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New Zealand-Philippines Scot Foundation marks 5th Anniversary and thanksgiving in Auckland

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As the Philippine Embassy endeavours to reach out and be one with the Filipino community especially in celebrating milestone events, Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez, Philippine Honorary Consul General Paulo Garcia and Philippine Honorary Vice-Consul Virginia Russell joined the 5th anniversary and thanksgiving gala dinner of the New Zealand-Philippines Street Children and Orphans Trust (SCOT) on 28 November 2014 at the Grasshopper Thai Cuisine, Stamford Plaza Hotel in Auckland. SCOT was formed in 2009 to pursue its GOD-given mission and vision with passion and dedication to take care and uplift the lives of the Filipino street children and orphans and empower Asian migrant children in New Zealand through various activities and assistance programmes. Its Board of Trustees composed of Ms. Nanette Carillo, CEO, Mr. Mike De Boer, Executive Director, Dr. Cecil Aquino, Mr. Mauto Oreta and Patrick Pardo and its 230 volunteers in the Philippines and New Zealand, supporters, sponsors and friends were commended as they continue to demonstrate the spirit of selflessness, sacrificial service, exemplary volunteerism and heart-warming generosity to contribute and help the hundreds of orphans and children who are at-risk on the streets of the Philippines as well as in their homes.

The presence and support of Hon. Melissa Lee, National Member of Parliament and Parliamentary Private Secretary for Ethnic Affairs and guests from different organizations, groups, business councils and communities from the Philippines, New Zealand and other countries spoke volumes of the caring, sharing and giving spirit that was behind SCOT’s celebratory evening and one that bound everyone in the collective resolve to help the most vulnerable among children and youth.

Ambassador Benavidez put the spotlight on SCOT’s amazing, admirable and praiseworthy accomplishments for the first five years which capture concretely and tangibly GOD’s heartbeat and the Biblical exhortations for the poor, the orphans, the weak and the needy, knowing how precious they are to GOD and how strongly and deeply GOD loves them. These are conduct of literacy and numeracy programme for street children before their enrollment in schools, provision of school supplies to 614 children every year, scholarship for three university students taking bachelor degrees in 2014, feeding programmes to twelve SCOT Hope Learning Centres in the Philippines, assistance to migrants’ children through language communication programmes, milk giving to Filipino children and families in New Zealand, Daily Vacation Bible School, Literacy Programme for Migrants’ children in Auckland, Breakfast Club programme for primary school in West Auckland, annual Christmas Gift Giving in the Philippines and fundraising concerts, medical and clothing assistance, among others. As a result, SCOT continues to contribute to breaking the cycle of poverty and serve as a catalyst of positive change and holistic approach for the empowerment for the next generation of Filipino youth and a platform for a life of significance and growth to allow its beneficiaries to reach their full potential.

Member of Parliament Melissa Lee thanked SCOT for inviting her to be part of the special occasion and lauded the exemplary efforts and programmes of SCOT to help make a distinctive and practical difference in the lives of orphans and children in need. She conveyed deep appreciation to the Board of Trustees, Directors, supporters, volunteers and all those involved in SCOT Foundation’s activities and services for migrant children in New Zealand and those in the Philippines which made SCOT a recipient of several local awards, Local Hero Medal, Torch Bearer Award, certificates of achievement for New Zealander of the Year nominee, and a nomination for the 2014 Presidential Lingkod sa Kapwa Pilipino (LINGKAPIL) award conferred on Filipino associations or individuals for their exceptional or significant contribution to reconstruction, progress and development in the Philippines.

It was a meaningful and memorable evening as Ms. Nanette Carillo, CEO of SCOT Foundation warmly welcomed all the guests and reiterated the unending gratitude to the SCOT Board, Directors, supporters, sponsors, volunteers and everyone who continues to be part of SCOT’s remarkable journey of faith, sacrifices and commitment for the welfare and well-being of our children who belong to the next generation of citizens and who deserve a much brighter and better future and a more secure and stable tomorrow. Mr. Mike De Boer gave a touching and heartwarming presentation of SCOT, its accomplishments, challenges and opportunities for the development and empowerment of children and the youth. Mr. Patrick Pardo, member of SCOT’s Board of Trustees ably steered the raffle draw and auction which raised a substantial amount for SCOT’s programmes. Much applauded song numbers were rendered by Fr. Elric Jorquia, fondly called “The Singing Priest”, Kaythe, Ina and Shane (K.I.S.), Mr. Russell Siyangco, Ms. Kharamia Enriquez and Ms. Alice Howden. The closing remarks were delivered by Mr. Mauro Oreta, member of SCOT’s Board of Trustees.

Plaques and Certificates of Appreciation were given to SCOT’s Supporters and Volunteers. As Ambassador Benavidez stated, “Let us all continue supporting beyond measure SCOT's projects and programmes for the empowerment of our children and youth. The Philippines' national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal has proclaimed loudly and clearly "Ang kabataan ay ang pag-asa ng ating bayan". The youth are the hope of our Motherland. May the Filipinos’ renowned and proven spirit of “bayanihan” (togetherness and volunteerism) and outpouring of kindness and generosity from Filipinos, New Zealanders and people from other countries, very much evident in the New Zealand-Philippines SCOT Charitable Trust continue to be engraved in our hearts and minds.”

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