For children who have been blessed with a comfortable life, the “poor” is often synonymous to people needing dole outs or charitable assistance. The Immersion Outreach Program conducted by many private schools today seek to change this thinking through real social involvement. By immersion, students are expected to realize that they too can gain something from interacting with the less fortunate.
Immersion Outreach Program
If to immerse means to involve one’s self deeply in a particular activity and outreach means to provide services to a population who might not otherwise have access to such services, then what exactly is an Immersion Outreach Program? An Immersion Outreach Program as proposed by St. Scholastica’s College, one of the schools in the country known to be preferred by affluent families for their children, is a program of social involvement that aims to provide students with a working knowledge of the various sectors of the less fortunate. It seeks to provide a real face to the “poor”, destroying the image that this sector can only receive and not give.
More Than the Usual Christmas Drive
An Immersion Outreach Program is easily confused with activities similar to a Christmas Drive where donors bearing gifts would come visiting the recipients, spending a few hours talking with them, probably with some entertainment that will make the occasion a happy one for everybody. Immersion seeks to go further as it encourages donors and outreach participants to dig deeper into understanding what the less fortunate really needs for them to be self-sustaining and independent. In turn, immersion outreach program participants end up helping themselves as well in the process by learning to be more responsive and sensitive to the needs of the marginalized sectors of society. Having more access to resources than these sectors should make them realize the responsibility that comes with such privilege.
My two younger children have been participating in Immersion Outreach Programs as facilitated by their school. They either go to the designated place or children from the chosen sector goes to their school for the scheduled activity. I noticed that they have become more appreciative of what we have even though we can never equal the living standards of their rich classmates and friends. I would always remind them that no one can be so poor as not to be able to give anything. Proof of this are DSWD Programs that encourages out-of-school youths with a family income not beyond the poverty threshold to participate in Immersion Outreach Programs to help others for a stipend.
In the advocacy to raise children who are socially involved, no matter the economic standing, participating in immersion outreach programs is necessary because it provides face to face interaction and not merely data to be reviewed and studied from afar.