Catholic homeschool group encourages kids to be ‘little saints on a mission’
One of the ROCKERS’ regular events is their annual Halloween or All Saints’ Day celebration.
By CBCP News
October 31, 2019
What can young kids do to make a difference in the lives of those in need? “Plenty!” said ROCKERS Philippines co-founder Tina Santiago Rodriguez.
ROCKERS, which stands for “Roman Catholics Keeping Education Real,” is a support group for Catholics who are homeschooling, have homeschooled, or are “afterschooling” their kids.
Every year since 2011, ROCKERS families gather during different times of the year for events that help them grow in their Catholic faith. One such event is their annual Halloween or All Saints’ Day celebration.
“We started celebrating Halloween/All Saints’ Day together in 2011, with our kids dressed as saints or Biblical characters. They usually play saint-themed games, too, and every family is encouraged to bring ‘saint-themed’ snacks for sharing,” Rodriguez said.
The annual Halloween/All Saints’ Day celebration became one of the most highly anticipated ROCKERS events of the year, and in 2016, the group was inspired to put a more meaningful “twist” to it.
“The Holy Spirit inspired us to do a ‘reversal’ to the usual trick or treating that Halloween is associated with,” she said.
Instead of the kids getting treats for themselves, they—and their parents—packed treats or goodies for children beneficiaries identified by the Saint Arnold Janssen KALINGA Center in Tayuman, Manila.
Rodriguez said that the participating families’ responses were so encouraging that the group decided to continue doing “saintly deeds” every Hallowtide. From 2017 up to the present, they would gather together for their “Little Saints on a Mission” activities.
“For the past two years, and with our event held last October 29, we collaborated with ‘Project: Brave Kids,’ a community of volunteers helping children with cancer at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center in Quezon City,” she said. “The participating kids pack bags for 100 beneficiaries, i.e. kids with cancer.”
The co-founders of Project: Brave Kids, Paul and Sigrid Perez, are actually also Catholic homeschoolers.
“We source donations — cash or in-kind — from amongst our personal networks so that we can get the ‘treats’ that our homeschooled kids pack,” Rodriguez said.
“By God’s grace, for the past three years, we have been blessed with generous donors. We are truly grateful to all of them! Whatever cash left over is donated directly to Project: Brave Kids. We are also blessed to partner with The Parenting Emporium, a social enterprise that hosts our events for free,” she added.
This year’s ‘treats’ for the Project: Brave Kids beneficiaries included rosaries, school supplies, juice packs, biscuits, healthy snack items from Komida Foods, alcohol, bandaids, and Vpharma health supplements for the kids with cancer and their beneficiaries.
“These items may be ‘easy to get’ for most of us, but for our beneficiaries, they can already be a huge blessing,” Rodriguez emphasizes. “Every bit of help counts.”
Prior to the packing of items, the participating kids have a “saints parade,” sing and pray together, and then listen to a short “pep talk” on the importance of being “living saints” here on earth.
“It’s our hope and prayer that our kids will remember to do acts of kindness not just during activities or events like this but every day, wherever they are,” Rodriguez also said.If you’re interested in holding your own “Little Saints on a Mission” activity for your group or parish and need some tips on how to start, please feel free to contact Tina Santiago Rodriguez via firstname.lastname@example.org