One of the most important changes at CSC these days involves our new Human Resources department and Eldie Allocod. Eldie has been a counselor at CSC for the past seven years, but he will relinquish that position as he takes over the leadership of HR. Eldie worked in the business world before coming to CSC so has a basic understanding of the workings of an HR department and the government requirements for employers. But more importantly, he understands CSC and our employees. He will be great resource for them in terms of compensation, benefits and designing staff development and team building activities. Since CSC has 125 employees that will be a big job. Eldie will soon be hiring an associate to help him in the department.
Congratulations, Eldie, on this promotion and we look forward to watching this department get established and begin to meet the needs of a growing organization. As Eldie says, happier employees translates to better care for our children. And that is something that we are always looking for at CSC!
Big and small changes are happening at CSC. Whatever the size is, our arms are wide open in welcoming these changes. Sometimes in our lives "cool change" is needed and same is true for companies and ministries.
Last year we hired a Social Work Director and hired two more Social Workers to be on staff. This department had a big change with Carmelita Baya's retirement, our long time Social Worker. Just like the rest of the departments at CSC, Social Work has a vital role in the lives of our children. They are in the front row in admitting new CSC children and one of the many hands that prepare the children for adoption.
My department, Child Development, and Social Work works hand in hand. Together with the Counselors, our departments meet every month to talk about updates on each child. Our departments needs to be on the same page in writing our reports. Child Development needs to know where the child's paperwork is at and at the same time, Social Work needs to know of any challenges and progress our children meet.
Last April, the two departments held a joint event together with all of our school age kids. The said event was to bring solidarity amongst the children at CSC, solidarity amongst the Child Development and Social Work staff and fellowship amongst the workers and the children. It was an event full of creativity, beaming faces, bible verses and oneness. The children got to know their Social Workers and what an important role they have in their lives.
To show solidarity and to enjoy our fellowship even more, we ended our event with a very good lunch: Boodle Fight! Our houseparents lined up a long line of tables on the driveway; using banana leaves, our cooks laid out rice, pancit and grilled pork on the table and everyone: the children and the CSC workers dig in to a scrumptious lunch using their bare hands!
So many people work together to make CSC go. Years ago, our friends in Canada put together an organization to help support the ministry in Cebu. The Cebu Children's Shelter Society of Canada was former by people who had lived in Cebu and knew about the work that we were doing. CCSSC is an entirely volunteer-run organization that sends all the money that comes in to Cebu for the ministry. Every year they have a banquet and auction as a fund raiser for the ministry. I have had the pleasure of attending a few of these events and have always been amazed at how hard these volunteers work for the sake of our kids here. It is a labor of love, and the labor is significant - planning, soliciting donations, organizing, displaying, decorating, cooking, greeting, cleaning up, counting, receipting. And lots 0f prayer goes into the event.
It takes many people to make CSC go and these dear folks' love for our children is humbling and very encouraging for our staff. Thank you so much for all you do for the ministry!
The recent CSC banquet was attended by almost 700 people in Minnesota. On the other side of the world, the staff and workers of CSC were also avid participants. We have a lot of investment in the CSC Annual Banquet. We contribute many hours in helping Matt and Jill prepare, taking pictures, shooting videos and offering suggestions concerning the program. Our workers know how important the banquet is and spend time praying for the event. Even the children of CSC are aware of the timing of the banquet and ask lots of questions about it. They love to see pictures of the banquet and watch the videos that are prepared for showing there.
The banquet started at 7:30 am on Sunday here in Cebu. but we were up and watching via Skype, thanks to Heidi Erickson who had her computer on their table near the stage at Bethel. We couldn't hear all that well, but it was great fun t0 watch what was going on and get a feel for the love and interest in that room. We are the second audience for the CSC banquet, 10,000 miles away, but very interested and engaged and excited to see what gets accomplished every year. We hold our breath when the banquet offering total is announced because we know first-hand how important that income is to the ministry and get to see every day how it is used for the needs of the children we care for here.
The term "stakeholder" is used a lot these days to describe people who have a financial, emotional or spiritual connection to a ministry or program. Certainly all of us in Cebu are stakeholders of the success of the banquet and all the fundraising and promotional efforts of our stateside ministry. But so are all the supporters and lovers of CSC. In that respect, there are many more than two audiences for the banquet. People all around the world are involved as donors and sponsors. In fact, people other than those attending in Minnesota participate in the offering by designating a gift to be included in the collection taken at the end of the banquet. They are excited to hear of the total, as are those who wait patiently at Bethel for the envelop to reach the emcees hands and be announced. It was $126,000!!
But the banquet is more than just an offering, and our stakeholders get to hear and see what is happening in Cebu. It is a night of fellowship, fun, laughter, tears and thanksgiving. One Minnesota attender said that there was "a lot of energy in the room" at Bethel. I know there was. And there was a lot of energy in the room across the world from Minnesota where we were gathered to watch and experience much of what was going on in that room full of CSC lovers, our fellow stakeholders of God's greatness.
Thanks to all who helped make this a great banquet and a blessing to us here in Cebu.
I have a paper snowflake under the plastic blotter on my desk. It doesn't mean anything to anyone else except me and one other person. That other person made the snowflake and many others for me just for fun. I keep the snowflake there as a reminder. A reminder of a special young lady who is thoughtful (hence, the snowflake), sensitive, eager, positive, hard-working, and loving. She is also a bit shy and unsure of herself. She needs reassurance at times. And she's twin and so am I, so she is cool because twins are cool. The snowflake is also a reminder of God's power and hope.
This young lady came to the shelter a number of years ago scared, broken and naive. She needed a lot of love. During her years at CSC, she felt more safe and loved. She soaked up learning at school even though some things were very difficult. She learned English faster than most other children who live at the shelter. And she gradually became more confident in herself, eventually being able to get up in front of her peers and teachers to sing and perform. We thought it was nothing short of miraculous.
This lovely young lady left the shelter with her new, loving family awhile ago. I hadn't seen her since until last night at the annual banquet. We talked for a few minutes before the banquet started. Then during a light-hearted part of the program when some of the adopted kids got up and did a little dance routine to a song, there she was dancing along with her siblings and the other kids. In front of 650+ people! Of course, nobody noticed anything unusual about that girl at the end of the line. But, I knew. Here was that scared, little girl transformed into a beautiful, blossoming young woman in front of a crowd of many people. Now, that was even more miraculous. God's hand at work among us.