As classes come to a close, we take a last look at some of the key moments that marked Mano Amiga’s 2010-2011 school year. It was certainly a year of firsts, which began with the announcement of Ms. Rev Tria-Siasoyco as the new Principal as well as the opening of Mano Amiga’s first social enterprise.
Here’s a look at some of the milestones Mano Amiga Academy achieved over the year:
- Healthy body, healthy mind: Bistro 3846, Mano Amiga's first social enterprise, delivers a unique, novel, and nurturing cafeteria experience in Everest Academy International school, where it serves healthy, age-appropriate lunch meals to the students. 100% of the profit is donated to the Mano Amiga scholarship fund and 90% of the staff comes from parents of the Mano Amiga scholars. Bistro is headed by Cordon Bleu London graduate and Everest parent Chef Amelia Ann Alba.
- Enriching school events: There's a very good reason why Mano Amiga students hardly get excited about summer vacation. Their teachers always make sure to give the students a fun, learning experience. Lessons in the classroom are supplemented by fun school activities that aim to increase the children's realm of experience and give free reign to their imagination. Events that were held during the year include English Month, Buwan ng Wika, UN Day, Christmas Play, and Quiz Bee.
- Livelihood Program: Lovingly made by hand by the Mano Amiga mothers, the Jesse Tree is an Advent Preparation kit that consists of a handpainted tree, a set of handcrafted ornaments and a booklet of readings and daily reflection. Christmas 2010 was the Jesse Tree's second year in the market and it garnered attention for its uniqueness and profound message. The Jesse Tree was one of the highlighted products in the DTI Christmas bazaar, and was featured in several newspapers and television shows.
- Community Development activities: According to an African Proverb, "It takes a village to raise a child." Mano Amiga works closely with the families to help build a community that would support the positive development of the children. The school offered free development services all throughout the year to the students, their families, and other families living in the community. These are services that seek to address their physical, spiritual and emotional needs. The programs include free Medical and Dental services, Parenting classes, Back to school program for Adults, English classes and skills development, values formation seminars and spiritual talks.
- Football Fridays and Ballet Saturdays: Children who come from low-income families rarely have the opportunity to explore and pursue their interest in arts and sports. Thanks to Futbol Funatics and Dance Basics who graciously volunteered their time in the school, Mano Amiga students were able to take Football and Ballet lessons for free.
- Veggie Tales: 100 Starbucks partners volunteered their time and planted a vegetable garden in the Mano Amiga schoolyard. The vegetable garden project aims to develop the children’s knowledge of living things, foster greater appreciation and love for their surroundings, and instill a responsible attitude towards the environment. The garden will also help generate income for the families since the produce will be harvested by the Mano Amiga parents and will be sold to Bistro 3846.
- Amazing Field trips: Field trips are always considered by children as the highlight of the school year. For teachers, field trips are important because it enables that students to connect abstract concepts learned in class to real-world experiences. For School year 2010-2011, Mano Amiga students met real life NASA astronauts, roamed around an amusement park for a day, and watched a movie in the big screen for the first time.