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Our Stories: PFP Blogger Judy Gacutan

Judy Gacutan’s 20 years of volunteer work have included more compelling moments than she can recount. She began volunteering in college, working with children living in extreme poverty. She worked in a center for abandoned children and with young kids who were out of school and working. Her reflections can be summed up in these words: “Most of the children I encountered needed freedom.  They were imprisoned because of poverty. They were left without choice and with very little way out. Playing with them or simply spending time with them, they felt that somebody cared to find out something about them, some special thing that they thought they did not possess. Many of them believed they were a burden to the society.” Judy observes that when play is missing from children’s lives, they are deprived of the very foundation of their happy existence. Without play, children become hostile and rude and are not able to relate socially in a healthy way or trust others.  As she says, “When play is missing, a great part of who you are is missing.”

While she acknowledges the positive impact of technology, she also feels that children engaging in face-to-face and cooperative play are more well-adjusted and flexible. They learn to be patient, kind, and giving and they learn to compete healthily. As part of the communications team, Judy has so far focused on interviews. She would love to visit the Cebu team to participate in one of their sessions in the future. She remarks in particular that she sees the hope that PFP gives to children in areas of conflict and commends our trainers for their hard work, passion, and commitment.