Chicago Haiyan

November 8, 2013 is no ordinary day. What happened shattered thousands of lives. Super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) may have passed but the traumatic memories of lost lives, displaced families, hunger and devastation will live on in the minds of the Filipinos.

Not being at the calamity scene does not mean we can simply ignore the pains of the afflicted. And GK USA Chicago Team did not turn its back. The caring and sharing mindset gave rise to what the group has accomplished today- yes, 5 years after Yolanda came.

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Kaya Essentials

An intern for GK Europe, Sara Meredith caught the social entrepreneurship bug at the GK Enchanted Farm, the first farm village university. She created Kaya Essentials, a handmade coconut skincare line that has a one-for-one with Kusina ng Kalinga. KNK provides school meals in elementary public schools, feeding over 20,000 children every day.

The GK Enchanted Farm is an incubator for social enterprises and it was Sara’s exposure to other social enterprises that inspired her to start her own. “I saw how Plush and Play embodied the Filipino bayanihan
spirit and it encouraged me to look at how my passion for beauty could help others too.”

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Visiting GK Worker Shares Platforms of Solidarity

The first two weeks of November was a busy time for GK USA as we welcomed visiting SEED (School for Experiential and Entrepreneurial Development) Director Mark Lawrence Cruz. His journey began in 2004 as a volunteer community organizer in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija where 121 families displaced after four strong typhoons were relocated. Various mission assignments followed including leading partnerships with Ateneo and other schools for the GK Builder Institute and scaling up Gawad Kalinga’s antihunger and malnutrition programs.

Starting out in Boston, Mark, along with GK USA Executive Director Maricel Villanueva, shared the latest news and initiatives powering GK’s mission. New York, New Jersey, Houston, Virginia, Tampa Bay, Miami, Los Angeles, San Diego and finally, Las Vegas.

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