Wednesday, July 15, 2015



An exclusive assembly of like-minded young Ilonggos with age ranging from 16 to 35 years old is making a difference in the first district of Iloilo province. They are engaging in tangible and sustainable civic works and mentoring fellow youth.

They are the Young Friends 2014 (YF 2014), a civic organization composed of 1,690 youth members who reside in the seven (7) towns of the first district of Iloilo. They are organized and mentored by farmers’ voice in Congress, Rep. Sharon S. Garin.

“They (YF 2014) are honed to be responsible and vibrant community leaders through seminars and socio-civic activities. I believe that by doing something worthwhile to do outside of school is one way of saving them from the perils of teenage pregnancy, drug-addiction, life-of-crime, and unrealized potentials,” AAMBIS-Owa Party-list Rep. Garin said.

YF 2014 is part of the several successful AAMBIS-Owa projects. One of them is the “Bayanihan Para sa Musmos na Kabataan” wherein 756 day care pupils in the 4th class municipality of Guimbal became the beneficiaries of this AAMBIS-Owa Day Care Center Project designed to rehabilitate and upgrade child care facilities.
The town of Guimbal has 28 day care centers spread out in 33 barangays. The day care center improvements were held last December, March and May.

YF 2014 provided the manpower for the carpentry and painting of the day care centers.
Early this July, additional five (5) daycare centers located in the town of San Joaquin, Iloilo were improved through the help of YF 2014.

YF 2014 members are carefully selected through a rigorous process. In July 2014, a panel composed of respected community leaders – barangay chairmen, SB members, and youth advocates made a list of possible youth recruits who exhibited potentials to become non-traditional leaders. To be a member, one’s name must appear in all lists. In November 2014, the YF 2014 was officially founded.

From May 18 to June 21, 2015, the Executive Committee of YF 2014 held a series of leadership trainings in each of the seven (7) towns with the theme: Empowered Youth for Responsible Leadership.

Zassy Lae Garrucho, a 28 year-old office worker from Guimbal feels privileged to be part of YF 2014. “The leadership trainings are fun and enlightening. I learned new strategies and tips on decision making, communication processes, and introspection which I can apply to become a better role model for my fellow youth,” Garrucho said.

Michael John Mallorca, a 35 year old former call center agent, is also among those who participated in the training. He said that the most fruitful part of the training is the problem identification wherein the participants pin-pointed youth problems.

The top three (3) problems most participants listed are unemployment, incapacity to attend college, and infrastructure. /MP

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