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TESTIMONIALS FROM FRIENDSHIP HOME GRADUATES 
 

My name is Ralf Renzo Vasquez. I live in Singalong Street, Malate, Manila, Philippines. I am the fifth child among my seven siblings. My father "Romeo" is a carpenter and my mother "Blesilda" is a plain housewife. Our parents need to work and to think about how to get enough money to feed, to educate, to secure, and to live a normal life. Just imagine, living with a huge family would mean the world won't be easy for us.

Young and innocent at the age of 10 (Grade 5), I am severely lucky to be accepted at Friendship Home. At first, I thought that I am here to be a simple scholar, to be a less burden for my parents, and to study hard in return. As I go forward with Friendship Home by my side, I fully realized that it's not limited to the three reasons I have. I understand that it is not an organization only for providing scholarship but rather to fulfill almost the entire needs of a human being: internal and external needs. It is a shelter where we "live, learn, work, play, and pray". They didn't just simply give money but serve me wholeheartedly to be the best person I am today.

During my elementary days, I remember that they helped my parents cure my pneumonia, a serious disease, by supporting for my medical bills. I remember myself being so happy playing and learning with my new found friends like I don't have any problems at all. Doing lots of indoor and outdoor activities with the local and foreign volunteers that I cherish as truly wonderful memories as a child. I can't imagine myself experiencing loads of things as a normal kid during my younger years without them, and I am really thankful for that.

Honestly, during my high school days, I find it difficult to do my duties and responsibilities as a member of Friendship Home with me being part of a special science section with too many extra-curricular activities. At that time, I felt much weight about choosing my priorities in life. And because of this, I learned how to accept the consequences of every decision I've made and my failures and mistakes. I see to it that I balanced my performance and time in school, Friendship Home, and our home. Luckily, this results to me graduating as 1st Honorable Mentioned in our batch at Manuel G. Araullo High School.

Being a college student and a member of Friendship Home would mean lots of responsibilities. As an adult and model to the younger members, I promised myself to give more time to my second home. I am enormously happy to be accepted as a Benildean Hope Grant - Friendship Home Scholar. Taking up Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Major in Export Management at De La Salle - College of Saint Benilde was not that easy. As I consider myself financially poor, I first thought that it would be a struggle for me to converse and study in a luxurious environment where most of the students were rich. But, I am entirely surprised that I gained lots of friends that supported and accepted me. I learned not to judge and to discriminate other people based on their physical, economic, spiritual, intellectual, and emotional affiliates and to accept people from diverse culture. Though I see to it that I am consistent first honor Dean's lister, I spent my extra time doing all my work and duties as an Information Communication Technology (ICT) and Public Relations (PR) Committee member in Friendship Home. With these responsibilities I had, I am happy that I was able to share my skills in computer, talent, leadership skills, and management skills to serve other people in Friendship Home.

 

On October 28, 2017, I graduated in college as Magna Cum Laude (Rank 4 in our school) and Best Feasibility Study Awardee. In fact, I will not graduate with flying colors without YOU - our brothers, staffs, my parents, friends, volunteers, donors, and partners of Friendship Home. I thank all you for inspiring, serving, and helping me to unchain my potential as a person. You released me from being poor and educated me with lots of skills, values, principles, and wisdom in order to face life itself. You taught me how to serve others using all of my skills. I am fully indebted to your LOVE, SERVICE, and GENEROSITY. I know that words are not enough to describe how grateful I am to all of you; Instead, I will always love and remember YOU being part of my journey; And, I pray that the Lord will bless all of you with the same amount of love and fulfill all of your dreams as you made mine come true. I offer all of my past and future achievements and successes in life to all of you and I will assure you that I will live a proper life like you wished for all of us in the future. I wish that you will continue to support other young dreamers like me and make their dream possible.

To the current and future members of Friendship Home and other young individuals who dream like I do, I will share with you what I learned from the past 9 years of my stay here in our home. Always remember, if you want something to happen in your life, you must first learn how to become a responsible person. As you become responsible for your thoughts, actions, words, and feelings to other people, I tell you, it will be easier for you to accept failures and to achieve your goals in life no matter how small, big, simple or difficult it may seem. It's not being intelligent by the books but being responsible and industrious that would lead you to a healthy life. Being responsible would lead you to better decisions and friends. Do not be afraid to take risks or even sharing your thoughts and opinions to anyone because it will test you and people around you to explore more unfounded ideas and knowledge that might help all of us to live or even survive. You must learn also how to obey so others will also follow you. Do not leave your friends behind. And the most important thing is: "to live your life in service of others". Always think that your mere attendance or presence is a form of service for other people to continue receiving opportunities in the future.

As I graduated in college, you will not graduate in my heart. You will always be here. And I will always be there no matter what.

 

- Ralf Renzo Vasquez (FH, 2008-2017)

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