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DARTS: An Instrument of Hope for Less-Fortunate Children?
Personal Account of Ronnel B. Botor
April 30, 2009 was a stormy morning as the rain kept on pouring, together with the barrage of strong winds and thunderstorms brought about by a strong typhoon as reported by PAG-ASA on that day. The horizon looked so depressing yet so inviting for everyone, including myself, to forget work for the meantime and take a day off.

Bleak and depressing as it was, NDFP President Tito Soncuya hit the road as early as 7:00AM from Marikina City to pick me up for a very noble Samaritan work. His two-hour ordeal in the midst of traffic jams and flooded roads to reach our meeting place was already a test of perseverance. Yet, he was all set to accomplish his ‘special mission’ for that day.

We met at around 9:00 AM in C5-Taguig and drove all the way to Robinson’s Dasmariñas, Cavite via Alabang exit and through Daang-Hari Road. The rain kept on pouring but there was no turning back. We still have to meet Ricky Santiago, who was the brain and architect of the DART-FOR-A- CAUSE project. After 2 hours we met Ricky Santiago and his wife, with boxes of assorted food items, toiletries and sacks of rice for the Bukid Kabataan Center. For his part, the NDFP President brought with him 2 boxes of assorted canned goods and various food items.

We were on the last stage of the P15,000 DART-FOR-A-CAUSE project, an undertaking sparked by the compassion and sympathy of Ricky Santiago for the children of the Bukid Kabataan Center in his home community in Dasmarinas. This was a project to support a fund-raising for the Bukid Kabataan Center within the ranks of darters. His appeal for support did not go unheeded when the NDFP network provided the maximum support it can generate. The ‘controversial’ tournament was launched last April 4 in Nom-e Pasig and supported by 180 dart players coming all the way from Baliwag, Bulacan to Sta Cruz, Laguna.

With our stockpile of goods, we drove through a narrow pavement leading to Bukid Kabataan Center. The place was beautifully-surrounded by building-tall trees of various species. Silence was everywhere and we felt inner peace and blissfulness. It always made me wonder why solitary and serene places like the Bukid ng Kabataan Center can seem to speak to our inner selves even without uttering a single word or two. Perhaps, God really designed it that way in order for us to ‘commune’ with His hopeless and needy flock which are often ostracized by our judgmental society.

We were met at the Reception Area by Sister Mary Lilia Flores, RGS (Sisters of the Good Shepherd), the Program Manager of Bukid Kabataan Center (formerly Caritas Orphanage), which serves as a therapeutic shelter for children who are trauma survivors. Sister Mary further explained that, “the Center takes care of abused, neglected, abandoned and orphaned children from all over the country in coordination with DSWD, local government institutions and various NGOs.” The subsistence of the Center is through the support and kindness of donors and benefactors.

As the children of the Center assembled in front of us and greeted us with genuine smiles, all of our exhaustions and tiredness dissipated. It really felt so fulfilling inside. What lifted our spirits more was the very touching song that the children sang and offered to us. Their voices were somehow tearing our hearts into pieces. The message of the song was so plain yet so strong that it struck us so powerfully. It spoke about their flickering HOPE and it was because of US – YOU, ME and the Bukid Kabataan that they still see a glimpse of hope shining for them everyday. It was because of that 15K Dart-For-A-Cause that we had at Nom-E Pasig last April 4 that another glimpse of hope was added for these less-fortunate children who deserve a fair share in our society. In my mind, perhaps that’s how God shows how He greatly appreciates small things that we do for our brethren. For it is written, “Whatever it is that you have done to the least of your brethren, you have done it for Me.”

We left the Center with the rain still pouring but somehow the bleak and depressing day has been shattered with our sense of fulfillment and our pride as darters! With the success of this undertaking, I just cannot help but to give credits to those people who, despite of so many resistance and oppositions, still pushed for the realization of this worthy project. I take my hats off to Mr. & Mrs. Ricky Santiago for initiating this project. Likewise, Mr. & Mrs. Tito Soncuya, and the numerous sponsors and supporters who had their own share in the project. Lastly, the National Darts Federation of the Philippines (NDFP) for being instrumental in the realization of this event. Congratulations to all of you for a job well done!

Now, it can be said --- that the sport of Darts can be a viable catalyst of HOPE for the less-fortunate sectors of our society.

Updated May 13, 2009  

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