Members of Girl Scout Troop 3579 met with Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. at the Philippine embassy in Washington D.C. In the photo from left to right are Katarina Endom, Emily Bui, Kaylee Dembroski, Summer Doleman, and Hailey Sebastian. Photo by Majalya Fernando
MANILA, Philippines - Two Filipino girl scouts from Maryland led efforts to raise funds for the victims of super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in the Philippines.
Girl Scout Troop 3579 from Ronald Mc Nair Elementary School in Germantown, Maryland initially wanted to help one of their member's relatives in Tacloban, but this was expanded to include other Haiyan victims.
"Two members of our troop are Filipino -- Amanda and myself. We initially thought of just helping her family, but eventually, it became a troop mission to do what we can to help out those who have lost not only their homes, but also loved ones,” said girl scout Hailey Sebastian, a first-generation Filipino-American.
Several members of the girl scout troop last month visited the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. to turn over the $500 they raised for Haiyan relief efforts. The embassy turned over the funds to the US Philippines Society.
The 5th graders raised the funds by holding various activities such as a bake sale, selling Girl Scout cookies and a basket-making workshop.
“We had our Fall Fundraiser where we sold candies to earn money. We did our famous girl scout cookie booth. We sold many boxes of cookies to earn money. Our biggest fundraiser was a basket making workshop and bake sale our troop put on. All our fundraisers were fun,” said girl scout Katarina Endom.
The troop also helped raise awareness of the Philippines and Haiyan, which killed thousands and flattened many towns in the Visayas last November.
“With all our efforts, we raised an astounding $500 to go towards hurricane relief. We also created much awareness among people who will help out even more. We worked hard and tried our best, but we couldn't have done it without our troop leader, Ms. Endom and our parents who volunteer all the time," she said.
Sebastian, whose parents are Filipino, said she wants to learn more about Philippine culture.
"I am a first-generation Filipino-American and I want to learn more about the culture and the people, apart from what my parents have taught me. They are proud of where they came from, which they have always shared with us children. I hope to know and learn more," she said.
Philippine Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia thanked the members of Troop 3579 and commended the members, their parents, and their troop leader for their hard work.
"On behalf of the government and the people of the Philippines, I would like to thank you for what you have done to help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. What you have done — going out of your way to help people you don't even know — is indeed commendable. I would also like to commend your parents and troop leader for the good job they have done instilling in you values that are important in the youth today," Cuisia said.
Girl Scout Troop 3579 is composed of Tara Ahmad, Emily Bui, Emma Carrai, Amanda Catipon, Alexis Cheng, Kaylee Dembroski, Summer Doleman, Katarina Endom, Vivian Li, Hailey Sebastian, and Christina Sinor, and troop leader Ileana Endom.