Geo woke up one morning recently and did what he always does first thing: He logged on to Skout to check the local Buzz in Manila. This particular morning, one post caught his eye: Jenny – whose Skout ID is jennyfromtheblock – was calling out for help, as her daughter Ynah had just been diagnosed with leukemia. “It definitely struck a chord in me, as two of my family members are also suffering from cancer,” Geo says, “and I have lost a number of others due to this disease.”
Fortunately for Ynah and her mother, the Philippines – where they live – has a very active Skout community.
“I have traveled – physically and through Skout Travel – a lot, and I have not seen an active Skout Buzz as much as Manila,” says Geo, whose Skout ID is geoislander. “We all know of each other from our Buzz and comments. The Skout Manila Buzz is alive and kicking 24 hours any day!”
The Manila Skout community – which calls itself the Grand Eyeball, a colloquial term for a group of virtual friends – rallied together quickly to create the event GEB For a Cause (#GEB4CAUSE), held earlier this month, to raise money for Ynah’s cancer treatment.
While the Grand Eyeball members mainly stay in touch on Skout and occasionally meet up in real life, GEB For a Cause was the first of its kind in Manila.
“There were almost 100 participants who came to GEB For a Cause,” Geo says. “It was definitely grand, in the most literal way!”
Geo publicized GEB For a Cause with banners he designed and posted in Buzz.
“As you know, if you Buzz and comment enough, you start to gain some infamy, notoriety, fame and whatnot within the Skout Buzz community in your locality,” says Geo, who messaged those well-known Skouters and asked them to repost the publicity banners on their own Buzz. Geo emphasized that GEB For a Cause would be an event at which people could donate money to Ynah’s treatment as well as meet new people.
“Within one day the idea caught fire, and anyone who is a Skouter and checks the Buzz had heard the idea and wanted to join and help baby Ynah,” Geo says.
Skouters offered to donate items for an auction, and some people even volunteered to auction themselves for a date during GEB For a Cause.
“The movement took a life of its own, organic, homegrown, grassroots – all from our simple interactions in the Skout Buzz!” says Geo.
Geo hosted GEB For a Cause at the Walking Street Music Lounge on Oct. 4. The event raised money for Ynah’s cancer treatment in a variety of ways: a donation box, a photobooth, an auction for goods and dates with Skouters, as well as Skout trivia, with questions such as, “What is the cheapest Gift in Skout?” and “Name the eight different kinds of relationship status in Skout.”
Skouters raised money in droves and kept Walking Street open until 4 a.m. The event itself raised about $2,000 USD. And donations are still being accepted through this site: http://www.gofundme.com/mjfcworldwide.
“GEB For a Cause was successful and exceeded our expectations,” says Geo. “We raised a large amount of money for Ynah's chemotherapy and created some positive and unified vibes within the Manila Skout community. Participants are asking for more!”
Because Manila Skouters decided one night of getting together in real life and raising money for a good cause was not enough, they created #SKOUT4CHANGE. Once a quarter, a group of Skouters will plan and execute an activity during which they help someone in the community or tackle a social issue going on in Manila. Ideas include holding food and blood drives for typhoon victims and volunteering in orphanages.
These are the stories we here at Skout love hearing: Skouters who meet up from time to time online as well as get to know each other in real life, and then they decide to help each other out when needed.
“I ran with the idea and just went for it,” Geo says.
All photos by Norvyn Villanueva, a Skouter who volunteered his services for GEB For a Cause.
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