(A Cebuano term which means to set one’s foot; make step; step)

I am Rashel De La Torre. I am 30 years old. I am a graduate of Bachelor in Elementary Education. Currently, I am working as a full-time teacher at Calabrian Formation School, in Taytay, Rizal.

As I remember, I arrived in CCF in the year 2005. I stayed there for 7 years.

The difficulties that my family experienced started when my father passed away. Our clan of siblings became separated because at home, we did not have enough food to eat. My other siblings lived with my uncles and aunties whose houses were located in different places.

Time arrived when my mother wanted to look for my other siblings. We searched and searched until we reached Cagayan de Oro City. When we arrived in that city, we knew nobody else. We were homeless. Left with no choice, we slept on the streets. In order for us to survive, we collected plastic and other goods we scavenged from the streets.

Despite the difficulty that we were going through, my mother was still persistent that we, her children, should be in school like other ordinary children. According to her, education is a treasure that can never be stolen by anyone else. It was our only way out of poverty.

To realize my mother’s dream of sending us to school, we reached out to one center. However, that time, that center could not support our schooling. Since my mother was firm in her desire to give us education, the center finally referred us to Calabrian Children’s Foundation – the children’s center which was for me, an answered prayer.

I am so blessed to know the Calabrian Family because it made me a complete and a whole person. It was here where I experienced having a family to lean on whatever will happen. It is in CCF where a person will be formed into a good person, good citizen, and a good Christian.

When I was in the foundation, we were provided with a timetable that we followed. This training was really helpful for me. It trained me to manage my time better like getting to do my daily chores. Now that I am already working and living alone, I can see more clearly the benefits of such training that I received.

In the foundation, I felt that I was loved, healed, and freed. Such experiences made me strong and capable to carry out decision-makings on my own. The way that the foundation nurtured me, made me who I am right now. They helped me to become courageous in any endeavors of life.

Since I am well-trained in the foundation, I now bravely face any circumstances that come to my life. It may, at times, be difficult, but I believe, I can surpass it all. CCF prepared me for the real battles of life which is why I am and will always be grateful to my CCF family for the role they portrayed in my life.

My message to CCF kids:

Open your heart and mind to follow the rules inside the foundation. Life is hard so don’t be contented of what you have right now. Think for tomorrow and for your future. I have been in your situation so I am encouraging you not to stop dreaming. Have faith in God and pray always.

With all the problems that came into my life, it took only one ONE STEP in order for me to surpass it all. For sure, you can do the same.