A shared vision for a better world


    Fame and charisma have long given celebrities the power to influence the public so that it is heartening to know, especially during this time of year, that many of them make the effort to do something good. They become all the more admirable too when their acts of selflessness are done sans fanfare, only to be discovered when the deed has been done.

    Such was The Manila Times’ experience at Christian relief and development organization World Vision’s 60th anniversary celebration in the Philippines, which revealed the kind hearts of celebrities Jasmine Curtis-Smith, Tippy Dos Santos and Sam Concepcion. Unknown to many, these three young personalities have gone around the country to visit poor communities on both personal capacity and as ambassadors of World Vision.

    Jasmine Curtis with the students of Compostela Central School

    Exposed to the hardships of life through their immersions, Curtis-Smith, Dos Santos and Concepcion have been active for many years in child sponsoring, while sharing their time and talent with them whenever they can.

    “I’ve been supporting World Vision since I was living in Australia—since 2008 to be exact. I’ve been trying to get as involved as I can be for nine years now. But it was only when I came to the Philippines in 2012 that I found the opportunity to become youth ambassador of World Vision, and I’ve been so happy to do it,” shared Curtis-Smith.

    “It just got the ball rolling and I decided I need to keep doing this because it’s a voice you want to have. I am also in the position where I have to be a good example to the young because I can reach a lot of people through my work and through the organization,” she added.

    Curtis has sponsored three World Vision children, which ensures they get to go to school and eat nutritiously.

    Sam Concepcion visits children in Cagayan de Oro whose homes were ravaged by Typhoon Sendong

    “I am trying to get my friends to sponsor as well. Recently I got my boyfriend to sponsor a child too. He’s starting now and learning to be involved with everything,” Curtis happily related of her businessman-surfer steady Jeff Ortega.

    Her big sister, Anne Curtis has also been involved with several charity projects with Unicef as a celebrity advocate for children. According to Curtis-Smith, it was but natural she and her sister find ways to help others because of their mother’s example.

    “It’s a normal thing for us already because we learned to give back to our community and to others in need because of our mother who did that for her family. We saw how she sacrificed time and money just to give back to her family here despite living all the way in Australia,” she explained.

    “When we got older, at least when I was in high school, I asked myself, ‘How do I do that?’, because it was a characteristic of hers that was really remarkable for me and my Ate Anne. So I guess being involved is built in us already, ” she added.

    For Curtis-Smith, volunteerism brings fun and fulfilment to her life, and most importantly, it allows her to voice out the problems around the country from her celebrity status.

    “Honestly, the happiness I get from this is just a bonus. But more than anything else, I just want to be involved and be active and just create a voice for everyone who needs it too. There are some who are shy to voice out they need help and we can give them the chance to speak up. If they can’t you have to do it for them,” she said.

    Tippy Dos Santos sings to over 200 children at the Child Friend Space in Macasandig, CDO

    Not for show
    While there continue to be celebrities who use charity work for “good PR” as they say in showbiz, Concepcion and Dos Santos, on the other hand, would rather keep their involvement with World Vision as quiet as possible.

    Friends for several years now, the two singers have also been involved with the Christian organization for seven years already.

    “Most of our work with World Vision is not on social media nor are they shown on TV. There also isn’t any publicity about it because none of this is for show. We’ve been doing this since we were kids, and we’ve since become quite aware of what’s happening in our community. Being part of something like this—something that can change a child’s life—really gives you purpose,” Concepcion said.

    “We’re doing this not because we’re celebrities, because I think [charity]is a value that was instilled in us by our parents. You don’t need to be popular to do something like this so it would be great if parents can teach their children to help others when they can, because there is always something that will come up. As long you can do something about an issue—and it doesn’t need to be all about money—do it. Even if all you can give is your time, it can mean the world to someone else,” Dos Santos agreed.

    The singer-actress is currently sponsoring two children, while Concepcion is helping three.

    “The good thing is we know where our efforts go. We may not be able to change the world but we can help change a child’s life, and that’s what really matters,” Concepcion ended.


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