Jerson is the first and only NingNing scholar (so far). I got to know him during the two years I lived in Manila, as he and his brother were close to Alfredo and helped him with the Saturday morning street children’s feeding program. When he expressed desire to go to college, I was thrilled to extend support through the NingNing Program. I had watched him and his brother grow over the years and despite challenging circumstances they faced at home, they always exhibited positive, hard-working attitudes each week. Besides that, they were outstanding artists (which I will share in a later post)!
Jerson is enrolled at ICCT College in San Mateo. Nonie and I made the trip from Manila, which took us about an hour by train and two jeepney rides. Jerson greeted us with a big smile when we arrived. It was so fun to see him in his school surroundings and around his friends. He continues to tell us he never EVER thought he would get the chance to be a college student!
He took us around to show his classrooms and meet his teachers. I was thinking we would wait until AFTER class was over right? No, the teacher stopped everything and welcomed us in the classroom. Everyone clapped and giggled as Jerson showed us where he sat. I was so embarrassed to have interrupted the class! But the teacher was so friendly and didn’t seem to mind.
Jerson is doing well in most of his classes except English. He missed a couple of exams and didn’t turn in a project. Nonie suspects the reason may be that he has needed to use his project money to help his family put food on the table. Jerson is also dropped a bit in weight, which means he is probably not getting full meals each day. When I heard that, my heart sank. I was reminded of the reality some of these kids face.
Nonie said he will continue to monitor the situation and make appropriate adjustments to the allowance as needed. We also met with the guidance counselor who will help monitor his grades and projects this next trimester.
One thing that I am sure of after spending time with Jerson is that he is really excited to be in school and grateful for the opportunity. He assured us he will do his very best and you know what? I believe he will.
Please keep him and his family’s needs in your prayers. And stay tuned for a very positive update after this trimester!