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Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo

May 31, 2023

Young leaders making possibilities

The 6th President of the United States, John Quincy Adams, said: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

There are leaders who emerge in times of despair, stepping up to motivate action. And there are those who take leadership to the next level, creating possibilities to empower communities and develop new leaders to sustain community action.

Last week, I took a breather and attended the induction ceremony of JCI Las Pinas and JCI Las Piñas Waterlily, a group of young leaders from different professions who have come together to make a positive impact in our communities. It’s one of the chapters of JCI Philippines, which is the first nationally organized leadership development organization established in Asia.

The JCI’s longstanding commitment as a partner of government in nation building is exemplary. And I am glad that my home city of Las Piñas now has its own chapter. In fact, the city had its JCI chapter many years ago but it ceased. Last year, a team of young leaders in Las Piñas banded together to revive the JCI Las Piñas chapter under the leadership of its president, Michael Angelo Pizarro.

These are young professionals at the height of their careers. But despite their hectic work schedules, they find time to bring back to the community the JCI way: making possibilities and creating positive change.

In partnership with barangays and other government institutions, they have been providing support for communities through projects such as clean-up drives, supplying materials and refurbishing day care centers, free circumcision medical mission, gift-giving to persons deprived of liberty, and job fairs.

They also conduct workshops to empower citizens, like the Basic Life Support Workshop for teachers, which was done in partnership with JCI Makati Princess Urduja; “Buhay na Pag-asa sa Bahay Pag-asa,” a painting and poem writing workshop for children in Bahay Pag-asa; and Project AWRA (Arming Women with Right Awareness) that aims to empower women through the conduct of a basic self-defense class.

JCI Las Piñas also adopted one of the programs of JCI Philippines, the Youth Leadership Excellence Award (YLEA), which recognizes elementary and high school students from both public and private schools who show extraordinary skills both in academics and in extra-curricular activities.

The new JCI chapter hopes to reach out to more communities not only in Las Piñas, but even in other parts of the country where they can make a difference. No project is too small or too big, they are ready to provide help where they are needed. Moreover, in accordance with the JCI mission and vision, they are proactively encouraging young citizens to be part of nation building.

As someone who works in government, I’ve always believed that nation building starts in our communities, and it cannot be done by government alone, non-profit organizations such as the JCI give the much-needed support to expand public services to their respective communities. That’s why we need leaders not only in government, but also within our communities.

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