By: Cris Evert B. Lato-Ruffolo October 12,2018 - 09:40 PM


My fellow Basadours — members of the non-profit organization that advocates love of reading through storytelling — are spending time in the City of Naga this month to read stories, make music and play games with children and students, who are directly and indirectly affected by the tragic landslide.

The last two sessions were held at the CEPOC Central Elementary School last October 4 and 11.

Today (October 13), the Basadours will be at the Naga National High School.

The October 20 and 27 sessions will be held at the Enan Chiong Activity Center and Naga Central School, respectively.

To organize the monthlong sessions in Naga is a miracle of time management and resource allocation since the Basadours — although a non-profit organization since mid-2017 — is operated solely by volunteers.

The volunteers are mostly young professionals who have full-time jobs and responsibilities and yet still make time to wear funny hats to read stories to children.

I look at my fellow Basadours and I am inspired to be a better version of myself because they exude passion and commitment.

I yearn to write the national hero, Jose Rizal, back with the words, ”We’re right here,” in response to, ”Where are the youth who will consecrate their golden hours, their illusions, and their enthusiasm to the welfare of their native land?” which he asked in the novel El Filibusterismo.

There was a lady with the Facebook name “Dhee Vhee” who left us a message in our official page about the possibility of the Basadours extending help to the children in Naga through storytelling sessions.

We were looking for a contact then in one of the evacuation centers and Dhee Vhee’s message came at the right time.

She eventually connected us to public school teacher, Donnah Teresa Cabaca, who has since been our main contact in organizing the sessions.

The usage of books in treating mental and psychological disorders falls under a generic term: bibliotherapy.

Several studies point to the benefits of utilizing bibliotherapy in addressing the specific needs of each student in the fields of problem solving and self-awareness.

I wish we have the time and the resources to do this for an extended period — at least for one year — and conduct a study about the impact of these sessions.

This remains in the list of tasks that I seek to accomplish for the community through the Basadours.

The Naga storytelling sessions was shaped in less than a week after the Basadours elected the Executive Committee directors last September 29 in a ceremony held at the Cebu City Museum with Louella “Tita Loy” Alix as our inducting officer and guest of honor.

She was joined by the love of her life, Tito Rudy.

We had a personal and heartfelt General Assembly and Induction Ceremony at the Cebu City Museum.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Cebu City government through the Cebu Historical Affairs Commission and the Cebu City Public Library for the support and assistance.

Councilor Margot Osmeña, Annabeth Cuizon, Jess dela Cruz, Ruth Chua and the CCPL staff, Mike Braga and Bryner Diaz, daghang salamat!

The story of the Basadours is one that I will never grow tired of retelling.

This is because the bond that connects each storyteller in the group is filled with passion and service.

We started our transition as a non-profit, SEC-registered organization for a year now.

We are still encountering birth pains from this transformation.

We have a Board of Trustees, in which I sit as chairperson.

The Execom Directors lead the Volunteer Corps, which is, to be truly honest, is the heart that pumps the blood in our operations.

We have been truly blessed with partners such as Jollibee, led by Nelson Judaya and Leah Sausa, for being like our extended family members.

Jollibee has been extra generous in providing meals for our barangay and library sessions as well as in our General Assembly provisions.

On September 29, a Mommy chef, Kria Padilla Roleda, who runs Mary Muffins, gifted us with literary-theme cupcakes and cake which inspired us more to discuss activities that will make the children and the community happy.

Looking back, the Basadours started out as a group of volunteer storytellers who read value-laden stories to children at the Cebu City Public Library.

We have lawyers, nurses, teachers, writers, photographers, artists, students, engineers, communicators, entrepreneurs, librarians, among others, in our circle.

We hope to expand that circle. Let us know if you are willing to be part of it.

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