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  • Lady G. Dy

Forever a Catalyst

I am a busy student. I actively participate in academic and non-academic activities, and the semester when I joined Ideas Positive was the busiest one. I actually had doubts about joining, but in the end, I never regretted this experience. I will never regret this. Ever.

“Oras na ng pagbabago, tara sama-sama tayo!”

Once a Catalyst, always a Catalyst.

My journey in becoming an agent of change started when I joined Team Catalysts for Ideas Positive Run 5. Our team battled Iron Deficiency Anemia in Sitio Parola, Brgy. Wawa, Nasugbu, Batangas through our innovative idea, the aquaponics system. It enabled the residents to plant iron-rich vegetables despite their sandy terrain, and at the same time, allowed them to make a small business out of it.

I used to just “like” and share posts of Team Bayaning Medtek, our college’s representative during the fourth run of Ideas Positive. I also read and edited the article about their feat in our school newspaper. Then one day, I was given the chance to fill in the shoes of an Ideas Positive Ambassador. Words are not enough to describe one of the best experiences that Unilab Foundation has given to students like me.

I am a busy student, and to be honest, but not to brag, an in-demand one. I actively participate in academic and non-academic activities, and the semester when I joined Ideas Positive was the busiest one. I actually had doubts about joining, but in the end, I never regretted this experience. I will never regret this. Ever.

I enjoyed the activities we had, but the team never forgot to spend quality time, too. Though there is an imbalance in terms of gender (I’m the only girl in the team!), I always felt like their little sister, and that we were a family doing something great for others.

Traveling to the community was our weekly struggle. It took us four hours back and forth from Cavite to Batangas. We needed to get up early on Sundays—and we did that every week. I had 30 units and a thesis to work on when it all started, and my fellow team members were busy as well—one is an Accountancy student and three are Medical Technology students. Through the support of our cool and very encouraging mentor and Dean of the School of Medical Technology, Sir Bee Basit, we somehow managed to visit our community regularly.

During our project implementation, I actually didn’t expect the community to care about us. It felt like we were just trespassers, and we could almost read their questions from their expressions: “Sino yang mga yan? Anong ginagawa nila dito?” (Who are those people? What are they doing here?). As the weeks went by, though, they started to appreciate what we were doing. They would see us wearing our white shirt with the team logo, and they’d always say, “Andiyan na yung mga Catalysts!” (The Catalysts are here!). Sounds cliché, but the rest is history.

We had so much fun teaching the residents how the aquaponics system works. Our team mentor even had his ‘ngiting tagumpay’ (smile of triumph) when we turned it on for the first time, and it worked. We couldn’t have done these things without our community partners, our sponsors, our volunteers, and of course, Unilab Foundation.

The community was warm—literally and metaphorically. Under the scorching summer sun, we walked and traveled to the homes of our community heroes, who always welcomed us with a smile. They were all excited and remembered that Sundays were meant for our visit. Aside from our regular visits, we also did some activities, which the residents were more than willing to join and participate in. The love that we received from the community kept us inspired to go back every single week just to be with them. It also inspired me to compose an original song, ‘Oras ng Pagbabago’ (‘Time for change’).

During the Finals, our team won third place and bagged the People’s Choice award (thanks to our dear friends on Facebook for spreading the word!). Post-Ideas Positive, we still keep in touch with each other, and continue to help build a healthier Philippines by telling the world about our story. We are also encouraging our schoolmates to join Ideas Positive to experience it themselves.

The agents of change have been changed by the Ideas Positive. More importantly, the agents of change changed the behavior of the residents of Sitio Parola. They are now the new agents of change.

This journey proved that some clichés are true:

1. Opportunity knocks only once. And when it does, open not only the doors, but also the windows, so that when a door closes, you still have windows to look out of.

2. Teamwork makes the dream work. A team with a vision and the determination to turn it into reality is a team that will not only gain recognition, but create transformation as well.

3. Love what you’re doing. Whatever the challenges are, if you love what you do, you will keep on striving to overcome them. You will never lose hope. You will always think positive. When you love what you do, you will always be at your best.

This story is just a small glimpse of what we’ve experienced in Ideas Positive. It would take a book or a movie adaptation for me and the rest of Team Catalysts to completely tell you what happened to us.

Who knows? You might be the next Ideas Positive Ambassador telling your #healthierPH story.

Lady G. Dy was a member of Team Catalysts, 3rd place winner of Ideas Positive Run 5. She is a BA Mass Communication student of Emilio Aguinaldo College-Cavite, who loves writing and music.

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