Monday, November 17, 2008

Operation YPENCIL

Posted on behalf of Joel Abelinde, Communications Coordinator in Children International's Manila, Philippines agency.

Ever thought of children helping other children to communicate better with their sponsors? This is what YPENCIL (Young People Enhancing Children to Improve their Letters), a group of youth volunteers, is doing.

Junalyn Ban-eg, a Field Officer in Manila, Philippines noticed that while many children write very good letters to their sponsors, some children still have difficulty. She thought that the older sponsored children who write well could help others to improve their writing skills.

Wasting no time to set her idea into motion, Junalyn found three youths from each area with a knack for writing. She conducted a training on letter writing, highlighting ideas for what children may write about in their letters, the format of the letter and what kinds of paper to use, among other things. “They were very willing to learn and to assist other children,” Junalyn noted. “We encourage children to write about themselves more to their sponsors,” she added.

“The initiative has had some noticeable results,” Junalyn observes. “There was a noticeable improvement in content and neatness in the letters younger children write. They are also able to share more personal information about themselves. Because there is not much difference in age, the younger children are more comfortable in their company,” Junalyn happily states. The initiative also helped Junalyn to achieve her goal of getting 100% of the children who were due to write letters to complete them each month.

Sponsored youth, Cheryl Ann Barcelon studies hotel and restaurant management at a nearby college. She is among the 19 members of the group. Two days a week, she comes to the field office to help younger children write to their sponsors. “I initially thought that it is difficult to help children write their letters. I am very happy that I am a part of this group. I am happy helping children write to their sponsors. I am also learning and improving my English,” she said.

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