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It is no secret that there was an earthquake in the Philippines on Tuesday.  There has been a lot of information shared over facebook, some of it an hour by hour update on our experience.  Many people have spoken about the fear, the pain and the sadness they, or others they know, experienced.

I did not comment much about it then, but would like to say more now.

It is a very unnerving feeling to have every surface you are touching rumble and move beneath and around you. There is nothing to grab onto, there is nothing that can steady you.  Also, the power shut off at the exact time the quaking began, so there is that shock to the senses.  And then there is the noise.  There is the rumble of the movement of the earth, some have described it like if a construction site were right outside your home.  Then there is the noise of your fragile possessions crashing to the ground and breaking or the stones of your house falling from above.  Scary.  And it seems to go on for so long.  Maybe because from the moment the shaking starts to when it stops you are unceasingly praying for it to end.  And then after the shaking stops, you begin to hear the shouts and cries of the people and the dogs.  In my neighborhood, the dogs had much to say.

You are really shaky yourself and you feel kind of weak, it takes a while to get your bearings.  I had heard from Sandy---she, Marlys and Jenny were okay.  I tried to reach Mitch, but there was no answer.  I then went outside to check on some of my neighbors---everyone in my compound was safe, Shari and Marcel too, which was wonderful!

I returned home to some disarray and with the strong desire to get up to the shelter.  My television had fallen from its stand and laid in pieces, a vase had met a similar demise.  I left them as is, moved any other breakable items to a safer place and headed out, unsure what state I would find things in as I drove.

People were everywhere in the streets, there was an accident at the base of the road the shelter is on, so people and vehicles filled the space.  I actually saw one of our house fathers there on his motorcycle.  He couldn't hear my shouting over the din of everything else.  I found out later that his wife, one of our house mothers, was out shopping with some of our older girls when the earthquake happened and he was going to locate them.  Terrifying.

I made it up the road easily and quickly.  The construction site next to our land even seemed to have made it through the quake alright.  I honked once outside our gate, the door opened and I pulled into safety.  I immediately saw Mitch's van and saw him walking around---all of us were safe and accounted for.

I was anxious to see how all of the kids were doing, so my heart was racing, but there was also just an overwhelming peace.  I could see the kids outside on the grounds, gathered together, many of them crying.  They ran and hugged me tightly.  I didn't have enough body to go around.  I moved around through the groups, checking them, checking for injuries, checking for tears, checking that they were okay.  All of our house parents were also safe and accounted for.  The house mother and the three girls who had been shopping during the quake had made it back safely---the girls were crying and one of them had lost her slippers in the panic---but they were back!

I stood in the middle of the yard and looked around and the buildings, the windows, the plants, the ground---everything looked as it had the day before---seemingly untouched by the 7.2 magnitude quake that had struck 20 minutes earlier.  Praise the Lord!

I have said this many times in my 2+ years at CSC, but since I first stepped foot inside the gate I have felt God's hand on this land, on this ministry, on these kids, on these workers, on us.  He always provides, He always protects, He always sustains.

The aftershocks continued the rest of the day, some feeling almost as strong as the earthquake, though they lasted less time.  We kept the kids outside for the morning until everything could be checked, but they napped inside in the afternoon.  For quite some time that day, every time an aftershock was felt the kids would run to the middle of the playground.

We had no power, so the generator ran all day, a noisy machine, but something we were grateful for.  We lost water for a period of time in the afternoon as the continuous running of the generator overwhelmed the water pump.  But that problem was solved quickly once it was understood.  The nurseries were moved to the living rooms in the homes and all of the children slept downstairs for that night.  The aftershocks continued through the night, the next day and the next and I am pretty sure I have felt some yet this morning.  

While it remains a bit unnerving and you feel somewhat on edge---yesterday when I heard a loud rumbling noise, I looked for the nearest sturdy object to dive under should the shaking start, and it was really just a low-flying plane---there is no need to fear.  God is good, ALL THE TIME!  All the time, GOD IS GOOD!


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"The Bow and the Arrow"

May. 9, 2024By: Counseling Department

Children are explorers. Curiosity often leads them to peek Screenshot_2024-05-09_at_5.21.37PMinside the doorknob's key hole; enthralls them to touch a squealing kettle; and ferry their feet into places where they are not allowed to be. Often, boundaries are broken.

Children are expressive. Emotions often steer their ship as they navigate their social world. They jump, giggle, grin, and laugh when happy. A frown, a downturned face, and a shoulder-drop paint their sadness. Talking back, kicking the wall, shutting down, spitting, throwing things, and crying are the easiest cards to pull out when they are angry. Often, adults' patience is challenged.

Children, most of the time, do not listen, nor take heed of instructions and reminders; they have a loose grip of morality that even memory verses fall short of reminding them to be good. But this does not mean we stop teaching them to be kind. This is to remind us that children are fallible and that they do not have the skill sets to fully self-manage; even adults have difficulty regulating themselves, too. And children who misbehave a lot are often painted with a different color palette, viewed as a problematic child.

Screenshot_2024-05-09_at_5.21.51PMAt CSC, children do not only go through these developmental obstacles. They are also bringing with them their adverse experiences. For some children, this baggage magnifies their difficulty to self-regulate. Without a proper lens, dealing with these children might be quite challenging. As adults, the common response is to control these behaviors but with the aid of Trauma Informed Care, houseparents, caregivers, and other staff have a better understanding of the underlying factors of such behaviors. Rather than seeking control, comfort is offered. Rather than spending time preaching the rules and whatnots, cultivating a relationship is the focus. Rather than seeing the child as problematic, the child is seen as a work in progress, still growing to reach his/her full potential, and to give the child a chance to lead a more meaningful life. Through Trauma Informed Care, we are always reminded with how Khalil Gibran viewed how children should be guided. In his poem, he said:

"...You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
 For they have their own thoughts.
 You may house their bodies but not their souls,
 For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
 You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
 For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
 You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
 The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
 Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
 For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable."
Khalil Gibran, excerpt from On Children

One Light Tube At a Time

May. 6, 2024By: Mark Leop


Within the borders of the shelter, the facilities maintenance team plays an essential role in ensuring the physical environment reflects the warmth and love that these children deserve. Our tasks extend far beyond fixing leaky faucets or repairing broken doors; we are entrusted with the responsibility of sustaining an atmosphere where hope can grow.

The team's recent activity was replacing the dim, outdated lighting fixtures with vibrant, energy-efficient tube lights that transformed the ambiance of the homes. Where once there was gloom, now a radiant glow spreads throughout the corners, giving a sense of joy.











For the children, the newfound brightness serves as a symbol of hope, a reminder that even in the darkest of times, there are those who care enough to bring light into their lives. The simple joy of being able to read a book without straining their eyes is a blessing that many take for granted.

Seeing the smiles of the children motivates us to undertake more works and activities that not only improve the physical environment but also uplift the spirits of those who call this place home, one light tube at a time.


Easter Celebration at CCHS: A Joyful Time of Togetherness and Introspection

Apr. 22, 2024By: Teacher Mae

At Cebu Children of Hope School, Easter isn't just about chocolate and colorful eggs – it's a time for friendly
competition, laughter, and unforgettable memories. This year's Easter celebration was no exception, as
students, teachers, and staff came together for a day filled with thrilling games and challenges that brought out
the competitive spirit in everyone.


Dancing and Singing Songs:
Easter songs sounded in the big room as students gathered for a special assembly to start the day off. We sang songs that spoke of hope, resurrection, and renewal, which filled our hearts with the spirit of the occasion. The environment was infused with energy as students and teachers performed lively dances with an Easter theme, showcasing their inventiveness and enthusiasm after the upbeat music. 

Discovering the Significance of Easter:
It was essential to pause among the celebrations and consider Easter's more profound meaning.
Students learned about Easter's biblical and historical background through lively discussions and
interactive video presentations. Easter tells the account of Jesus' resurrection, which helps people
appreciate and value our holiday more deeply.

Easter Arts and Crafts:
Creativity was blooming as students engaged in various Easter-themed crafts and activities. Each activity allowed self-expression and artistic exploration, from coloring eggs to designing eggs. These hands-on experiences not only sparked imagination but also encouraged students to feel fulfilled.

Egg Blowing Contest:
The Egg Blowing Contest followed, where competitors tested their lung capacity in a match of breath and skill. Competitors tried to blow their eggs across a marked finish line using only a hollowed-out egg and unwavering resolve. Cheers broke out as the eggs raced through the floor, driven only by the competitors' breath. Everyone was on the edge of their seats throughout the entertaining and exciting Egg Blowing Contest.

Walking Eggs Contest:
It was the Walking Egg Contest, which tested participants' balance, coordination, and willpower. Using spoons held in their mouths, participants carefully balanced eggs as they made their way through an obstacle course. The contestants' constant fear of losing their precious cargo made the competition much more suspenseful. As competitors crossed the finish line with their eggs remarkably intact despite the odds, the crowd cheered them on.








Prize or Challenge:
Inside each egg, an enjoyable task or a treasured prize awaits everyone, heightening the celebration's mystery and excitement. Rewards might be anything from candies to tiny trinkets. On the other hand, challenge activities allow kids to work on tasks that promote creativity, confidence, and collaboration.


As the time began to end on another memorable Easter celebration at CCHS, laughter echoed through the air and smiles lit up the faces of all who participated. Through games and challenges that tested skill and spirit, we came together as a school community to celebrate the joy and camaraderie that define this particular time of year. As we reflect on the day's festivities, let us carry the spirit of Easter with us – a spirit of fun, friendship, and boundless enthusiasm.

Happy Easter from all of us at Cebu Children of Hope School!

Life and Living

Apr. 13, 2024By: Roberto Atienza  ›  Author Bio

A couple of weeks have passed since Easter, but the joy of the season still lingers on at CSC. During the Easter season, we celebrate forgiveness, reconciliation, renewal, and rebirth. On Resurrection Sunday, we revel in the new life we have been born into thanks to Christ's victory over sin and death. A new life; one that is defined by life, love, and living, and one that has an opposite trajectory to the life we had been living before. As you can imagine, this holiday holds very special meaning at CSC. At CSC, faith, love, forgiveness, renewal, rebirth ... new life ... are at the core of everything we do.


To celebrate the season, we use many symbols and, of course, have a ton of fun doing it. After church, a massive Easter Egg Hunt sends the kids running across the big field between the homes, searching inside of plants, pots, and dark corners. It's tons and of fun, and we explain how the eggs are meant to symbolize new life and living. The fact that they're hollow eggs made of plastic is meant to symbolize the empty tomb where Jesus' lay; a tomb which is empty because He is Risen! And the hunt? Well, that's just meant to be fun and goofy, and the smiles and laughter filling the Shelter make the effort of hiding the eggs completely worth it.

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Aside from the Easter Egg Hunt we also play fun games, like an art and coloring contest to showcase our kids' talents, and an egg toss for a little fun competition. The little ones used hard-boiled eggs for their games to make it a little easier for them, and I admittedly might have eaten a hard boiled egg or two while watching.

It's been two weeks now since Easter Sunday, but the feeling still lingers on. Not only is life marked by joy and happiness at CSC, it is also marked by renewal and rebirth. CSC is a place of a healing and growth, where children are able to heal from past hurts and grow past them, finding a new life that is no longer defined by their history or circumstances, but instead by who God has made them to be. I love Easter, and I love the fact that we can tangibly express the very meaning of Easter in everything we do.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

"Eureka" Moments


The Science and Math Culminating Activity at Cebu Children of Hope School was an incredibly enjoyable event where students could showcase their passion for science and math through a day filled with thrilling challenges and learning opportunities. Students were divided into two teams—the Einstein and Galilei teams—and they were enthusiastic about engaging in activities that tested their knowledge and teamwork skills.








The morning session started with entertaining math games that not only sparked healthy competition but also fostered a strong camaraderie. Each level required one student to achieve five correct answers, showcasing their quick thinking and problem-solving abilities. Teams cheered each other on, creating a vibrant atmosphere of unity and collaboration. The math relay further emphasized the importance of teamwork, as students had to combine their mental and physical abilities to navigate obstacles and solve problems.









The afternoon was dedicated to science, offering students a platform to unleash their creativity and critical thinking skills. They conducted experiments that ranged from crafting bird flyers to attempting the floating egg challenge, exploring the principles behind flight and buoyancy. The 'Protect the Egg' challenge was a testament to their understanding and problem-solving skills, as teams had to devise innovative ways to safeguard an egg using only limited materials.









Throughout the event, students learned about renowned scientists like Einstein and Galilei, after whom the teams were named. Prizes were given to the students, and everyone felt proud of their accomplishments.










The Science and Math Culminating Activity was a blast. It showed everyone how fascinating science and math can be when fully engaged. Kudos to the students and teachers for making it such a memorable day!