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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Working with Gary V for UNICEF

 Action & Event-ure:

I first met Gary Valenciano (also known as Gary V) last year when we were preparing for the launch of UNICEF Champions for Children.  I felt so honored to be working closely with a music superstar who also uses his stardom to help other people, especially the underprivileged children.  In his outreach activity at a daycare center in Baseco, Tondo, Manila, I remembered how he enjoyed spending time with the children.  When we were reminding him of his next schedule, he even asked for more time with the kids.  He then sang (a capella of course) Tayong Dalawa and the children instantly sang with him in the chorus part.  It is as if I heard a voice from heaven joined by a chorale of innocent little children. I just can't explain how I could sense the innate goodness glowing in his face, in his voice, in his movements, in his personality.  Before I admired Gary V as a performer, but now, I admire him more than that.  I admire him as a person, a very good person.

Gary V and Donita Rose during the launch of  Champions for Children in May 2009.

And after several months, we worked together again to celebrate his 12th Year Anniversary as UNICEF Ambassador and kick-off the second phase of UNICEF Champions for Children campaign.  I wasn't expecting that he could still remember me since Gary V meets lots of people everywhere, but to my surprise, I was proven wrong. =)  And last February 17, we facilitated Gary V's Media Day for UNICEF.  He first guested in Mornings@ANC at the Studio 6 of ABS-CBN Broadcast Center and then joined the Media Roundtable at Alex III Tomas Morato with the representatives of UNICEF, Josef Poe of Champions for Children and Kuya Butch and 3 sponsored street children of ChildHope Asia, an NGO supported by the program. Here is more info about Gary V's 12 years of UNICEF ambassadorship and the Champions for Children campaign.

UNICEF Ambassador Gary V searches for 6,000 new Champions for Children

Gary Valenciano, now on his 12th year as UNICEF Ambassador, is looking for 6,000 new Champions for Children to help him advocate for children’s rights and make a difference in the lives of Filipino children.

“Now, more than ever, the children need everyone’s help,” said Gary Valenciano (also known as Gary V). Gary V and UNICEF are looking for 6,000 new Champions for Children this 2010 to address the needs of Filipino children and give them the chance to survive and thrive.

Champions for Children is a community of UNICEF supporters that seeks to help Filipino children all over the country enjoy the right to education, healthcare and nutrition as well as protection from neglect, abuse and exploitation through regular monthly donations. Gary V and UNICEF launched Champions for Children in May 2009 and since then, 4,500 people have signed up to become donors. Total funds raised from those donors reached 11 million pesos, which helped greatly in UNICEF’s efforts to aid children affected by Ondoy and Pepeng.

Gary Valenciano started his involvement in UNICEF last 1998 when he did a fundraising concert for the organization. “Being a father, I feel compelled to advocate for the cause of children’s rights. I wanted to contribute in any way in order to reach out especially to the Filipino children in remote areas. When UNICEF invited me to be part of a fundraising campaign for these children, I immediately said yes,” he added.

UNICEF conferred on Gary V the title UNICEF National Ambassador, the first in the Philippines, in the same year. Gary was singled out for his unwavering commitment to helping underprivileged children.

For 12 years, Gary V. has been an active advocate for children’s rights, fulfilling his role as UNICEF Ambassador by bringing hope and encouragement to children and communities all over the country. He had visited children in remote areas in the country such as Eastern Samar; Kidapawan, North Cotabato; Sitio Avocado, Negros Oriental; Davao; Ginsaugon, Leyte; Albay and Mountain Province, among others. “One thing I’ve learned from my work in UNICEF is that is nothing is impossible. I’ve seen former war zones transformed into peaceful, thriving communities. I’ve seen empty classrooms fill up with children, all eager to learn and make their dreams for the future come true, through the help of UNICEF and their partners,” he said. “We can do so much for these children, who deserve every chance we can give them, if we all work together.”

Champions for Children makes a great difference not only to the lives of UNICEF’s beneficiaries but also for those who signed up to be part of the community of UNICEF supporters. Josef Poe, a Certified Public Accountant from Manila, was very thankful to UNICEF for giving him the opportunity to help. “I am not rich and have very modest means, but I realize I do not have to be a millionaire to help our children now. I chose to be a Champion for Children because I felt duty bound to help underprivileged children who deserve a better chance in life. I thank UNICEF for helping me do this and be an instrument of change” said Josef.

In the Philippines, there is an estimated 250,000 children roaming the streets in year. Poverty and peer influence, when combined with problems and stresses in family life such as family break-ups, child abuse and neglect, and domestic violence push children to leave home and find solace, protection and support from their peers on the street. UNICEF, through its Child Protection Section, is working with government, NGOs and communities to uphold the rights of children and give them a new lease on life. UNICEF helps to provide direct services such as street education classes and psychosocial support, capacity building such as trainings for street educators or social workers, and also through advocacy so that children’s rights will be looked after.

UNICEF assists partner organizations like ChildHope through the Alternative Learning System or ALS. ALS provides non-formal education for out-of-school youth and adults who need to work and cannot afford regular schooling. Through an accreditation and equivalency facility with the Department of Education, ALS affords them a chance to go back to regular schooling or be eligible for jobs.

“UNICEF supports children in the Philippines for the long term. We are here to stay. Your regular monthly donations are important to sustain our programs in healthcare, nutrition, child protection and emergencies,” Vanessa Tobin, UNICEF Representative said.

“Anyone can be a Champion for Children. Every contribution counts, no matter how small or big it is! It takes so little to make a big difference,” UNICEF Fundraising Manager Michelle Borromeo explained. “A little amount can go a long way. With a regular contribution of P600 a month or P20 a day, 24 children suffering from diarrhea can benefit from oral rehydration salt (ORS) treatment. For as low as P500 a month or P16.67 a day, 5 children can go to school complete with supplies.”

As Gary V starts another chapter of his mission in UNICEF, he shares, “I am privileged and honored to be an ambassador for UNICEF. However, the need is great and the huge goals that UNICEF wants to achieve can only be fulfilled with the support of many more people who would want to catch the vision of a better life for every Filipino child.”

You too can become a Champion. To join, please visit www.unicef.ph or call 758-1000. You may also visit the UNICEF exhibit booths at leading malls in key cities in the country.

As a leading child rights organization in the Philippines, UNICEF works with local and international partners to help children in need. You can help. Be a Champion for Children today.


It's really a joy and honor to work with UNICEF and Gary V to champion the cause of children. Kudos to Mr. Pure Energy for sharing his life in this noble mission. My sincerest thanks goes to the media who supported us in this effort - Mornings@ANC, Philippine Star, BusinessWorld, Manila Times, SNN, Umagang Kay Ganda, Entertainment Live and TV Patrol.

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