2013 NATIONAL VOLUNTEER AWARDEE TO JOIN the 46TH Ship for Southeast Asian and Japanese Youth Program (SSEAYP)
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14 October 2019 2013 NATIONAL VOLUNTEER AWARDEE TO JOIN the 46TH Ship for Southeast Asian and Japanese Youth Program (SSEAYP)

Written by: Kenneth C. Siruelo

Mr. Mark Conrad R. Ravanzo, the co-founder and leader of I Am MAD (Making a Difference), a network of young volunteers advocating to uplift the lives of Filipino children was chosen along with twenty-six (26) other representatives from all over the country to represent the Philippines in the 46th Ship for Southeast Asian and Japanese Youth Program (SSEAYP). The program is a diplomatic-cultural event which brings together youth representatives from ASEAN member states and Japan, providing them with the unique opportunity to live together on board the ship MS Nippon Maru as it cruises through Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Myanmar and Malaysia for 52 days from 23 October to 13 December 2019.

“Maco” as he is fondly called was born and raised in Lamitan, Basilan. His experience of growing up without his father who has been missing since 1988 due to a military assignment and his desire to fill up this sense of being incomplete motivated him to reach out to children and make them feel that they are loved.

Mr. Ravanzo started volunteering in school-based organizations in 2007 at the age of 19. As a member of the Claret Youth Ministry and Red Cross Youth in Zamboanga, he saw the importance of what a volunteer can do. He realized that a simple gesture like a hug can have a deeper meaning to an orphaned child.

With I Am MAD, he organized literacy projects in coordination with the schools, parishes, and local government units (LGUs) in Kalinga, Sarangani, Tarlac, Cagayan, Bulacan, Batangas, La Union, North Cotabato, Romblon, Basilan, Davao City and Zamboanga City and other areas all over the country. Aside from the literacy projects, Maco also organizes gift-giving activities with toy and shoe drives for Muslim children in Basilan and Zamboanga during the Christmas season under the Batang Iskolar Program of I Am MAD.

In 2013, Maco was selected as a national awardee of the annual Search for Outstanding Volunteers (SOV) under the Individual-Youth Category. The SOV is conducted by the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA), in cooperation with the National Volunteer Month (NVM) Steering Committee in recognition of the outstanding achievements of volunteers, groups and organizations, including corporate volunteering initiatives.

The PNVSCA and the entire volunteer community congratulates Mr. Mark Conrad R. Ravanzo for this once in a lifetime opportunity and may you encourage your fellow youths to embrace volunteerism as a tool for peace, equality, understanding and development.

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