The month is for reminding that older people have the same rights as everyone else to pursue a life of dignity and productivity, whether independently or with support from loved ones and community.
May is also designated as Asian American Heritage Month, a time for recognizing the contributions of communities who trace their roots to the largest continent.
To commemorate both occasions, the Knights of Columbus Council and the Legion of Mary Praesidium at Mater Dolorosa Catholic Church here are sponsoring ALLICE Alliance for Community Empowerment’s 12th Annual Our Family, Our Future, an education presentation and health fair focused on elder care and abuse prevention and building healthier family relationships.
Free and open to the public, the event co-presented once again by the Philippine Consulate General is set for 1-3:30 pm, Saturday, May 18, at the Parish Hall of Mater Dolorosa Church on 307 Willow Avenue, South San Francisco 94080.
"Showing respect and care for the elderly is key in our quest to Spark*Connect*Empower our communities,” said Consul General Henry S. Bensurto Jr., who will deliver the welcome address.
"Our elders have paved the way for us to get us where we are now and planning for healthy relationships that would affect them is one of the ways to thank them."
Spark*Connect*Empower or SCE is the consulate's non-partisan, non-political movement intended to spark love and passion among all Filipinos in the Philippines and abroad about their Filipino culture and heritage; connect them with one another, and, in the process empower them as individuals and as a community.
“All of us will get old and it is crucial for the present generation to work towards respecting the rights of the elderly and preventing abuse against them. It is also a way to take care of our younger generations by inculcating in them good values that they themselves will uphold in the near future,” the highest ranking Philippine official in Northern California explained why the consulate has been co-presenting the yearly event from inception.
“ALLICE Kumares and Kumpares has been integral in north San Mateo County and especially Daly City in promoting healthy family relationships and putting a spotlight on domestic violence," said San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa, who will present a commendation to the organizers for continued and growing presentations.
"Abusive relationships know no bounds. It doesn’t matter your color, your socioeconomic status or even age, domestic violence can touch all of us. It is often a hidden secret but ALLICE and its leaders, through its educational campaigns, has helped immensely to change attitudes and behaviors on what healthy family relationships should be," said the official who has long been an ally to seniors. "As the liaison between the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and the Commission on Aging, I can tell you that domestic violence affects older couples just as it does younger couples. As the county embarks on its Age-Friendly initiative, we will identify how to ensure older Americans live vibrant lives free from domestic violence and relationship abuse.”
The newest members of the South San Francisco City Council will headline the program.
“I’m so honored to be part of the Alice event. This is really coming full circle for me," said Council Member Mark Nagales, who will co-emcee the program with KGO News reporter Frances Dinglasan. The former Kumpare, as male members of ALLICE call themselves, is the first Filipino American man elected to the local governing body. "As an elected official, I think it’s important that I support in any way I can. That’s what Tita Alice taught us, to always give back,” the Project Sentinel outreach director referred to the late community leader Alice Bulos, whom ALLICE founders invited to join the organization as honorary chair two years into its formation.
Council Member Flor Nicolas will keynote the presentation.
"To paraphrase Tia Walker, 'To care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honors,'” quoted Nicolas, the first FilAm woman elected in the Biotech Capital of California, formerly known as the Industrial City.
An active parishioner at Mater Dolorosa, Nicolas connected the event to its faith setting.
"Honoring our father and mother is not just the fourth commandment. It is part of honoring our Creator who we call Father because we are all God’s children. Remember that they will not be here forever and don’t wait until they are gone before we regret that we were unable show them we care. Our own children watch and learn how we treat our elders and one day, we, ourselves, will end up being that elderly who will ask for patience and respect," said the executive of a biotech company in Menlo Park.
Father Manuel Curso will give the blessing the lieu of MD Pastor Roland de la Rosa, who will be on a pilgrimage then.
The world’s largest fraternal organization, the Knights of Columbus is dedicated to providing charity particularly war and disaster relief. Likewise a lay group, the Legion of Mary is devoted to the spiritual and social welfare of members while ministering to the faithful.
“We support and endorse ALLICE as comrades on the frontline against family abuse,” concurred KoC Grand Knight Audie Gener and Deputy Grand Knight Luis Moreno (no relation to author).
“Promoting safe and healthy relationships aligns with our priorities as we fulfill visitations with the family and the sick,” said MD LoM president Bea Pineda.
About 25 community-based family resource providers will be present to discuss their programs and services (see public service announcement). Raffle prizes will be drawn at the end of the program.
ALLICE members will perform and annotate a skit of 4 scenes showing unhealthy and healthy interaction with elders, enabling viewers to distinguish the differences and emulate the positive.
ALLICE is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization founded in 2003 by journalist Cherie Querol Moreno to promote healthy and safe behaviors through collaborations with individuals and groups sharing resources to stage free education events. Founding president Bettina Santos Yap oversees the team's creative department and psychologist Dr. Jei Africa directs the clinical program. All activities are staged purely on donated resources.
“We are delighted to work alongside Mater Dolorosa Church specifically with the Knights of Columbus and Legion of Mary,” said 2019 ALLICE president Elsa Agasid, who is the parish music director. “I’m excited that our choir is performing the musical number for the reflection part of the program.”
Marietta Gener of the Music Ministry expressed enthusiasm for the joint endeavor.
The annual spring event is made possible with support from Lucky Chances, Moonstar; Hapag Filipino, Tastebuds, Philippine Association of University Women, and Philippines Today, Inquirer.net, Positively Filipino and Philippine News.
Donor allies led by Lucky Chances, Noah's Bagels, Cafe Savini and Hapag Filipino will provide light refreshments.
For more information visit www.allicekumares.com.