ThinkActPeace (TAP) Public Charity started back in the latter part of 2007. Sister Elvi, who came to visit with us for several days at our house here in Washington State, shared with us her
plan to start charitable work in Masbate, Philippines. Her mission was to help the underprivileged children and their families in the poorest area in Masbate. Her brother offered his beach property there free to use as long as she needed it for the charity work. She also needed a large donation to build the TAP facility and start the programs. She asked for our help and that was when my family and I got involved in ThinkActPeace Foundation, registered here in Washington State as the fundraising arm for her missionary work in the Philippines. From then on we started getting donations from our generous friends and family members—and the pipeline of relief for these children and their families was securely in place.
Well, TAP kept moving along with several presidents: Lynda Llavore, Dr. Rosemarie Ong (Boots’ older sister), and Bob Esp, and then Lynda again for several years. After our trip to Masbate, and Troy deciding to retire from Boeing in April 2019, Sister Elvi asked Troy to be president of TAP, USA. After considering the invitation for a while he agreed and also invited Bob Esp to join as the vice-president and Josie Hurst as the secretary. I am humbled to remain the treasurer since I have been involved in this non-governmental organization from its inception.
Boots and I have made many visits to Masbate Island and we have visited the TAP facility in Benson Peace Village (BPV) many times since it started. We have seen many improvements. It is amazing to note the difference the sisters made to this poor community. Sr. Elvi and Sr. Lulu who manage and oversee the projects in BPV have worked tirelessly (despite their meager operational funds) to give these families a chance to improve their lives. When we first met these kids they hardly could look straight into our eyes because they were so shy and they obviously lacked self-confidence. But as the years passed, their training and daily, weekly, and constant attendance to various literacy programs offered at BPV, have helped in their positive
transformation. Several of them who started attending TAP activities when they were little children are now giving back as volunteers themselves in Literacy Camps for Youth. Mothers and fathers have also learned a lot of livelihood skills from the programs TAP offered to help improve their daily living. It is so wonderful to watch them improving in the different aspects of their lives: personal, spiritual, social, and most of all, the children’s academic life.
Our latest visit to Benson Peace Village was just a couple of years ago. We traveled with Troy and Cora Hall and they stayed with us as our guests. We saw the condition of the Benson Peace facilities: buildings and cottages they use for literacy classes, the broken equipment used for the livelihood projects, and we learned about the urgent needs the sisters have to accomplish their work for this community. It was a memorable visit with the children and mothers, welcoming us with their presentations that both impressed and moved us. We could tell how grateful they were for our visit and for the financial assistance TAP, USA has been giving them. Their smiles, their heartwarming greetings, songs, and dances said it all! They touched us with their simplicity and their thankful hearts. They inspired us to do something more; to work harder in soliciting funds for the different programs that help elevate their lives. We will continue to do our best in this mission.