A special chance to perform humanitarian deeds is always presented by Christmas, a time of joy and giving. During this joyous season, a great number of people demonstrate their generosity by contributing to a variety of worthy causes. The genuine spirit of Christmas is embodied when people band together to improve the lives of those in need, whether via charitable contributions, volunteer work, or planning neighborhood projects. 

One of the key factors in enhancing the situation of the less fortunate and encouraging constructive change in communities is outreach initiatives. These programs aim to close gaps and provide opportunities for growth and development while lending a helping hand to individuals in need. 

In light of this, under the direction of Training Center Superintendent II, Dr. Rolando V. Maningas, the staff of DA-ATI CALABARZON was in full force to surprise and bring happiness to those people with special needs who are under the care of Cottolengo Filipino, Inc., last December 20, 2023. 

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Cottolengo Filipino, Inc. located in Rodriguez, Rizal, is home to 36 individuals with special needs who were either abandoned, neglected, or surrendered to the institution. In addition to being a place of residence, the adoption hub offers medical care, rehabilitation services, and special education opportunities. DA ATI CALABARZON in collaboration with Inspiring Champion Mountaineers (ICM), the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist of Rizal (OPA), and the Office of the Municipal Agriculturist of Rodriguez (OMA) have started the project "Halamanan sa Bahay-Kalinga" and provided various extension interventions to the orphanage since 2022.   

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During the outreach program, the Cottolengo Filipino, Inc. as part of their gracious greeting to the staff of DA-ATI CALABARZON, showcased the different components of the facility.  This allowed the staff to see firsthand the living conditions of the teens and young adults who consider the orphanage as their “home”. Following that, the residents together with the management and staff of DA-ATI CALABARZON performed gardening activities, where resident kids actively demonstrated the skills and knowledge they had learned from the trainings provided by the Center.   

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To continue the Christmas spirit, the Center hosted a short gift-giving program. Dr. Maningas formally handed over the cash prize earned during the 1st Regional Research and Innovation Week wherein "Halamanan sa Bahay-Kalinga: An Extension Innovation on Inclusivity and Empowerment," was awarded 2nd place in the Best Extension Project category. Fr. Julio Cuesta Ortega, FDP, President and Executive Director of Cottolengo Filipino, Inc., gratefully received the said cash prize. Additionally, the housing facility obtained other Christmas gifts from DA-ATI CALABARZON that they can utilize for everyday necessities.  

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Also included in the day-long event, the Center conducted benchmarking and met the staff of the several divisions of the DA-ATI Central Office. They also took the opportunity to have a courtesy call with Director Remelyn R. Recoter and Deputy Director Antonieta J. Arceo. DA-ATI CALABARZON capped off the day with a fellowship activity to celebrate the challenges and triumphs they encountered in 2023 at the ATI Training Hall in Trece Martires City, Cavite.  

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Dr. Maningas is steadfast in his commitment for DA-ATI CALABARZON to serve as rays of hope, improving the lives of both individuals and communities. Being involved in charitable endeavors promotes an atmosphere of solidarity and communal accountability. By working together, the institution can foster empathetic awareness, maintain and produce beneficial outcomes, and enable the development of a society that is more prosperous and compassionate.