New Jersey Fil-Am group wins Bayaning Pilipino Award for humanitarian work
REDWOOD CITY, California — The Filipino-American Community Development Center of Ocean County (FCDC) was given a Bayaning Pilipino Award by The Filipino Channel during its 20th Anniversary Gala, for making “visible strides” in helping improve their homeland after the destructive Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan, as well as the Filipino community in Ocean County, New Jersey.
“The award only strengthens our resolve as it validates the hard work of our members,” said Dr. Ramon Suatengco, president FCDC. “It is an honor and privilege for our organization, the Filipino American Community Development Center of Ocean County, New Jersey, to be chosen as an awardee for the Bayaning Pilipino Award. More work can be done and many kababayans can be helped.”
The Filipino community of Ocean County and beyond took part in a massive relief effort to collect goods and cash to send to typhoon victims. Some 80 balikbayan boxes were sent by the FCDC to the Philippines. Cash donations were split between Sagip Kapamilya, Habitat Humanity and religious organizations.
But typhoon relief is just one of the FCDC’s activities. Joji Babuschak, who is a board member of FCDC and an entertainment producer, said, “We accomplished all of our goals in four specific ways — sow, root, grow and branch.”
The organization opened a community center that serves as an “institute of kinship, tradition and love for the Philippines.” Its standing mission is to create a safe place for Fil-Ams to unite and give back to the community — “a home away from home” that promotes Filipino history while encouraging education. It wants to assimilate Filipinos and the culture into local American communities.
The organization established FACES, a children and youth program, which stands for Filipino American Cultural Enrichment School. The class is focused on teaching youth Filipino tradition, customs and practices in addition to century-old folk dances.
Babuschak said, “We all try to look back at our roots, being Filipinos in our second home the United States. We aim to promote culture and heritage at culture and we try to encapsulate these values through our events and activities and to become better citizens of the US.”
Suatengco concluded, “FCDC will always work hard to improve itself as an organization. A lot of focus will be on building FACES and making it widely available so children can learn Filipino culture. As we provide a needed resource for our Fil Am kababayans, FCDC will continue to work towards building a community center. As FCDC continues to grow, we look forward to collaborating with Philippine organizations that can help in line with our objectives. After all , the Bayanihan Spirit should be kept alive.”
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