Article by: Danielle Limcaoco

Enter Mr. Hall’s room, and observe the group of 20 young boys in crisp, white shirts, munching on Christmas tree sugar cookies –their grinning mouths covered with rainbows sprinkles.  These children from SPECS’s Home for Boys participated in this year’s SPECS ICARE. This ICARE site lasted for two days, and in each day seniors collaborated to create meaningful workshops that the kids would enjoy such as activities ranging from dancing, karaoke-ing, indoor competitions, sports, art, to board games.

In the dance station, the children ocho-ochoed, jumped along to Pitbull’s “Timber,” and swirled in graceful circles with Frozen’s “Let it Go”, playing in the background. After following these steps choreographed by Kesina Kum and Lillian Chong, the children rested by playing a relaxed game of Musical Chairs.

In the karaoke station, Janna Santos and Rom Villarica helped the children find their individual voices to belt out the classic Filipino love songs. Although their harmonies were continually disrupted by their bursts of laughter, the SPECS children were always quick to recover and pick up from where they left off.

In the Loft House, Sean Myers created his own version of Duck Duck Goose, titled “Itlog Itlog Balut” – this quirky twist ensured that the children would enjoy themselves whilst running around in the spacious room.

At the gym, Catherine Kelly, Matt Sicat, and Mavie Cruz spearheaded many games such as basketball and volleyball with the children.  Mavie said, “Watching the children’s faces light up as they stepped into the gym was a revelation for me – they played with our tennis balls, dodge balls, like they were spheres of gold.”

In the art stations, Christina Park, Bianca Cartera, and Erin O’Reilly honed the children’s creative abilities by helping them spread glitter, cut out shapes, and doodle with markers on plain white tube socks.  Each child left the station with a colorful and personalized sock puppet from the unique and festive activity that perfectly matched the synergy of the ICARE site!

        In the board game station, Aaron Sobel scattered “Make ‘n’ Break” blocks on the plastic white table, dotted scrabble tiles all around, and laid pencils flat on Pictionary Notebooks. According to him, “These children collaborated actively and engaged deeply with each game.”

SPECS ICARE was an enthralling experience for both the ISM students and the SPECS children not only for the various donations that ISM was able to give them – books, toys, clothes, water bottles, and even cans of coke – but also for the resonating passion everyone invested into each workshop. Although it may be months before we are able to see these children again, the experiences and bonds we formed helped to strengthen the inextricable bond between ISM and SPECS.