Age doesn’t define one’s capacity to engage in community involvement and volunteer activities.
People just get older but it doesn’t determine their qualities and limits in exploring and learning new things in life.

The act of volunteerism does not belong to a specific age bracket nor intended for a specific societal and economic status. Anyone, whether youth, middle-aged, persons with disabilities or senior citizens may engage in volunteerism freely, without any limitations.

This was proven by a 72-year-old woman from Barangay New Poblacion, Cabusao, Camarines Sur.

Mennie A. Bongcay is a member of the senior citizen’s community, hence, despite her age, it doesn’t hinder her from actively participating in the community sub-project implementation of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (DSWD KALAHI-CIDSS) in their barangay.

Her enthusiasm to help the community and to learn the various aspects of project implementation motivated her to take her role as the Project Implementation Team (PIT) Head in their barangay.

“Para makatulong at matuto pa din sa iba’t-ibang aspeto ng paggawa ng proyekto ng barangay kahit na nasa ganitong edad na ako, na 72 years old,” Mennie explained.

(To help and to learn the different aspects of conducting a project in our barangay even though I’m at this age, 72 years old.)

Volunteering comes with challenges, requiring individuals to effectively manage their time alongside their regular commitments. Volunteers have other stuff to attend to but they ensure to stay active and committed. As a volunteer, Mennie realized that KALAHI-CIDSS provides inclusive opportunities.

Anyone can be a volunteer and be part of the project implementation regardless of educational background, economic status, sexual orientation, or age.

“Aking napagtanto na sa KALAHI-CIDSS pala ay walang pinipili [na maging volunteer]. Kahit hindi ka nag-aral, kahit hindi ka nakapagtapos, kahit wala kang hanapbuhay, kahit ano ang sexual orientation at higit sa lahat walang pinipiling edad. Ang mahalaga dito ay ang partisipasyon at dedikasyon,” she shared.

(I realized that KALAHI-CIDSS does not choose who will be the community volunteer. Even if you didn’t go to school, you didn’t graduate, you didn’t have a job, no matter what your sexual orientation was, and most especially there was no age limit. What is important is the participation and dedication.)

Taking Mennie’s age into account, she faced criticism from others who doubted her ability to fulfill the roles and responsibilities of a volunteer. However, Mennie proved them all and demonstrated her capabilities. Together with her fellow community volunteers, they effectively carried out the sub-project in their barangay, resulting in the successful construction of a pathway and the establishment of a Public Address System.

Presently, they are actively engaged in an ongoing project to construct a Day Care Center in their barangay.

As a dedicated volunteer, Mennie gained valuable insights throughout the sub-project implementation. Although challenges were inevitable, what held significance for her was the continuous learning during the process. The joy she experienced upon realizing that she played a crucial role as one of the pillars for the successful project implementation added profound meaning to her volunteer journey. This experience opened her eyes that there could be a project where the community can lead, and this is through the KALAHI-CIDSS.

“Natutunan ko na pwede pala na makagawa ng mga proyektong pwedeng pamahalaan ng komunidad at ito ay sa tulong ng KALAHI-CIDSS,” she said.

(I learned that it could be possible to implement projects that can be led by the community and this is through the help of KALAHI-CIDSS.)

Written by: Alexandra H. Burce