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by Dommenic Malocloc

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a watershed moment for all of us, disrupting normal life. The impact of closed schools and students trapped at home with little or no access to learning has been devastating for schools, parents, and students. It has also had a significant financial impact on students and families. However, as a student who has been supported by Mr. Carl Fehre's Starfish Foundation for the Empowerment of Filipino Youth, I find it comforting to know that I have a home to lean on whenever I am on the brink of financial incapacity, making it less of a financial burden for me.

You heard correctly. Starfish Foundation is a home to me - a home with a family that will make your smile reach your ears, a serving rainbow in your gloomy days, and a refuge in times of need. At Starfish Foundation, anything is possible and worth fighting for. Though the pandemic has been tough, I am beyond blessed for the family to which I belong because they have been one of those people who have served as a guiding light in the midst of collosal challenges.

May I take this humble opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation on behalf of the other scholars to Starfish Family for their unwavering support and limitless opportunities.

Thank you for your financial assistance to our studies, Lolo Carl, a man of stature and our greatest motivator. Also, thank you for the opportunities that we're not sure we truly deserve.


Thank you for believing in us and encouraging us to do our best in everything we do. You deserve to be admired. We, the scholars, praise and honor you for this. May you continue to help those in dire need, just like us, your scholars.

I sincerely thank Ate Rosemarie Saniti, executive director of the Starfish Foundation, for all of your help – food, medicines, and so on. You were always willing to lend a hand whenever I needed it, which I greatly appreciated. I can't help but be impressed by your magnanimity. You are the type of person who is always there for us – someone we can lean on, look to for inspiration, and so on. Another thing is that I appreciate you believing in me despite my various inhibitions and self-doubts. All of the pearls of wisdom you shared will be treasured in my heart for the rest of my life.

Thank you for the excellent service you have provided to us, Ate Jessa Torculas, coordinator of the mini library. Thank you for guiding us scholars and sending us encouraging messages. Thank you for sticking by the scholars in good times and bad.

To the Starfish scholars, I know you are all as fortunate as I am to have known Starfish. May the foundation's assistance not go to waste. Let us continue to work on our life goals and find our purpose in order to live a fulfilling life now and in the future. No matter how terrified we are of the future, let us not stop turning the pages, reaching the chapters, and eventually realizing how beautiful we have become. I'd like to share this quote from Eric Roth from the film "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" with you: "For what it's worth, it's never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be." There is no time limit, so you can stop whenever you want. There are no rules to this thing, so you can change or stay the same. We have the ability to make the best or worst of it. I hope you make the best of the situation. And I hope you see something that startles you. I hope you experience sensations you have never experienced before. I hope you meet people with opposing viewpoints. I wish you a life you can be proud of. If you discover you aren't, I hope you have the courage to start over.” 

In life, we can find a family – not by blood, but by heart. It's difficult to find such family in uncertain times, but with Starfish Foundation, it's easy to be at home and feel what true family is. All I can say is that Starfish Foundation is “a home where the heart is.” Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. once said, “Home is the one place in all this world where hearts are sure of each other. It is the place of confidence.”

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