Tzu Chi Foundation has 24 new community volunteers in Leyte. A simple ceremony was held after the training seminar on April 7 to welcome the new volunteers into the Tzu Chi family.
Tzu Chi Foundation named 24 Ormocanons and Taclobanons as the newest community volunteers of the charity organization during a training seminar held at the Great Love Village in Barangay Liloan, Ormoc City on April 7. A simple ceremony, where the volunteers were presented with their collared gray shirt uniform and cap, officially welcomed them to the Tzu Chi family.
“This is the happiest day of my life!” declares 37-year-old Lizly Fuentes, one of the 13 Ormoc locals who joined the ranks of Tzu Chi volunteers on this day. “I will keep improving myself, follow the Ten Precepts and be more confident. I will learn to forgive people and serve my countrymen,” she says.
Janet Rodriguez’s happiness was also overwhelming that she did not notice her tears racing freely down her cheeks. “Tzu Chi has been continuously extending love to the people here in Ormoc. Now, it’s our turn to help. Like Tzu Chi, we won’t get tired of serving,” vows Rodriguez.
Rosita Flores, another newly-recognized volunteer, agreed. “If there is a typhoon or other disaster, we will come out to help. We should not be on the receiving end of help every time,” she adds.
In the spirit of paying it forward, 23 volunteers left Tacloban City in the wee hours of the morning and travelled for almost three hours to attend the training seminar in Ormoc. Among them, 11 were awarded the community volunteers’ uniforms. They were chosen according to how active they were in joining Tzu Chi’s activities.
Apart from volunteering during Tzu Chi’s relief missions, Vivian Salazar, 59, is regularly present at the organization’s Recycling Center in Tacloban. She helps out in teaching people to practice recycling.
For the past years, Salazar’s only dream is to become a Tzu Chi volunteer. Although she has been volunteering for various charity groups since she was young, Salazar found Tzu Chi’s principles behind serving extraordinary.
“Tzu Chi had done a lot of things that other groups couldn't do. For example, years have passed since Typhoon Yolanda but until now, Tzu Chi is still there. They have never left the province and continue to give it light. That’s what convinced me to join,” she says.
Looking at the new group of volunteers in Leyte, Tzu Chi Philippines deputy CEO Alfredo Li is more hopeful about the future of the province. Given its geographical location, the region is vulnerable to disasters. In 2017 alone, Leyte was hit by consecutive strong earthquakes, destructive typhoons, and massive flooding. But as Tzu Chi’s roots grow deeper with new local volunteers, Li’s worries are somehow eased.
“These people will be the ones who will carry out Tzu Chi’s missions and spread the seedlings of love here so that whenever there is a need, help will come immediately,” he says.
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