Peer Pressure and CICL Talk

12:13 PM Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Rotary Club of Chinatown-Manila has really adopted the information campaign for Restorative Justice. They have partnered with the Foundation for Adolescent Development initially to train people in handling Children in Conflict with the Law (CICL) cases.

But since most CICL come from the marginalized sector, with no landlines, and the modern day trend of not phoning anymore (we're fans of cellphones and computers instead), the Rotary Club of Manila and FAD decided to go further and reach the responsible adults and the youth themselves. After all, FAD usually holds Peer Pressure talks so it was just a matter of incorporating restorative justice points in the discussion.

But how to do this without coming across as encouraging the audience to go commit crimes and be merry?

Well, it was really difficult and I was really nervous. But it's great that Project Manager Khristine Gervacio decided to tap youth organizations instead. Youth orgs at least provide a certain level of positive peer pressure and sense of belonging. And we really had to reiterate again and again our points:

* Peer pressure is doing something you didn't want because you want to seek/maintain the approval of your peers
* Positive peer pressure gets you making the right choices and better decisions and keeps you from harm
* Negative peer pressure gets you in trouble and can result in a life of crime
* Criminals and juvenile delinquents aren't born overnight. Usually, they grow in confidence and skill over time, regardless of whether they are caught or not
* They can choose not to get involved but hanging out with the wrong group CAN still result in trouble
* Under the restorative justice, a child below 15 years of age and 15-18 years of age found to have no discernment will not be criminally liable, but their victims or those who will apprehend them can still inflict damage on them (i.e. they can be tortured, not brought to the precinct at all, and killed... and even a hard enough slap can result in hearing loss)
* In case they make wrong decisions or get wrongly accused/apprehended for being at the wrong place and time, they must know their rights and what they can do as a child (the most important of which include contact with parents, representation by a lawyer or DSWD worker and approaching the Women's Desk in precincts)
* Lack of criminal liability does not exempt them from civil liability. They will pay for their crimes, only, in a way that gives them an opportunity to change instead of becoming a hardened criminal
* The system is not perfect. There is a lack of funds for rehabilitation programs. DSWD workers are overtaxed. The police don't always know, or believe in, restorative justice. But these are not reasons for them not to invoke the law, if ever.
* Peer pressure resulting in crime is usually made by older people capitalizing on this law and children which is why children have to protect themselves from this kind of pressure.
* Adolescent issues like identity crisis, problems with parents, intimacy issues, etc. and other things like poverty, environment, lack of education can all be used as reason to give in to negative peer pressure. But drinking, vandalizing, etc to hurt your parents, your gf, etc will always end up hurting the perpetrator more. Cutting classes will get them low grades. Engaging in unprotected premarital sex will make them young parents. Stealing stuff for drinking, gambling or drug money will either get them harmed or killed.

It was great that the Hubog Kabataan had a loving Mommy Hazel they look up to, who finds gigs and projects for them and also welcomes them in her home. It was also great that some in the audience were once juvenile delinquents who have been involved in stealing stuff. They were able to provide the younger ones (we had grade schoolers) an insight to their former life, how hard it was, and how they've found purpose in the youth group. They were also very quick to offer advice and were the ones quick to tell the youngsters, "This law aims to protect us if we ever do wrong, but let's not wait to have to be protected by it, let's protect ourselves instead and avoid crime. A better life awaits those who make the right decisions." (in Filipino, of course!)

So I appeal to those with extra, or who may need help and can tap the youth, please contact Mommy Hazel or e-mail me for the Hubog Kabataan's President's number. Help her help these kids. A lot of the kids are into dancing and dancing gigs in town fiestas or parties will be more than welcome. They'd also appreciate computer lessons or any other lessons, just so long as these kids are preoccupied with something good.

Our talk itself still have a lot of room for improvement. But I know we also did good that day. I just really hope that we managed to 'save' some of these children and that they in turn will get to 'save' their peers.

The talk was held at Kaibigan Foundation premises (San Andres Bukid) last Tuesday, January 26, 2010.

Helping by not Helping

4:21 PM Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I was trying to look for an adoptive family for a friend's brother's crack baby. And yes, we've talked about how we'd just have the adoptive family pay the hospital bills and just 'sign for the child' so that there'd be an instant birth certificate with the child bearing his adoptive family's name already.

In fairness to me, my heart IS in the right place. But my wits weren't. It was not really the best solution to the problem and I realize that now after talking to Ms. Matet of Norfil Foundation.

I forgot that the biological parents CAN still go after the child even if the child already bears his adoptive family's name. And the adoptive family can be sued for falsification of documents and simulation of birth.

I forgot that the adoptive family's kin, even the adoptive parents themselves, CAN contest any rights due to the child because he was not adopted legally.

I forgot that, since the child is a crack baby, the adoptive parents may change their minds and CAN still return the baby.

I was too focused on the short term (having parents to pay for the pre-natal checkups and the delivery, and getting the baby away from its irresponsible, unfit parents) that I forgot that this is a child whose rights need to be protected.

Well, if my friend's family are still up for it, Norfil can get the baby from them after the birth. Norfil will have them officially give the baby up and the baby will be placed in a foster home while adoption is taking place. Usually, newborns and baby girls are placed faster than others. But generally, a baby is officially adopted within a year or two (longer if foreigner adoptive parents). Meanwhile, the DSWD monitors the baby's wellbeing with its foster family. Plus, because the baby is not placed in an institution, it is better cared for and grows up in a fairly loving atmosphere.

Now, I just hope my friend's family takes this kind of help... and I am truly sorry for wanting to help them the wrong way.

And God, I really hope this baby will grow up in a better home.

Pyro Paramdam

1:47 PM Sunday, January 24, 2010

My cousin who recently passed the NCLEX in the US credits his passing partly to Pyro. He told me he was feeling lost in all the questions already when he started calling on our departed. When he got to Pyro, he suddenly felt cold air sweep over him. He silently told Py that all he was asking for is help, and that Py shouldn't scare him, hehe.

He went for a break to wash his face and returned to finish his exams. Again, he called on our departed and when he reached Py's name again, there was that cold air again and he felt something lightly slam on his face. Then he had goosebumps. Then he prayed and told Py that he believes Py is his angel. Then he continued and finished taking the exams... and he passed.

He failed the first time he tried.

I told this to my SIL and she said that her sister still hears her kids talking to Py, which scares her. Sometimes, she'd hear her kids asking Py to wait, that yes, they're going to visit his grave. I don't know if they really still feel his presence or that's their way of still adjusting to his death. But Py has been gone 3 years now and his cousins have grown up, they're not kids age 3-5 anymore so I can't entirely chalk it up to imagination still.

Anyway, SIL had Py's brother's hair cut and my cousin told me she remembers that's how Py's hair looked when he was recovering from his first surgery.

Three years have gone and we have generally moved on, but I guess somehow, a part of all of us will be stuck in the year 2006.

Much Ado About Bra Colors

12:30 PM Monday, January 18, 2010

There was a recent thing on Facebook about posting bra colors and getting other women to do it to increase breast cancer awareness. Not quite sure why men were excluded because you'd think, they had to be made aware too, but anyway, I 'joined' and posted GREEN (last bra color I wore, because am usually braless at home) as status alert.

That gave birth to hair styl;e and foot size, too. Hehe.

Anyway, was surprised that there was a fuss made over it.

Did I think it will directly help cure cancer? Of course not. But it still made me smile knowing that we've come a looong way from the drab, brown or flesh-colored bras during my mother's time. Women have changed along with their bras as well. I like to think we're living fuller lives and are closer to equal opportunities with men than we've ever been before. Progress, isn't it?

Was it sexualizing boobs? Maybe, and so what? Women have been preoccupied with boob size as much as men. I don't have to have breast cancer for me to know that once that verdict has been handed down, my sexuality will be rocked as much as my mortality. To have the cleavage that drew my husband to me and the breasts that nourished my son to be a source of something that might kill me, that will always be a terrible, terrible thing! One of the things i'd definitely mourn! So telling women not to sexualize their boobs is like telling us not to be sexual beings, especially at a time when we can still afford to be.

And then there's the fact that Farmville, for example, doesn't really make farmers out of anyone, nor does it save the millions of hungry kids in Africa from starving to death. But we accept it's a game, we tolerate the people getting addicted to it. So why can't people just tolerate a similarly harmless game between women about bra colors?

True, talking about something will not really amount to anything if nothing is done to act on the issue. This applies to not just cancer but politics, health, etc. as well. It just so happened, however, that it is not in everybody's destiny to find the cure for cancer. Same way that some others choose to support animals instead of finding the cure for cancer. So long as you're doing something right about something you're passionate about... live and let live, right?

But I choose to rise up to the challenge instead of complaining that there's too much on my plate right now.

I choose to welcome being occupied.

I choose to welcome the opportunities coming my way.

And I choose to move forward, be a better version of myself.

Drained... Dirty Laundry Alert

1:12 PM Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I am soooo fed up with my cousin and sister-in-law's war. They're always too eager to think the worst of each other without checking first if they're behaving well themselves.

We have tried interventions and we have talked to them again and again and they have almost physically hurt each other. There's no reasoning with them. My cousin is the one really closed to the possibility of even a truce or some form of civility, but it's my SIL who goes crazy with her temper when she's feeling slighted.

I am tired of it all and it's affecting my marriage.

And there's really no question of kicking out one of them because they're both family.

So I guess, maybe they should both go. Hehe.

The Reality Check

3:04 PM Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Yesterday, I found out that two acquaintances/friends are HIV positive.

I was not shocked that I could ever meet one, because I have already met some before. I was not shocked that they are, because they seemed to have a healthy attitude towards sex. I was more shocked to realize though that I have forgotten just how HIV can be acquired by anyone. Thaat just like cancer, it will not really discriminate between the poor and the rich, the young and the old, the gay and the straight, the cool and the loser, the stranger and the family.

I have forgotten now where I read the question, "HOW MANY LIVES WILL YOU CHANGE THIS YEAR?" which I was saving for a good blog post. But I guess projection isn't the same as doing. So I will just help wherever I can, however I can.

I have the Deaf, the CICL, the pregnant/breastfeeding Moms as advocacies. But I guess I should become involved with HIV/AIDS and Cancer as well. HIV/AIDS because I was an HIV/AIDS and reproductive health counselor for at least five years before. And cancer because I have been touched and marked by it. I have to do Pyro's death some service.


Meanwhile, it may be a little crass to post it here... but would you know of goodhearted people willing to adopt a crack baby? Babies born to addicted parents come with a slew of possibly congenital anomalies or lifelong illnesses and special needs. But I need help to give a baby a chance of a better life. Let's change that baby's life. Please.

Still Missing Py

3:57 AM Thursday, January 07, 2010

My brother had these decors made. They were really great (and I guess my brother is feeling patriotic) even if the artist exchanged the red and blue colors of the Philippine flag. Had Py been alive, he'd have been wowed by this for sure.

It's been three years since he's gone. And I feel that I have not done his death service yet. I have not really been active with cancer-in-kids causes. I have not even reached out to other hurting parents.

But in time Py, in time, Tita will help save someone. Meanwhile, please hush your little brother's night terrors. Make him realize that having an angel for a big brother has its perks. :)

FSL Christmas Party

3:08 PM Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Okay, this was held last December 19 but it was crazy after that so am only having the time to post about it now. Just finished uploading pics yesterday :D

Food was ordered from Amber's Best Restaurant (famous for its pichi-pichi), entertainment was provided by us students, prizes for the games were provided by Ms. Pam and I, fun was provided by everybody!

I forgot what I got as exchange gift though, but I gave away Human Heart Nature products. We got some Deaf students to teach as the Christmas alphabet in sign language but we ended up dancing "All I Want for Christmas" instead.

pichi goodness

FSL 2 doing the Christmas alphabet instead

FSL 1 dancing to "All I Want for Christmas Is You"

FSL 3 are Single Ladies :D

Deaf teachers explaining the rules of the game

charade without fingerspelling, signs and voice

bubble gum contest pax

happy tired people

Teacher Pam is Deaf but her daughter is hearing. Then there are two among us who are hearing parents with Deaf kids. Anyway, our graduation is on january 16 and I intend to bake cookies as a contribution. really love learning Filipino Sign Language!!!