details by simply searching for “KATON.”

Tutorial programs are great, I can attest to that. I was tutored mostly throughout my elementary years. I had numerous tutorial sessions in Germany to help me with my English (English at that time was only introduced in fourth to fifth grade) and my math. When we moved to the Philippines, my Filipino sucked and I had intensive Filipino and English tutorial classes daily and throughout the summers of third to sixth grade.

I’m quite proud to say I’m a product of tutorial programs.

What’s exciting about the KATON program is that volunteers make the discussion fun and exciting. The tutorial programs are based on the Department of Education’s curriculum and complement whatever is being discussed in school. Tutees are more at ease talking to their Ates and Kuyas who serve as tutors—making learning more interactive and fun.

The transformation is amazing. The tutees not only perform better in Math and English, but their personality transforms as well. They’re more eager to learn, studying becomes less of a chore, and there’s a shift toward a more open personality. Volunteer tutors grow as well as they develop a deeper love for nation building through their work.

Seeing young people involved in programs such as KATON is inspiring. Young people are aware and involved in some of the country’s most pressing issues and are taking active steps to help address these problems.

More young people should find fun and interesting volunteering opportunities, such as that of KATON’s. By shaping the minds of the young, you are shaping the country as well for the better.
Volunteer and make the world a better place.