The first YOH event happened at Mt. Ulap in Brgy. Ampucao, Itogon, Benguet on February 15, 2020.
Thirty youths of Barangay Ampucao received gift sets consisting a Bible, a bag, a tumbler, and a hygiene kit. RFM Corporation, one of Innvigorate PH’s partner brands, provided the buns and juices for the highschoolers.
The program opened with a word of prayer, followed by exciting, physical games. After the joyful activities, the participants went to their breakout groups.
The highlight of the youth outreach organized by Innvigorate was when the small groups discuss about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The facilitators, also called as kuyas and ates, encouraged their members to share what they know about Jesus.
One of the facilitators, Kuya Ronald, shared “I thought I was the one who is going to share something amazing to them but God met me halfway. The young man wearing orange shirt and a black cap and who was the eldest in my group shared how He met and started to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I am blessed and amazed because at his young age, he had great passion, desire and heart to serve God.”
The young man Kuya Ronald was referring to apparently have a great testimony to share. He expounded:
Here’s his testimony: As early as grade four, he already liked drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes despite his young age. Someone from their local church kept on inviting him to attend their church, even the pastor invited him but he kept refusing. He didn’t want to change anything. He was so happy and carefree with his life. Not until he was hospitalized because of his habits. His kidney suffered because of drinking too much alcohol and other energy drinks. The pastor visited him in the hospital not to invite him but to check on him and to pray for him. That was the start of his walk with God.
How #WanderWithPurpose Works
A total of 21 hiker volunteers manned the youth outreach program of Innvigorate PH. There were different committees – Program, Snacks, Gifts, Facilitators – formed to expedite different tasks.
These volunteers contributed Php 1,440 each for the event, which was inclusive of an event shirt, a bag tag, registration and guide fees, as well as round-trip van transfers.
While not required, some of the hiker volunteers still opted to bring gifts out of the abundance of their hearts. There were also donors who generously presented gifts despite not joining the event proper.
Karla Reyes Mayo, one of the hiker volunteers, left a review on Innvigorate Philippines’ official Facebook page about her first-time experience with the group.
“Accommodating organizers + nice and awesome companions + beautiful place + wonderful purpose = SOLID! Thank you so much for letting us join this outreach hike! Cheers for mooore!! God bless.”
About Innvigorate Philippines
Innvigorate Philippines’ mission is to draw travelers and hikers not only to God’s beautiful creations, but also to the Creator Himself.
Their vision is to see a nation where travelers #WanderWithPurpose, desiring to serve for the interest of the local communities they visit.
This is why they regularly bring outdoor enthusiasts to far-flung places, like mountain-side communities to conduct outreach programs.
Since 2017, the group has already conducted a total of 15 outreach hikes in Rizal, Batangas, Benguet, and Nueva Ecija, among other parts of Luzon.
Their first major project was Balik Eskwela Drive 2018. They formed the event to show love to elementary students by giving out school supplies and sharing God’s word to them.
The group have plenty of positive reviews on their official Facebook page.
“Coordinators are great. Meeting them for the very first time doesn’t give me and awkward feelings being with them. Great companion!” Vian Soriano shared.
Soriano apparently met the group in 2019, during the second series of Balik Eskwela Drive. The outdoor enthusiast was present in all three legs during that year.
The group is targeting the have the third run of the Balik Eskwela Drive this year. They are targeting to reach 1,500 kids from three public schools in Rizal, Bulacan and Batangas.
The group is encouraging people and brands to extend generous help by providing all or any, through cash or in-kind, of the following:
- School supplies (e.g. bags, notebooks, ballpens, pencils)
- Food and refreshments (e.g. bread, biscuits, juice)
- Toiletries (e.g. toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, soap)
- Transportation (e.g. fuel, vans)
Because of lockdowns following the spread of COVID-19 in the country, however, the group is yet to announce the final dates of Balik Eskwela Drive 2020 legs. All will depend on Department of Education’s final announcement on the official opening of SY 2020-2021.