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Inquirer Read-Along: Find opportunities to serve, kids urged

YEAR OPENER Singer Ariel Rivera and his wife, actress Gelli de Belen, take a pause from their storytelling chores for a “groufie” with their young audience during Saturday’s Inquirer Read-Along session, the first of the year. —LEO M. SABANGAN II

For actress and TV host Gelli de Belen, the desire to be of service to others makes life’s journey more meaningful than just simply pursuing one’s personal growth.

At the same time, she said, it pays to show gratitude to people who have helped others reach their destination.

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“We meet a lot of people in our journey and these encounters are not coincidences,” De Belen said. “Their influence makes us who we are to enable us to reach our goals.”

Home for birds

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De Belen and her husband, singer Ariel Rivera, were among the guest storytellers during the Inquirer Read-Along session on Saturday — the first in 2019 — at the newspaper’s office in Makati City.

The celebrity couple read “Luntian, Ang Bungang May Pakpak (The Winged Fruit)” by Liwliwa Malabed, which tells about the journey of a seed pod that aspires to become a giant tree so he could provide a home for birds.

Sophia School teachers Ellie dela Vega and Lorna Darilag read Russell Molina’s “Umaga na, Tala (Morning Has Broken, Star),” about a little star that learns his responsibilities and purpose in life.

Rivera encouraged kids to continue learning even after graduating from school to keep them motivated in fulfilling their dreams.

More books, less social media

“I always encourage kids to engage more in reading books than using social media. It’s the effective way to gain knowledge and to be aware of what’s going on in society,” he said.

For De Belen, nurturing reading habits at a young age can improve one’s creativity.

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“When your creativity is at peak at a young age, you develop greater understanding and greater hope for better things not only for yourself and your family but for the world,” she said.

De Belen and Rivera are starring in the comedy film “Ang Sikreto ng Piso” showing on Jan. 30.

Saturday’s read-along session, hosted by Inquirer Lifestyle writing editor Ruth Navarra-Mayo, was held in cooperation with MPJ Entertainment Productions.

Now on its 11th year, Inquirer Read-Along is a corporate social responsibility project of the Inquirer that aims to foster the love of reading among children.

Since 2007, more than 20,000 children aged 7 to 13 from about 50 cities nationwide have joined the program, which has featured more than 400 celebrities, leaders, educators and other youth role models as storytellers. —Rafael L. Antonio, Inquirer Research

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