I may be a Solo Parent but I am not alone -at least not at home and definitely not in my life advocacy. Yes, I am a single mother raising my four children: ArNicole, Angelu Ross, Angelique Rowen, and Ana Rose Belle. They are my A-listers as I call them.

But what even is an A-list? An A-list is a list or group of individuals of the highest level of society, excellence, or eminence.

For me, my A-listers are my children because as young as they are, they are already able to show compassion and act on it to be of service to others. As a mother, I feel pride that my children are not what others perceive about the young generation today. Allow me to share my story with you.

I am Rowena M. Legaspi, a 52-yr old mother from Barangay Zone IV, Zamboanga City and a beneficiary of the country’s conditional cash transfer program, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

As I already mentioned, I singlehandedly raised my four children despite the hardships in life. With my 5,000 pesos salary as a caretaker, I get to provide my children’s needs in school and daily consumption. But the greatest reward that I get is knowing that despite having less in life, we have many things to offer to our society.

In 2015, I became a member of the Civil Defense Action Group (CDAG) in our barangay which inspired me a lot to give more and do more as a woman. As a member of CDAG, we go to impoverish communities such as ours and we share information on Disaster Risk Reduction and management and other information that may help thriving families.

I get fulfillment in doing such because helping the community is my personal advocacy in life. I may not have lots of money in my pocket but with this simple gesture, I may be able to help other families that strive as well just like my own. And I would like my children to learn by my example.

I would like them to be selfless and always be of help to others who are in need.

Thankfully, as young as they now, I can see great potential in them.

My daughter, Angelique Ross, is a volunteer for Social Engagement Program that conducts outreach program for children to which they teach kids good values, they help them learn sets of skills, they play with them, they give them food, and they teach them how to mingle with other kids which may be helpful as they grow and discover more about themselves.

They also reach out to persons with disabilities, they conduct donation drives to victims of calamities and disasters, and they hold activities that could raise funds for the marginalized sectors, in general.

The Anluwagi Project is another project that Angelique is involved in where they collected donations for the victims of Typhoon Dante.

Nainspire po ako kay mama dahil nakikita kong tumutulong po siya sa mga tao kahit wala naman din kaming pera, kung ano lang yung kayang maitulong. (I was inspired by what I see with my mom; I see her helping others in her own little ways even when we, ourselves, don’t have money),” says Angelique about what made her be involved in such activities.

Her sister on the other hand is a regular blood donor for Red Cross’ blood-donation campaign.

It makes me proud as a mother that I see them building their own characters as significant individuals and youth in the society. They are not the typical teenagers that you see in the movies that go through rebellious stage and act impulsively on things. They are mature and for that, I feel so proud. Sometimes I feel like giving myself a tap on the shoulders for having raised children that are A-listers.

I also attribute this to the Family Development Sessions (FDS) that we attend every month for it opened doors for me to explore and be immersed in community activities. If it weren’t because of our learning in the sessions, I wouldn’t be the empowered woman that I am today. If it weren’t because of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, I might have killed myself from working beyond eight hours and I wouldn’t be able to do all of these stuffs.

We are who we are today because we were molded to be contributors to nation-building which is the true essence of the program.

I am Rowena Legaspi, together with my children, we are your A-listers.