BKP Spring Newsletter.
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Reading Workshop at
La Salle Greenhills

Our BKP Philippines executive director, Alice Quilicot, was at La Salle Greenhills, Mandaluyong City, Philippines last March 17 to conduct a shortened version of FSER (First Steps in Engaged Reading). 

Attendees included San Mateo mother-volunteers, students of La Salle Adult Night High School, LMO High School Head, Grade 10 parent-volunteers, a La Salle High School Librarian, and The Teachers' Gallery. 

The La Sallian Mission Office has adopted this San Mateo community as part of the Answering The Cry of the Poor (ANCOP) program.  They have several programs to help residents with infrastructure development, housing, livelihood, education and other needs over the next 5 years. Many residents lost their homes due to typhoon Ondoy. Sponsors have donated a new multi-purpose hall with plans for a reading area. Parent-volunteers and the LMO want to establish a mini-library, complete with computers. This project will benefit the many children who walk 2 kilometers through dirt/rough roads daily to go to school (or the nearest library!). 

BKP is sending books to start the mini-library. Grade 10 parents are donating the bookshelves, reading mats and bean bags for the reading corner.

Partnering with the Peace Corps

BKP Philippines  has conducted many educational workshops for Peace Corps volunteers (PCVs) over the years. In 2010, BKP received a major grant from the Peace Corps to cover workshops for teachers and PCVs in multiple locations over a 3 year period, and 50 large balikbayan boxes of books to participating schools. We continue to receive requests for books from PCVs and are exploring the possibility of another grant. 

Pictured above are our BKP Philippines representatives, Alice Quilicot (Executive Director) and Meah Ang See. They presented BKP at the PCVs' In-Service Training on Feb 7 at the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) in Silang, Cavite. 

The attendees were PCVs from the education sector who have been in their respective communities since July 2016. The volunteers serve elementary, high school and college/university students. 

We look forward to continuous collaborations with the PCVs!

Welcoming Philippine Educators

BKP USA hosted a New England-themed kamayan dinner on Oct 28 for visiting Filipino educators of The Teachers' Gallery (TTG).  TTG's mission is to empower educators by providing profound educational opportunities that are transformational and life-changing through teaching, traveling and giving back to the community.  It was a lovely evening of sharing our common interest. We look forward to having BKP books in your schools!

Save the Dates

Mar 31 Teachers' progress reports due from sponsored libraries.  

Apr 8  (9-11am)  ATASK 5K Run (Chestnut Hill Reservoir)

Apr 8  (9:30-1pm)  Bookpacking (Lynnfield)

May 13  (9:30-1pm)  Bookpacking followed by appreciation awards for student volunteers. Everyone is invited! (Lynnfield)

Jun 10  (9:30-1pm)  Bookpacking (Lynnfield)

Sept 9  (9:30-1pm)  Bookpacking followed by summer get-together. Everyone is invited!  (Lynnfield)

Oct 14  (9:30-1pm)  Bookpacking (Lynnfield)
Oct 21  (7-11pm)  Boodlefest Dinner & Dance Fundraiser (Chelmsford Elks)

Oct 30 Teachers' progress reports due from sponsored libraries 
Nov 4  (9:30-1pm)  Bookpacking (Lynnfield)

Dec 9  (9:30-1pm)  Bookpacking (Lynnfield)



It's our third year joining the Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence (ATASK)'s 5K to fundraise for BKP! Date is April 8, at 9AM. We're joining other non-profits who serve the Asian American community in Massachusetts.

Join our run or support our runners.  Run or walk through the beautiful Chestnut Hill Reservoir with friends and family, or fundraise for BKP.



Giving-back to my hometown in the Philippines

  Written by Fely Lambino (BKP library sponsor from Boston, MA, USA)
Long before I was financially stable, I always had this thought of helping and giving back to my community.  I am one fortunate Filipino who was able to migrate to the US and land a stable, decent paying job.  Driven by the childhood experience of not having enough resources, I always wanted to help the poor children in my town.  I didn't know back then how to start fulfilling this dream until I was introduced by a friend to BKP.

Around year 2006, I started volunteering for the organization.  In 2007, with BKP's help, I was able to provide assistance to my alma mater, Jose Timbal Elementary School to improve the school library.  The school, located in Sta. Maria, Davao Occidental, had very little resources.  BKP provided help by sending books and holding reading and literacy workshops for teachers.  The school started to gain recognition and awards with improvements in overall proficiency scores.  The success of Jose Timbal Elementary School prompted me to sponsor Heracleo Casco National High School with 1,400 more students.

My desire to expand my assistance to more children and even adults drove me to open a community library across my parents' house on February 5, 2017.  The library is centrally located in the town.  I am proud to say that at this point, with the help and support of my family, the library is now serving ages 3 to 85!  My hope is to see more people browsing, reading, and borrowing the books that the hardworking BKP volunteers collect, sort, pack and ship to my library.  

I encourage individuals to join and volunteer for this wonderful organization which I now call a second family.  It is fun, enjoyable and very fulfilling.

A 2017 Update on the CodePhil Project

(Left to right) CodePhil team members from Columbia University: Bella Shim, Sang Jun Park, Sebastian Cueva Caro; Jiwon Park volunteering at our BKP back packing session.;  Sang Jun Park, Jiwon Park and Amanda Wu at the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum in New York City. 

The CodePhil Team is mainly comprised of Computer Science students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, MA and Columbia University in New York City with an objective to develop a scalable e-Curriculum within Philippine schools.  The Team initially contacted BKP in February 2016 about partnering, with a focus on leveraging our BKP schools and related English literacy empowerment approach for students in the poorest provinces. This was a logical fit with Northern Samar in the Eastern Visayas region given it is the 8th poorest province. Also, the BKP Sponsor for N. Samar - John Snow is supporting a multi-year community functional English reading program in all Lavezares, N. Samar schools (28).
As such, he reached-out in March to the CodePhil leads and co-founders: Jiwon Park at MIT and her brother Sang Jun Park at Columbia. Key CodePhil partners besides our BKP, MIT, Columbia University and Lavezares local government unit (LGU), are the US Department of State and the National Commission for UNESCO. Thus, there is strong global perspective to potentially provide added value for our BKP mission. 
John’s initial effort evolved into helping coordinate a 2016 CodePhil proof-of-concept, computer-coding project at Lavezares BBCMAIS High School (10th & 11th graders) in August. John joined the Team and their onsite activities and unique networking opportunities, such as; the Team meeting with the University of Eastern Philippines (UEP) President and College of Science staff. The meeting resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for partnering which included BKP; e.g., participation of UEP educational staffers at the next BKP reading methodology teachers training workshop.             
The CodePhil Team also conducted a survey of BBCMAIS HS students drawing these insights from their multi-phased, 3-week coding project:
  • 82.5% of students became more confident in using a computer and gained an initial understanding of computer programming,
  • Students were now eager to learn more about website development and app building,
  • Majority of the students now consider becoming IT teachers. 
The CodePhil Team’s updated vision is to expand into more N. Samar schools; increase collaboration with UEP to include college students as mentors; collaborate with BKP and local Rotary Clubs to continue “grass roots” promotion and sustainment of their educational initiatives; understand key technology needs of regional employers, and inspire young people to tackle any problems they may face using creative solutions that include information and technology (IT) approaches.   
As such, CodePhil’s proposed follow-up effort in N. Samar for August is a computer-typing program (TYPEPhil) for schools having functional e-Rooms. The project will use basic flash drives (no internet connectivity needed) with a companion language library for the N. Samar Wiray Wiray dialect.  The library will be structured to accommodate other regional dialects when required.  John’s objective in support of the CodePhil Team is to eventually identify synergistic relationships between English and Digital literacy for Philippine schools.  

 John Snow (right) with Kasite Ugo-Beke (CodePhil team member from MIT, leftmost) at the Marblehead Rotary Club last month. They presented on the programming / coding training in pilot schools in Lavezares, N. Samar. With them are Club President Ron Amon (2nd from left), and the Rotarian Host Mitch Wondolowski (3rd from left).
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