David and Chelsea – Iligan, Mindanao, the Philippines

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Formation coordinators with Life Project for Youth.

Follow David and Chelsea on their blog: “Hear us”

“We are currently serving on the southern island of Mindanao in the Philippines.

In the small city of Iligan, our mission is to guide and coach deaf youth (17-24 years old) as part of the NGO, Life Project for Youth (LP4Y).  As coaches for the Hear Us! Program, we facilitate general knowledge training, English training, and guide each youth to success for his or her life project plan.  Many of these youth are very poor and received little education as children, but all have been excluded from society or even their own families due to a lack of communication during their childhood.

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We are still improving our sign language, but can communicate fairly effectively (although a little slow). We haven’t learned much of the local language yet, as our focus is on communicating with the deaf above all. In addition to the pedagogy of LP4Y (which is very organized), we are trying to focus on team building, growing personal values, and controlling emotions to communicate effectively. A few weeks ago, we pretended to be deaf for about 24 hours, and it really made me realize how frustrating communication can be with hearing people or other deaf.

In addition to the Hear Us! House, we also coordinate a program for youth in the city jail.  Twice a week, we visit the jail and provide training to develop entrepreneurial and English language skills in the inmates.  Upon release, we remain engaged with these youth to provide support and guidance toward their life project plan.  This program is very new so we are excited to expand the program and do more to assist these youth with a transition to working life.

LP4Y attempts to make each program self-sustainable and a model for entrepreneurial success.  To do this, each program operates an economic activity, such as the encoding business operated by the Hear Us! Program.  We are also in the process of starting a Filipino style jewelry-making business within the Iligan City Jail.  The jail warden is very enthusiastic about life development projects, which makes our job easy. ”

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