Friday, July 18, 2008

Adding to a Youth’s Potential

Posted on behalf of Sarah Jane Velasco, Communications Coordinator in Tabaco, Philippines.

Julie Panganiban may have come from a poor family in Tabaco, but she doesn’t let poverty get in the way of her dreams.

At the age of 13, Julie is already in her third year of high school. As a child she skipped pre-school and was accelerated to first grade. An all-around whiz kid, she excels both in the arts and sciences, but she is particularly gifted in mathematics. She is proudest of being part of the Mathematics Trainers Guild where selected students across the country undergo advanced math clinics and take qualifying exams for international math competitions. She also represents her school during division science meets and press conferences.

Julie (in red) with her sponsored friends during a youth workshop.

But even though she is excelling academically, Julie admits that she is quite shy when it comes to dealing with her peers. “It was difficult for me to adjust especially during my first year in high school. I was really very shy then,” she shares. But through the exposure she gets from Children International’s different activities, she was able to overcome her shyness. “The leadership trainings helped me to become more confident in sharing my ideas with others. Mingling with other sponsored kids in various activities helped me develop my social skills more,” she adds.

But all of that progress almost came to an end when her family suffered a serious financial crisis during her first year of high school. Julie almost had to quit school. But instead of giving in to the problem, she took it as a challenge and even got the highest grades in her class that academic year. According to Julie, “More opportunities are open to those who are educated. That’s why I’m fortunate to have a sponsor who helps me to continue with my studies.”

With the support of her sponsor, this bright young lady is well on her way to breaking through the barriers of poverty.

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