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Round-Up: Meaningful, Helpful Initiatives That Are Worth Checking Out

An inspiring art installation; a non-profit that provides free chess training and tournaments for children; an event that paid tribute to financial advisors; a program that benefits children in need of footwear; and a complimentary online trauma support for sexual assault survivors

A round-up on inspiring, helpful initiatives to know now: a meaningful art installation; a non-profit that provides free chess training and tournaments to build children’s adaptability, logical thinking, and creativity; an event that paid tribute to financial advisors; a program that benefits children in need of footwear; and a complimentary online trauma support for sexual assault survivors.


Jonathan Manalo Complements Kristine Lim’s “Ugoy” Installation With Original Music

ABS-CBN Music creative director Jonathan Manalo intensifies the comforting experience in the ongoing “Ugoy” art installation with his original composition. Missionary visual artist Kristine Lim mounted the exhibit featuring 18 cradle nests that represent the Philippines’ 18 regions to honor the mothers in the country and their motherland. It is available for viewing until May 31 at Fort Santiago, Intramuros, Manila.


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Non-Profit Uses Chess to Equip Underprivileged PH Youth With Life Skills That Can Change Their Life

The Philippines has participated in chess tournaments for over 66 years now, as chess has been a long-time sport and skill that many Filipinos have grown to learn and love. However, over the past few years, the spotlight on chess has declined with many of the youth today preferring online games more than learning how to play chess.


This catapulted young 15-year-old Theodore Abara to establish Knights Build Organization (KBO), a non-profit organization that aims to help his fellow Filipino youth build their adaptability, logical thinking, and creativity through chess. “One of the reasons I founded Knights Build was to provide an alternative form of entertainment for the youth that actually helps them perform better in school, improve their logical thinking skills, and pattern recognition, and at the same time teaches them important life skills that can change their lives–creativity, patience, perseverance in solving problems and challenges,” he shares. 


Abara was a scholar at Philippine Science High School prior to his being awarded the prestigious Vicky Sycip Herrera Scholarship at International School Manila where he is currently a Grade 10 student. In the past, he has represented the country and won several competitions as part of the Philippine Math team, among other achievements he has at a young age.


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KBO Founder Theodore Abara and KBO Volunteer Coach Jonathan Trajano as they train and teach chess students from Manila Boystown Complex


Aside from the late National Master Roland Perez who taught KBO children in 2020, the non-profit organization now has a world-class and highly-experienced KBO Program Head with Coach Sonny Labayne who taught the chess team at International School Manila for over 15 years. He is supported by a number of KBO volunteers who comprise young chess players in their teens or retired competitive chess players who are now focused on teaching chess.


To date, KBO has donated various chess sets, chess clocks, chess books, and magazines to the underprivileged communities such as Boystown Manila and soon in Cavite and Marikina before year-end. KBO commits to providing free chess education and training scholarships to at least a thousand underprivileged kids before the end of 2022. The organization works closely with local government units to implement their programs in certain communities across the metro. 


KBO also runs its No Stress Chess program designed for chess players who want to learn the sport and just have fun without worrying about competing in chess tournaments. As a means to sustain the operations of KBO as well as help local farmers at the onset and height of the pandemic, the organization sells locally-produced organic coffee from Baguio, Mushrooms Chips from Bulacan, and Tablea from Davao. To support them and keep updated on their latest news, visit their Facebook and Instagram pages.


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(From left) Manila Sports Council OIC Chairman Roel de Guzman, KBO Founder Theodore Abara, Manila Department of Social Welfare (MDSW) OIC Ma. Asuncion “Re” Fugoso, Manila Boystown Complex OIC, Ms. Digna Punay with KBO volunteers during the recent awarding ceremonies in Manila Boystown Complex
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Manulife Pays Tribute to Its Financial Advisors in Champions Dinner

Manulife Philippines, the local subsidiary of international financial services provider Manulife, recently paid tribute to its financial advisors during the company’s “Champions Dinner” at Conrad Manila, Pasay City. The event, themed “Glorious,” aimed to honor its modern-day heroes, whose resilience, passion, and commitment have helped financially secure the future of many Filipinos so they can live every day better. This was the first hybrid gathering of Manulife’s agency force since the pandemic.


“The last two years may have been filled with uncertainties, but I am so proud of our financial advisors and agency leaders who have weathered tough times, achieved a lot together, and have gotten bolder and stronger with renewed hope, optimism, and confidence to reach new heights,” said Richard Bates, Manulife Philippines’ President and Chief Executive Officer. “Now more than ever, many Filipinos acknowledge and understand the importance of financial protection. We look forward to giving more families the security and financial peace of mind they need and deserve.”


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(From left) Manulife Philippines’ President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Bates, Financial Advisor of the Year awardee Kimberly Zandueta, and Manulife Philippines' Chief Distribution Officer Stephen Ong


Among over 300 awardees at Manulife’s Champions Dinner were Kim Zandueta, the youngest-ever “Financial Advisor of the Year” in Manulife Philippines history; and Taly Ong, who was honored as “Unit Head of the Year” for the third time.


Manulife also recognized the 210 Million-Dollar Round Table (MDRT) members who have shown consistent excellent performance as financial advisors. MDRT is a global, independent association of the world’s leading life insurance and financial services professionals from more than 500 companies in 70 nations and territories. By the end of 2021, Manulife Philippines has the third highest MDRT membership among life insurers in the country. 


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(From left) Manulife Philippines' Chief Distribution Officer Stephen Ong, Unit Head of the Year awardee Natalia Ong, and Manulife Philippines’ President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Bates
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SM Launches Share Shoes 2022

SM Supermalls brings back their CSR initiative called Share Shoes, a program that benefits children in need of footwear.


This time, SMAC cardholders can take part in this cause by donating unused points they collected–a small way to give back that makes a big impact in these children’s lives. The points will be used to fund the World Vision and SM Kids Foundation’s shoe donation drive.


All you have to do to participate is simply log in at smac.ph, select “Transfer Points,” enter shareshoes@smac.ph, and add the points you wish to donate. Especially with back to school arriving, the little ones will definitely feel the love and support through this little act of kindness.


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Complimentary Trauma Support for Sexual Assault Survivors, Now Available in Bumble

Bumble, the women-first dating and social networking app, have teamed up with Bloom in an industry-first partnership to launch complimentary online trauma support to members who report sexual assault or relationship abuse. The offering is now available in English and Spanish to Bumble’s global communities. Later this year, support will be expanded to French, Hindi, Portuguese, and Urdu.


Over the past few months, Bumble and Bloom have worked together to create a custom curriculum spearheaded by survivor-led insights and feedback. If someone within the Bumble community reports sexual assault or relationship abuse to either app’s feedback team, they will receive a code for free access to a version of Bloom’s support customized specifically for Bumble members, which includes three self-guided courses: Healing from Sexual Trauma; Society, Patriarchy, and Sexual Trauma; and Dating, Boundaries, and Relationships. In addition to this library of courses and resources, in some cases Bumble members will receive access to one-to-one chat support and up to six therapy sessions.


To guarantee privacy, every participant remains anonymous without missing out on a group setting. Bloom uses technology with end-to-end encryption that enables secure conversations, safely recreating in-person group therapy online for vulnerable people. After Bumble refers someone to Bloom, the dating app will not have access to any information the individual shares with the nonprofit.


Bloom is run by Chayn, a survivor-led non-profit addressing gender-based violence by creating intersectional resources online. Chayn has championed a “design with, not for” approach - their services are made for survivors by survivors. Since 2020, Chayn has built a team of qualified and trauma-informed staff, in addition to their global volunteer network, and has supported over 1000 people from 50 countries.


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Lead photos from ABS-CBN and Knights Build Organization