Never Too Young To Be a Hero

Manila City, Philippines—When it comes to the topic of heroism, we naturally assume that the focus and responsibility falls on the adult.  We have overlooked the contributions of children as they may seem trivial or insignificant compared to the capacity of the adults.  What we need to realize is that heroic behavior starts in the hearts of the young which can be nurtured and hopefully lead to greater acts that could be the catalyst for change.  This idea was brought to the attention of the public as Kraft Phil., manufacturers of Tang, the world’s leading brand in powdered juice, embarked on a nationwide search for kid heroes called Tang Galing Mo Kid which began last year.

Alex Dan Tacderas

In a presscon held at Manila Hotel last May 10, 2012 for the awarding of the seven winners of the Tang Galing Mo Kid search, Alex Dan Tacderas, Tang Marketing Manager, pointed out to the audience the biblical fact that the feeding of the crowd of 3 loaves of bread and 5 pieces of fish that was miraculously multiplied by Jesus came from a child. The guest speaker of the event was none other than 2009 CNN Hero of the Year, Efren Penaflorida, who gave some advice to the young heroes.

Efren Penaflorida

Firstly, “No one is too ordinary or too young to be a hero”. Second, “Don’t choose whom you will help as the drive comes from our heart or from love. “. Lastly, “Don’t sit too long on your laurels as there is still so much  to do and people will look up to you and everything you do and say” sums up the message of Penaflorida.

Tang celebrates the greatness of kids by showcasing the many heroic efforts of children from all over the country.  With organizations sending in their nominations,  such as Club 8586 Inc., Dynamic Teen Company, Girl Scouts of the Philippines, Handicapped Intensive Rehabilitation through Employment, Women of Wallem and PAREF Rosehill School, Tang’s jury was able to choose seven of the most remarkable young heroes.

Penaflorida giving advice to the young heroes

The winners represent varied interests with only one common thread – they all have significant contributions to their communities and organizations.

A former street beggar and labor-exploited child, young Kesz Valdes began teaching other kids personal hygiene through demonstrations at the tender age of six. A year later, with no consideration of a reward, Kesz began to volunteer by giving out slippers and books to street children and scavengers roaming the streets.

Winners with Tang Officers Tacdera and Santillan

Raynold dela Cruz, a “My Rights” volunteer, is an active advocate for children’s rights and was recognized with a “Good-Deeder” Award and a “Young Mandela” title in 2010 by the South African Embassy and the Dynamic Teen Company during Nelson Mandela Day. He is now a trainee in the Dynamic Teen Company with a project he recently launched called “Saving Kids with First Aid Kits”, which aims to provide first aid kits to public school clinics, while also raising funds by selling ice candy made with Tang.

U Maalam and Trubador Wisely used their creative skills in creating an illustrated comic collection aimed at uplifting the lives of others. After class, they both try to sell the comics at a higher cost to rich executives, lowering publication costs so they could sell the comics to the masses at a much lower price.

toast to the winners

Love for God is epitomized in young Padre Pio devotee Angela Serafico who spends her time helping less fortunate children. The multi-faceted young artist is a violinist, writer, public speaker, and painter. In response to the recent Typhoon Sendong, Angela sold two of her paintings, donating the proceeds to the calamity victims.

tang toast

Young Martha Balagat, in her first grade, created and illustrated her own book and is a contributor to the Junior Inquirer where several of her pieces were featured. On top of that, she teaches Catechism every Saturday with her mother, at their parish where she reads to underprivileged children and creates visual aids for her classes with them.

Last, but not least, Dannah Suaze, a Laguna Council Representative, inspires less fortunate children to be responsible citizens by teaching Catechism and reading. She does all this through her active participation in Barangay, Church, and Girl Scout Programs.

Sometimes the best gift we can receive from our children is not what they give us, but what they want to give to the world. Children who have been nurtured with the right values and live within an inspiring environment start showing signs of amazing heroism even at an early age.  Since the biblical times, we have been told of stories of how a kid’s small deed has changed lives and situations significantly.

Encourage your children to reach out and share with others all the love that you have given them. Let’s all celebrate the greatness of our kids.

 

with 2009 CNN Hero Efren Penaflorida, founder of the Karitela school
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