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Youth Empowerment in the Philippines through Collaborative Games

“I have personally witnessed how collaborative games created breakthroughs in terms of unity and empowerment for the youth.  I have noticed that they interacted already with the other youth during our collaborative." —Richard Delos Reyes, Play for Peace Trainer, Philippines

Richard “Chad” Delos Reyes has devoted most of his youthful years pursuing leadership, community service, and political endeavours to help in nation-building and promote love of country among the Filipino youth.  His passion to train the youth has led him to Play for Peace, where he has been equipped to harness his skills and develop his talents to be a powerful influence to young people. The Philippines, a developing country in Asia, faces one of most challenging societal issues – the drug menace – that continues to plague hundreds of Filipino families.  The newly-elected national leaders enjoin the youth to take an active part and represent their sector in the government.  To hear their collective voice, local youth leaders must be elected and youth councils must be organized at the local levels.  What used to be known as “SK” (Sangguniang Kabataan), a youth council in each “barangay” (village), has now been reformed to support youth-related programs, projects, and activities and empower the youth sector.

On July 3, 2016, the Langtad Youth Development Council was formed in response to the government’s directive to reach out to all the youth in each barangay.  Chad, being a former President of the SK Federation of Argao, led the new officers and program heads during their meeting.  Using a Play for Peace session, the new council was able to identify the top three challenges that confront the youth of Langtad: (1) addiction to computer and drugs, (2) lack of education, and (3) low self-esteem.  Play for Peace trainer Chad and Langtad leaders namely Vincent Puerto, Jejo Andrew Puerto, Jason Manayan, Khess Clark Sereno, Kent Gella, Mary Jane Revillas, Leomar Genabe Jr., and Clarence Esca, used collaborative games during the Play for Peace sessions or workshops.  According to Chad, one of the interesting activities was the “Empathy Map,” which they used to better understand each challenge by personifying or role-playing each identified problem or concern.  They were able to come up with a solution using Play for Peace-inspired games and activities.

“We will establish the core group of the council members, who are the youth representatives or presidents, with the program heads who will be responsible for the three priorities or challenges,” said Chad. The core group was established, along with its program heads namely Laica Gella, Carlo Manayan, and Jan Tweety Manayan, to spearhead youth projects that will help resolve the top three issues in the village.

Another activity was the creation of a “Full Value Contract,” which symbolized their need to take responsibility for any negative behavior, value themselves yet change for the better, accept their fellow youth in the council, and take interest in the aims of the council. Richard’s perspicuity in sharing his vision for the young ones of Argao reflects his creative display of youth training and empowerment.  His optimism to develop the country’s ideals of patriotism, respect, and academic excellence is seen through his belief in the role of the youth in national development.  Through Play for Peace sessions that he incorporates in his mission for continuous learning, interaction increases and indifference dissipates, behavior improves and motivation rises, and most importantly, support strengthens and safer venues are created for all participants.

“They just don’t attend.  They participate by sharing their ideas,” Chad said. Filipino youth can be trained to fulfill their aspirations for the country. But they must be pursued and their energies channeled deliberately through more meaningful activities like collaborative games and Play for Peace-inspired sessions.