After a meeting with Arianne and Cess online on May 14, I finally got to meet Cess in Dagupan. Yaay! She was with another Streets to Schools volunteer, Samantha. These two dynamic young women are taking on college head-on and community work concomitantly. Tagging along with me are Clyde and Jess whom I also met over a year ago online at a discord server called Adulthings101. It was also my first time to finally meet them in person a few days before. For those who haven’t checked out my personal blog Diana Diaries on Facebook, Clyde was the graphic designer for the images and overall theme of the page. And Jess is from Manila who I just dragged with me to Pangasinan. He is a debate expert who coaches others with their debate competitions. Cool stuff. Oh, and they’re besties!
For this meet up, we had further discussions on Streets to Schools’ projects. More details on the Ladders to Literacy program for the Balogo Pandel community outreach were explained: financial aspects, volunteer numbers, schedule, coordination with local government and more. We were also able to plan for upcoming collaboration for this event.
It was brought to our attention that STS are currently looking for people willing to help translate their storybooks to Pangasinan. These will be used for the storytelling part of Ladders to Literacy in Pangasinan speaking communities. Please feel free to contact us to help with this project. Your support is appreciated.
In return, I also invited STS to visit Bliss’ orientation on May 28 so our students could get to know them and their programs.
After this, we headed off to Santa Barbara Municipal Library to meet Ms. Arunah Siobal Calaunan.
We drove off from Lucao, Dagupan. After about 30-40mins of slow driving, a few wrong turns, and U-turns, we finally made it to Santa Barbara Municipal Library. We were warmly welcomed by Ms. Arunah and her team.
Ms. Arunah showed us their book collection, the books they received from the US for the book drive that was facilitated by Doc Mau, and shared about the different ways their library encourages young kids and youth to develop a habit of reading. They have a reading challenge and prizes for that too. They also had storytelling activities in their villages’ day care centers pre-pandemic. From this, we learned that projects that would involve day care centers are coordinated with the local Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
We learned and were showed the works of local Pangasinense authors and poets. We were gifted Pangasinan History books that’s details all the way back from 1572.
We told Ms. Arunah about my plans for Bliss having our very own library. She told us it’s going to be a lot of steps to do but as for starters, getting the books would be the first step. From here, we can make our own accession log where we keep track of the books we received/ bought. Then she and her team generously offered to help out with cataloging them for us. yaay! We learned from her that reference books such as dictionaries and encyclopedia’s are the books that we may need to purchase every five years to make sure that we have the latest and updated information. The help she offered has really got my hopes up and got me excited.
We also mentioned STS’ Ladders to Literacy project where community storytelling is held. We asked if we could borrow books for storytelling. To our surprise, she pulled out bunches of books to give away to them for free.
Thank you Ms. Arunah and team at Santa Barbara Municipal Library for your support for Bliss and Streets to School. You have helped us so much that we appreciate you beyond words can ever express. Thank you for supporting STS. Especially when we got more than what we asked for (asked to borrow but got gifted books). For Bliss’ library, you have paved a path for this dream to become a reality. You made us feel that it’s not a far fetch dream but rather one within our reach.