As a fitting move to fully embrace the process of integrating social engagement in its formation track, the First Year Development Program (FYDP), now aligned under the Arrupe Office of Social Formation, initiated two days of community exposure for its guides in the different areas in the city. This new development is part of the rethinking and restructuring on how best the FYDP as a program, under the Arrupe Office, could integrate social formation in its module, in accordance with the key result areas (KRAs) embraced by the entire formation cluster of the university, headed by the Ignatian Spirituality and Formation Office (ISFO). The two-day exposure covered several communities in Davao City. On 11th January 2014, the guides visited the community at the Correctional Facility for Women under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, as well as the Ray of Hope (a Gawad Kalinga [GK] community), all in barangay Ma-a. They also stopped by barangay Mintal inorder to meet with its local government officials, then proceeded to the Home for Persons with Disabilities, in the GK of Los Amigos in Tugbok District. The following Saturday, 18th January, the guides were engaged in the community at GK Pueblo Antonio in barangay Catigan in Toril District. Following this two-day community engagement period was a group processing activity held at La Storta Retreat House in Shrine Hills in Matina.
The approach of the exposure was thematic and each scheduled community visit carried with it specific leitmotifs such as asset creation and equitable distribution, good governance, vulnerable groups, and environmental protection. The group processing that followed presented an avenue for discussion among the guides, as they shared their experiences in these areas, as well as reflected on how a particular program such as this (once it becomes part of the curriculum of FYDP, hopefully to be implemented in the next school year) could provide a leverage for raising the level of awareness among first year students on the social realities of the day, so that they can contribute and commit toward social transformation.
The FYDP is a core offering of the Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) that provides a platform for introducing the foundational values of Jesuit education. In the early years of FYDP, as it evolved into several name changes and curricular development, community exposures became part and parcel of its way of proceeding. At a certain point in FYDP’s infancy years, the then Social Involvement Coordinating Office (SICO), now the Arrupe Office, used to handle its community exposure component through SICO’s First Year Assistance Program (FYAP). However, this particular program was discontinued when FYDP’s curriculum also underwent several modular changes under different administrations. When the FYDP was realigned under the Arrupe Office in 2013, it provided an opening door in terms of reintroducing community engagement back in its curriculum.
As part of the commitment of the program, now headed by Ms. Rosario U. Gaid, the FYDP will be promoting its Social Consciousness Week on 24th February to 1st March, in conjunction with the celebration of the month-long “Atenista Ako, Maligdong!” of the Arrupe Office. (By M. Isabel S. Actub of Arrupe Communications & Advocacy)