The Cornerstone Program
The Cornerstone Program is established by a partnership of three organisations; Couples For Christ (CFC), ANCOP and Ateneo De Manila University and is consistent with the core mission of CFC to bring Christ’s transforming love to families and the poor. The Cornerstone program began in June 2011 and is aimed at the Primary and Secondary levels in education:
“The Elementary [Primary] Program aims to reach out to slow readers in elementary children in public schools through Reading Tutorials and Values Formation. The High School [Secondary] Program aims to reach out to High School leaders through Christian leadership and Values Formation” (Cornerstone Manual, 2012).
The Ateneo Centre for Education (ACED) is the main partner institution of CFC who main goal is to help the Department of Education in upgrading the public school education nationwide through principal and teacher empowerment programs and other school related services. This partnership has been piloted in 10 Primary and 5 High Schools in Metro Manila.
The decision to open a Cornerstone School is based on an evaluation of the readiness of CFC and its Family Ministries to provide volunteers who will undergo training and commit their time in service of the Cornerstone Program and assist to improve the quality of life.
The Cornerstone Program is a gateway to evangelisation. The public schools provide a geographic focus for service and evangelisation for the Couples For Christ community. “The relationships and partnerships in the school provide a wide reach for CFC and its Family Ministries to invite the principals, teachers, partners and parents to Christian Life Programs and youth camps” (Cornerstone Manual, 2012). The program is a convergence strategy of CFC that engages all its ministries to make our faith alive by contributing towards the singular mission of building the church of the home and the church of the poor.
Read stories of those who have taken their time to get involved in the Cornerstone program.
This year, Couples for Christ and its family ministries launched another milestone of working with the poor. In partnership with Ateneo, CFC put up a program for our less fortunate kids in public schools called the Cornerstone. In CFC Metro Manila South B, they are handling two public schools for their weekly tutorials every Saturday morning. Masville Elementary School and Sampaloc Elementary School which is headed by volunteers from SFC Central C in doing the tutorial programs. This holiday season, Cornerstone has conduct a generic Christmas Party theme for all sites entitled “Thank you Jesus Christmas Party”, it is a way of teaching the children that Jesus is the mainly reason why we celebrate Christmas, and also allowing them to acknowledge that all the gifts and blessings comes from Jesus himself. Last December 18, 2011, the students, parents, teachers and volunteers of two school sites gather in Goodwill Subdivision Gym, Sucat, Paranaque City to celebrate a day of thanksgiving for the Lord’s goodness through Cornerstone. The Masville students conduct a nativity play that illustrates the humble story of the birth of Jesus, and the Sampaloc students do the singing of Christmas carols and dance presentation. Parents and teachers also showcase their talents such as singing and dancing. With a lot of gifts and prizes a waits for them from generous sponsors, fun games that gives joy to the face of the kids and parents who have attended including their teachers. (Arbie Padilla, 2011)
Cornerstone, CFC’s educational program, is one of the greatest gifts that God has blessed our community with this year. Truly, this project has led our brethren to share more of their time, talent and treasure, and to become a blessing to our young brothers and sisters in the public schools.
This Christmas season, as a way of thanking God for all the blessings that He has given us during the entire year, and especially for the blessing of this project, Cornerstone volunteers participated in the Christmas parties in the 15 different public elementary schools and high schools in Quezon City and Paranaque that are already part of the program. The parties were held at various times from December 12 to 18, leaving the volunteers somewhat frazzled in the preparations but happy in the knowledge that they have shared of themselves with others, especially in the partner schools.
The volunteers felt God’s overflowing generosity through the different activities that they had with the children in the Cornerstone project – making Christmas cards, role-playing the Nativity, and sharing in the fun and laughter of the Christmas parties for the children and their families.
According to the volunteers, “Seeing the smiles on the children’s faces gave us so much joy, knowing that through our small actions, we had made a big difference in their lives, by God’s grace. Watching them play games; unwrap their gifts; eat their party meals; and portray the Nativity Story in different forms; we were affirmed that they were able to experience the true reason for the season – Jesus!”
As one the volunteers affirmed that “This project has given us the reason to be more generous and loving, and to experience Christ with the children. It also challenges us to do more and help the children out there who need to know Christ and get a good education – so that they can have a future full of hope — one that will bring their families to experience the fullness of life in Christ.” (Sherryl De Leon, 2011)
- Reading Tutorials
- Values formation for children
- Values formation for teenagers
- Sponsorships (Cornerstone Manual, 2012)