TREK Sta. Elena: Back on the TRails for Kids

December 26, 2014 Voluntourism

Seven holds significant importance for TREK or TRails to Empower Kids, as the group was founded by seven mountaineers who embarked on their inaugural outreach from Manila on December 7th, 2007.

On our 7th Anniversary, we once again journeyed south of Manila, this time to Sta. Elena.

Our chosen beneficiary was Salvacion Elementary School in Barangay Salvacion, Sta. Elena, Camarines Norte.

Similar to other TREK beneficiaries, Barangay Salvacion is a remote community, secluded by mountains and accessible by boat. Originally, we planned to transport goods via fishing boats, allowing participants to trek afterward. However, due to inclement weather and the availability of two fishing boats, we opted for boat rides directly to the barangay. It was a low tide so we all had to walk a little to reach the shore.

We had two months to work on this outreach, and even with the changes, I consider our event a success. We had to postpone because of Typhoon Ruby, and we had to make last-minute adjustments to our program due to the constant rains. 

From planning to conducting the program, we always have volunteers we can count on to help. What I am especially proud of is our volunteers who conduct their own projects to help us generate enough funds or donations. We have a bunch of really happy workers, and their enthusiasm shows how much they love what they do.

The community

Transporting our donations

Low tide

The Donations

For this outreach, we raised funds to construct comfort rooms. The newly built facility includes a rain catchment system, ensuring that students no longer have to seek alternative options for their needs. Additionally, they can use rainwater for the comfort room, improving sustainability and convenience.

We also collected tires and converted them to a playground.  

Our volunteer, Lira Avedillo, along with her friends from The HUG Project, crafted teddy bears using old towels for all the preschoolers and children under schooling age. The children thoroughly enjoyed their new teddy bears.

TREK usually doesn't secure big organizations as sponsors. While we do have a few, the majority of our donations come from individuals, primarily family and friends, and sometimes from people who discover us on social networking sites. However, this doesn't mean that we don't contribute significantly to our beneficiaries. On the contrary, we consistently exceed our own expectations.

Each student received a personal hygiene kit, school supply set, pair of slippers, upcycled backpack, loot bag, a copy of the book "Charlie Sparks" donated by the author C.N. Tan, and toys. The younger children also received their own umbrellas.

Our teachers were not forgotten and received their own set of donations. Our generous donors provided numerous gifts to express gratitude for the teachers' sacrifices and dedication to their students.

For the school, we presented additional storybooks and toys, neatly packed in plastic containers. Moreover, we provided a month's supply of cereal drinks for the malnourished students in the school. Unfortunately, they have severely malnourished students that we aim to support.

Our most significant surprise this year was the Noche Buena packs donated by Pamana for the 200 families of Barangay Salvacion. Each pack includes ingredients for spaghetti and fruit salad, along with other canned goods.


Our volunteers also showed initiative to improve our project, with friends from PAGASA giving a small lecture entitled 'Bagyo 101' to help parents prepare for typhoons.

We had to skip games this year due to the weather, but we still had plenty of fun activities for the kids. We organized storytelling sessions, and a volunteer, JP Tongco, had everyone amazed with his magic tricks.

The Side Trip

We usually conduct our TREKs twice a year. While we do get together occasionally in between, it's during TREKs that we reunite with most of our fellow volunteers, many of whom we first met through TREK. To make the most of these gatherings, we organize parties in nice locations. On this occasion, we celebrated the birthdays of those born in December, including myself.

Side trips are often integral to TREKs. As a group of explorers, we all relish the opportunity to discover new places. Thanks to TREK, I've had the chance to witness numerous amazing sites across the country."

Additional photos from fellow volunteers Lee Anne and Velle Bacolod.

Other Good Travels


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