Ernest de la Cuesta, 23, has been Lifeline Foundation’s Satellite School Director for over a year now. He handles the overall management of the Satellite School Program, which includes planning the lessons for the students, teaching them and coordinating among volunteer teachers for the week.
What motivates Ernest to volunteer as Lifeline’s Satellite School Head is seeing the current condition of poverty and lack of education in the Philippines. “It moves me to continually do something about it as long as it is there. These children are growing up in an environment that may jeopardize their future lives. And that fact that I CAN DO SOMETHING to change their future completely is what keeps me on the move. I have been given much and it’s time to give back.”
Evidently, Ernest is very passionate about education. He told us, “I realized how big an impact education does to a person’s character and outlook, especially proper education. My personal goal is to teach these children how to make the right choices in their lives, to teach them to see the kind of future they want and to show them the opportunities and tasks they need to do in order to get there. My goal is to help them get a brighter and smarter future.”
After he graduated from high hchool, Ernest was given an opportunity by Lifeline Foundation’s Directors Jose Luis Gonzalez and Candace Schmidt to take a gap year before entering college. The goal was to find out what he was good at, to find his strengths and weaknesses, and to sharpen his skills. During that year, at the age of 18, Ernest worked as an intern for Lifeline Foundation and volunteered for its programs. “In the years that I took off from school, I realized that my passion lies in simply helping people. The joy that helping people brings is immeasurable. What’s even better is to see the person being helped empowered and their life completely changed. I thought to myself, “This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”
Like many Lifeline stalwarts, Ernest grew up in the four corners of BF Homes Parañaque, a fact that he is truly grateful for. “Growing up here was simply a blessing. The community was complete as it had grocery stores, restaurants and a shopping area. Some of my classmates during my grade school years also lived here so company was not a problem. I consider it a privilege to have grown up here. I saw how BF Homes has changed and developed through the years. And of course, I would have never met the people of Lifeline had I not stayed in BF.”
Ernest says that the key mentors he’s had in his life are the directors of Lifeline, Jose Luis Gonzalez and Candace Schmidt-Gonzalez, who, through their lives and through personal conversations, have equipped him with the power of making right choices. It was this lesson that they have continually underlined to him. “Before I entered Lifeline, my life as well had no direction. I was just following whatever was the thing to do. It was through their help that my life was put back in place and steered to a better future. It is this experience that I myself would like to pass on to others – to help change people’s lives and their future.”
“As I continued to volunteer for Lifeline, I’ve met people that to this day invest their time and knowledge for my growth. They are living examples of what it means ‘to make a difference.’ As the name implies, they are my Support Team, Inc in my life and not just in the foundation. I have learned so much from them throughout the years. I consider it an honor to have gotten to know them. This goes out to Ms. Betty, Alvin, Arlene, Raffy, Judy, Erlyn, Happy, Briann, Jill, Janssen and Kristine.”
Working with Lifeline has been life-changing. Ernest wishes everyone could experience the experiences wherein he has seen actual change in a person’s life. In Lifeline Foundation’s Satellite School, Patient of the Month and Medical Missions, he has seen the difference it makes – how someone can change from being sick to healthy, disabled to able and unknowledgeable to knowledgeable. It is knowing that change is possible that leads Ernest to do what he is doing today.
Ernest learned about Lifeline during his high school years when a friend of his at that time invited him to join. “Working with Lifeline has changed my life holistically. My perspectives, outlook, character, way of doing things – all have changed throughout my time here. I was given the opportunity, which not many have had, and I consider it a privilege. I will always be thankful and grateful. More power to Lifeline!”