Enabling dreams: Trainer coaches the youth into making a difference

Meg Pio de Roda

Posted at Jan 24 2022 05:32 PM | Updated as of Jan 24 2022 09:37 PM

“Hindi nakakain ang panaginip.”

(Your dream can't put food on the table.)

It may come as a surprise that only a single discouraging line in a sea of countless positive ones is enough to shatter an aspiration completely and prevent any others from ever developing. Personal dreams are often noted for being invaluable and compelling, but their fragility often goes unregarded.

Dream Reasons

This was evidenced by a 9-year study conducted by non-profit initiative Dream Project PH founder Prim Paypon, who, after interviewing 614 students from 54 Philippine provinces, found that, of every 10 Filipino teenagers, 8 did not have a dream in life. 

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Such findings show that, though there is no limit or cost to doing so, dreaming is a privilege held by those fortunate enough to grow up with the proper environment, role models, and resources. 

Surprisingly, however, the discouraging words of others topped lack of passion, lack of self-esteem, lack of opportunity, and even poverty on the list of the students’ cited reasons. 

“I used to be told ‘You can’t,’ especially when I was only a little girl. I really kept it to heart because of how much it hurt me,” said Denise, 16, when asked in an emailed questionnaire I sent about being discouraged from creating and pursuing her dreams.

In 2018, corporate trainer Mr. Boris Joaquin, acknowledging the power simple conversations have in altering the course of a person’s life, founded Project Purpose with the goal of helping others “discover their purpose, design their lives around that purpose, determine their destination, and deliver their promise for a better society.”

Believing that “those who truly lead are [those] able to create a following of people who act, not because they were swayed, but because they were inspired,” Project Purpose has been able to make use of teaching videos, free eBooks, purpose and leadership programs, and virtual workshops as means to inspire participants— some of whom have gone on to “[start] their own businesses,” “[shift] careers,” or [pursue] higher studies.” 

One such effort was the launching of the virtual 4-session Ken Blanchard’s Self-Leadership workshop, dedicated to teaching high school and college students how “to set goals properly, overcome their assumed constraints, and identify their development levels towards their identified goals.”

Setting not only goals, but goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (S.M.A.R.T.), have countless benefits that include but are not limited to increased clarity, focus, and productivity, as well as the ability to better set priorities, make decisions, and consistently
develop as a person. 

“[My set goals] have helped me to learn from both good and bad experiences, embrace support from my family and friends, and seek joy in the journey of making my dreams come true,” said Niccolo, 16, in response to my emailed questions. 

“It is knowing who I plan to be later on that gives me a sense of direction and motivates me to… achieve it, no matter the challenges along the way,” Axene, 17, said in her response. 

“I don’t really have a solid ‘step-by-step’ plan…," said Ella, 16. "But I guess it all starts with being fully aware of myself— my strengths, my weaknesses, the things I enjoy, and those I don’t. By knowing myself, I would be able to have a clear sense of direction and make the right choices.” 

It is the countless Filipino youths like Ella that Mr. Joaquin hopes to reach out to, and after almost four years since the founding of Project Purpose, he hopes to reach out to more people and inspire them into fulfilling their dreams. 

“With more funding, we would go on a roadshow all across the country. From one public school to another,” he shared. For 2022, however, his goal is to “reach 100 schools or organisations and teach at least 1000 young people about Project Purpose. We would also like to reach out to at least 10,000 individuals through media exposures.”

Boris Joaquin teaching at a Project Purpose workshop. Handout
Boris Joaquin teaching at a Project Purpose workshop. Handout

During mentorship sessions, Mr. Joaquin enjoys asking participants, “If you lived according to your purpose, what would happen? What difference would you make in the world?” 

The continued progression of the various responses received throughout the years--from simple ideas to awe-inspiring realities--is surely something to look forward to in the future of Project Purpose, as local initiatives like
these are what constitute the foundation for a future wherein all Filipino countrymen, regardless of background and socioeconomic status, may set their sights on brighter futures and work towards their goals both consistently and effectively.

(Editor's note: Meg Pio de Roda is a high school junior who enjoys using her passion for reading and writing to explore the fields of environmental science, history, and sociology.) 

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(Editor's note: Meg Pio de Roda is a high school junior who enjoys using her passion for reading and writing to explore the fields of environmental science, history, and sociology.)