Monday, November 9, 2009

Vote Efren Peñaflorida @ 2009 CNN Heroes

Help support Efren Peñaflorida to be the 2009 CNN Hero. Voting continues until Thursday, November 19, 2009 (6 a.m. ET). There is no limit on the number of times you may vote for the Hero of the Year.

Dynamic Teen Company (DTC) is a group of concerned young people with a mission of making a small yet significant difference in other people’s lives, particularly the small children in slum areas who have no access to education, basic hygiene and sometimes, even love from their families. The group was founded in August 1997 by four teenagers from Cavite National High School. The initial group made up of around 20 members started as a friendship club which aimed to divert the attention of students from joining violent gangs and notorious fraternities that were thriving on the campus. Their major platform then was to cater youth awareness projects, talent and self development activities, and community services. Today, the group holds different activities to address these issues.

In 1999, Efren “Kuya Ef!” Penaflorida Jr. who is living near the city dump site and one of the group’s founder, began to reach out to slum kids. This marked the emergence of the “Kalingain Batang Mahirap” (Care of Impoverished Children), DTC’s feeding project for children who scavenge for left-overs and spoiled food from the dump site. The group had a hard time involving older people to the cause and so they trained themselves to be self-sufficient enough to teach the young kids themselves. The group was able to support itself and its projects by showcasing their talents in staged concerts and performances; and by selling old newspapers, bottles, and recycled products. This enabled DTC to train more potential youth leaders and eventually led to a purchase of a pedicab for its literacy and feeding projects.

With the training and supervision of Kuya Ef who is now a professional educator, DTC has indeed come a long way. Their mission to teach unschooled, labor-exploited and neglected street children is slowly being realized today. The group also conducts weekly feeding, first aid treatment of scabies and wounds, and values formation activities through their K4 Project (Kariton Klasrum, Klinik at Kantin). Hygiene and first aid skills are supervised by registered midwives and professional nurses who are DTC Alumni.

The fruits of their labor are slowly being reaped as former drug users and petty thieves who were reformed through their projects are now also serving as volunteers. Former scavengers are now in school and are helping to raise funds. Some of the children who remain unschooled are now able to read and write. DTC was able to reach thousands of children through their Mind Your Rights (MY RIGHTS) campaign and through their health-literacy work.
In 2007, they launched the “WE ARE THE CHANGE” campaign to inspire people to be the catalyst for change – in what they want to see in their home, community and the world we live in. For they believe that real change happens when we begin to touch one soul and change one heart at a time.


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