“Kapisanan helped me to get out of my comfort zone, to recognize my strength on working with people, and to believe in my talent.”
We interviewed Ranelle Aquino, KULTURA's 2016 Junior Event Coordinator. At this year's KULTURA Live! Stage, before her performance with HATAW, Ranelle was presented the Bayanihan Volunteer of the Year Award by The Firm of Justin Chan Criminal Defence. Get to know our Volunteer of the Year in the interview here!
What brought you to Kapisanan?
The first time I heard Kapisanan was from my younger sister two or three years ago. I then had this assignment in my drama class about local group/organization in Toronto that has a focus on intercultural exchange. My professor gave me a list of some Filipino-Canadian organizations and suggested to make connections with them. Kapisanan was on that list, together with Carlos Bulosan Theatre, Kapwa Collective, and others.
I chose Kapisanan because of its mission. I like the idea of helping the Filipino-Canadian youth to connect, engage and learn the Filipino culture through art, music, and creative writing. Also, it is an opportunity for us youth to explore our parent’s roots/origin. Lastly, the Kapisanan's mission of encouraging us, the youth, to challenge ourselves to reach our full potential.
How has Kapisanan helped you with your personal and professional growth?
Kapisanan helped me a lot, both personally and professionally. Personally, I am a very shy person. Kapisanan helped me to get out of my comfort zone, to recognize my strength on working with people, and to believe in my talent which it applies to my professional growth.
Professionally, when it comes to my work, I am eager to get things done efficiently. All the mentors assisted me on how to be organized and to pay attention to every detail. Kapisanan also opened doors that can help me connect with my career like with HATAW Performing Arts and with Carlos Bulosan Theatre. Also, be self-confident with my work and as a person.
Meeting new friends at Kapisanan is a bonus! Kapisanan is my new family.
What is volunteering to you?
Volunteering for me is a selfless work like “Bayanihan”, at the same time it is a way to learn your own capability on helping and working in a community. It is an opportunity to challenge yourself to the extent of your talent and ability. Also, it helps a person to discover their potential outside of their comfort zone.
What inspired you to reach out to the Kapisanan Community?
What inspired me was the chance of performing with talented artists at the same time sharing my passion for singing and performing on stage. Also, I felt welcomed after meeting with Kapisanan’s Executive Director, Nicole Cajucom. After she learned that I am a performer, she immediately introduced me to Jodee [HATAW's Founder and Creative Director] and in an instant I am part of HATAW Performing Arts. Kapisanan and HATAW peeps are very welcoming and friendly. I love being part of these two families!
What’s next for you Kapisanan?
Working at Kapisanan this summer was a great and productive experience. I am looking forward at next year’s KULTURA. It was a great experience planning this event with amazing people, #DREAMTEAM! I would love to work on KULTURA again. Also, looking forward in performing with my HATAW family.
What’s next for me at Kapisanan? Come and check out next year’s KULTURA!
Interviewed by Ramsha Khan