WellConnected has been doing research around the world to find the best local ministries and unique program models in next-generation ministry, based on expert recommendations. We found U! Happy. Watch the video above to find out why!
In the Philippines, many Non-Governmental Organizations are working to support and empower marginalized children. Orphanages, churches, children’s hospitals, and Habitat for Humanity are all active in our area. But these NGOs frequently lack the resources and local support to throw events that would improve the quality of life for the children with whom they work, and attract public attention to their efforts. In 2006, we started U! Happy Events to meet this need.
We gathered a core team of volunteers and trained them to be excellent events staff. We chose members who wanted to reach orphaned, sick, or disadvantaged children. We collected resources that would allow our partners to create and execute memorable events, from small birthday gatherings to large monthly fitness workshops.
Now, we help to organize, fund, and execute an average of 100 events a year for our partners. These events are thrown for marginalized children, but also with them: our volunteers individually mentor each of them. Acting as “big brothers” and “big sisters,” they empower their young partners by enlisting their help to plan and execute the events from start to finish.
Whenever we can, we establish long-term relationships with our partners and ask for long-term commitments from our staff. This consistency fosters authentic mentoring relationships between ourselves and the children about whom we are so passionate. Along the way, any profits raised during our events go straight to our partners.
Our goal is not just to orchestrate fun, memorable experiences for local children. It is to foster relationships that pass on values: Company, Affirmation, Responsibility, and Engagement. The children on the margins of our society need more than aid, they need their personhood affirmed and their characters enriched. U! Happy Events meets all of these needs--maybe that is why we are growing by 30% or more every year.
U! Happy Events provides sustainable physical and emotional resources for marginalized children in the Philippines’ Quezon City area, and for the NGOs who care for them.
We help our NGO partners with every stage of the event-planning process: organizing volunteers, fostering mentoring programs, providing any necessary financial support, and sourcing suppliers and goods.
We aid and empower marginalized children by equipping those who serve them with excellent event-planning resources, and by training volunteers who become long-term mentors.
We provide unique resources that transform already-existing Non-Governmental Organizations into lively event venues. We connect needy children not just with what they require to survive, but with what they need to live.
Questions & Answers
What is the ultimate vision and dream of your ministry?
Our vision is to become Quezon City's premier professional event organizer; an organization that activates a robust volunteer culture in our area, and provides all of the children we serve with the opportunities they long for.
How did you initially design and develop this program?
Our program initially developed as a loose organization of volunteers. Our founder and chairman, Harvard Uy de Baron, began attending various unconnected children's events in Quezon City and felt inspired to create an organized platform that could connect willing workers to NGOs. From a small original team, we have grown into a large and specialized staff.
How do you know it is working?
We now have over thirty core volunteers. Around six of these help with planning, the other twenty-four staff our events. We are accepting new partners all the time and are approached with potential events so regularly that we have begun to charge a modest fee as a filtering process.
How would you like to see it improve and grow?
We want to keep expanding and improving our training models, a base of volunteers, and partnerships. Very soon, we would like to hire full-time staff, with the ultimate goal of making events available to the children on every weekend of the year.
What recommendations would you have for someone doing a similar ministry?
Don't feel like you need to re-invent the wheel. There are lots of excellent, established non-governmental services serving the marginalized and poor that are in need to extra resources. Look for a niche that needs to be filled, and concentrate on building strong leadership and a reliable core of volunteers.
Responsibility. The poor and marginalized are all around us, and the most needy of these are often children. We believe in taking responsibility for the children in our neighborhood who are frequently ignored.
Affirmation. We believe in reminding our community's most vulnerable members that they have value. We do this by involving them in the event-planning process as resources and peers.
Engagement. The children that our partners serve need more than our attention, they need our friendship and guidance. When we partner with an NGO, we make sure our volunteers are committed to building long-term relationships.
Check out more case studies on ministries serving children and youth in the Philippines!
To learn more about the state of ministry to the next generation in Central Asia, check out our REACH in-depth research report on Indonesia conducted by OneHope!