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Features: Of VIBES and VIRTUES: Volunteers Involved in Barangay Empowerment Services

Being part of the Thomasian Nursing Community takes more than just carrying the seal of par excellence in the fields of academics, sports, arts and professional performance. Beyond the UST College of Nursing’s colorful streak of distinctions lie the members’ zeal and heart for community service, mentors and students alike.

Last June 2008, a team of community advocates, well-represented by the student body, faculty, non-faculty and administration members, conceptualized and pioneered a movement that aspired to rekindle the spirit of community service and altruism in the College. The team was headed by newly-appointed Community Service Coordinator Mr. Earl Francis Sumile RN, MAN. It brought about the commencement of the illustrious V.I.B.E.S Tayo! or Volunteers Involved in Barangay Empowerment Services. Together with Mr. Sumile were Mr. Gian Carlo Torres RN, MAN, Ms. Brenda Luy RN, Mr. Ritzmond Loa RN, Mrs. Ma. Victoria Bongar RN, Ms. Selenne Santiago, Ms. Melanie Turingan MA, Mrs. Eleanore Lerma RN, MAN, Mr. Irish Arvin Garcia RN, Mr. Robel Dabandan RN, and Ms. Maila Relos.

VIBES Tayo! is the official community development movement of the UST College of Nursing. This movement aims to mobilize the members of the College to become part of the VIBES team and a participant in the different community development programs organized by the core group. “We want to mobilize Thomasian Nursing students, faculty and even the non-faculty members to get involved in community development programs and to be able to practice charity in theology and carry out compassion as taught in Nursing”, Mr. Sumile said. 

VIBES membership doesn’t require a tedious process. It only takes one’s effort, time and heart for volunteerism to get qualified in this movement. The students, faculty and non-faculty volunteers commit in this movement to bring about changes in the college’s partner-communities in Marilao, Bulacan, namely Brgy. Santa Rosa Dos, Tibagan and Brgy. 4B Northville, Lambakin, by implementing different programs that would generate independence among the people and assist in providing sustainable development.

During its 1st year, VIBES was able to successfully execute a multitude of programs for the College’s partner-communities. A few of these programs are “Pulong-Tulong sa Pagsulong”, “Kape at Pandasal”, Barangay Health Workers’ Training Recollection and the memorable “Binyagan sa Barangay”.

After 17 months since its foundation in the College, VIBES has truly gone far-off as expected. A list of programs was successfully pulled off during the 1st half of the academic year. VIBES opened the year with SYNERGIZE, a program that brought the leaders of both community and the College of Nursing student organizations together to develop a matrix of programs, inclined to address the immediate needs of the community. After SYNERGIZE, the VIBES team in collaboration with PAX ROMANA-Nursing Unit and the Faculty of Philosophy Student Council opened the Block Rosary that aimed to strengthen the spirituality of the members of the community. 

After a flourishing start for our partner communities came a tragic ricochet caused by typhoon Ondoy. The “9-26 incident” literally hit not only the Metro by storm, but also nearby provinces around the area. After seeing the need for more relief for our brothers and sisters living in different Ondoy hotspots, the VIBES team, in cooperation with the Nursing Central Board of Students (NCBS), organized a relief operation for Barangay 4B Northville, Lambakin, Marilao, Bulacan and for our co-Thomasians as well. VIBES was able to deliver a total of 1,700 relief goods to the families of Brgy. Lambakin.

Besides the mission to imbibe the spirit of charity among its members, VIBES spearheaded two medical missions for the different communities in Bulacan. The first one was in cooperation with the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery Student Council (FMS-SC) while the latter tagged Prophylaxis: A Call to Health Awareness. The said project was a joint effort of the NCBS, the VIBES team and the volunteer doctors namely Dr. Jude Guiang, Dr. Charito Malong-Francisco, Dr. Jesus Lerma, Dr. Kirby Navarete, and Dr. Voltaire Garcia. 

Joining the VIBES core group this academic year (2009-2010) are Prof. Elmer Hibek Ph.D, Mr. John Vincent Ignacio MA, NCBS Asst. Treasurer Royce Jasper Ong, and NCBS Socio-Civic Committee Head. Francis Cervantes.

Our journey as a Nursing community towards excellent health care delivery is never bound within the limits of the quality of education, research and facilities we have. We hold on to our ideals and continue to serve as springboards of change, of charity, of Christianity and of good “VIBES”—not just for ourselves or for the University, but also for the betterment of the community. 

By Nielson Dane D. Gustilo


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