Rhyss Bunyi, 8, was recently featured in the news as the youngest Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) encoder. He is actually a volunteer together with his mom Sheryll and 13-year-old sister Denise. Here are the lessons they learned from their experience and what you can do to teach your children to be responsible citizens too!
Rhyss loves playing basketball and Minecraft; Denise is into arts and crafts like loom bands and drawing. They are your average Filipino children. But what set them apart this summer was what they chose to do: encode election returns.
On what inspired them
Mom Sheryll shared that the idea came when she saw her children glued to the television waiting for updates on the election results. She is not new to volunteering – her other family members used to volunteer for the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) and she already volunteered for the PPCRV in previous election periods. Seeing their interest, she asked if they wanted to volunteer too.
On what they learned
The experience was a lesson on responsibility and humility. Denise says that she learned “to follow what is right, to be responsible, and to do good in my work as a volunteer.” What the three of them encoded over three days did not even reach 1% of the total unofficial count. But Sheryll notes, “I feel happy and proud that, in my own little way, I am able to serve and do my part as citizen of this nation.” It is an attitude that all of us should impart on our children.
Was it scarey for them? Find out on the next page.
On whether they were scared to volunteer
Don’t be! The PPCRV’s job is to do a manual audit (unofficial parallel counting of the results) and will not change the official outcome of the election. Furthermore, the data encoded is verified down the line to ensure accuracy. Besides, “there are lots of food and you will meet lots of people,” shares Denise. And as our young volunteer Rhyss put it, “If I can do it, you can do it also!”
On allowing kids to make their own choices
Sheryll’s advice to other Filipino parents who want to raise responsible children? “Listen to your kids. If they have questions about anything (not just political ones), talk to them and explain the positive and negative sides of the issue. Ask them questions, give examples, share experiences, but also allow them to express their feelings, fears and thoughts. Be mindful about giving too much advice. As the adults, it is our responsibility to teach and guide them, but we parents should also respect what our children think and feel. Give them a chance to explain themselves and decide for themselves after properly guiding them through the possible consequences of their choice.”
“By explaining to my kids the responsibility of being a volunteer at the PPCRV command center, I am proud to say that they did well. At the end of the day, we went home feeling proud because we know we did something good.”
READ: Supermom Lillibeth Abella: Abandoned Child Turned Volunteer Mom
Many other volunteer opportunities exist such as DepEd’s Brigada Eskwela or simply helping out at an orphanage. For more ideas, check out online volunteer portals iVolunteer and Hands on Manila!
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