The School-on-the-Air (SOA) on Visual Arts for Mental Health and the Environment kicked off its six-week-long activities through a virtual opening program held on July 12, 2021 via Zoom.

Visayas State University (VSU) President Edgardo E. Tulin and East-West Center (EWC) Director of Alumni Engagement Christina Monroe are among the notable attendees of the program. Also present are the 120 MAPEH students and teachers that serve as the participants of the SOA, along with their coordinators, Dr. Josemilo P. Ruiz and Dr. Jo-Ann Cerna-Rapada of the Baybay City Division and Southern Leyte Division Superintendent Dr. Genis Murallos and coordinators Dr. Liza Demeterio and Dr. Allan Rosello.

The SOA project aims to raise awareness on mental health and environmental problems through sketching, painting and writing poetry. For six weeks, the participants will learn about mental well-being from VSU’s former Head and licensed Guidance Counselor Ms. Marwen Castañeda; pressing environmental issues and ways to protect nature from environmentalist Ms. Ariana Loehr, also an EWC-APLP G19 fellow and a visual artist herself; and skills on visual arts from the DevCom department’s resident visual artist, Prof. Jude Nonie Sales.

Dr. Monroe lauded the objectives of the initiative in response to the COVID-19 crisis. 

EWC Director Christina Monroe

EWC Director Christina Monroe during the SOA virtual opening program

“Mental health should not be sacrificed. It should be prioritized.This project is very impressive and very responsive to the needs of its stakeholders, the community and its beneficiaries in this time of COVID-19,” Monroe said. 

Dr. Tulin dubbed Dr. Gabrillo, Devcom and DYDC as “very instrumental” in the implementation of a project that benefits the Department of Education (DepEd) students.

Dr. Edgardo E. Tulin

VSU President Edgardo E. Tulin during the SOA virtual launching program

“What better way to put all these together to benefit pupils and students. What better issues to address than mental health and the environment in this time of the pandemic,” Tulin stated.

During the launching, the ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Agreement between VSU and DepEd Baybay and Southern Leyte divisions was also facilitated.

Prior to the launching of the SOA, the project team has already set things in place. Courtesy calls were made with the Schools Division Supervisors of Baybay City and Southern Leyte. Moreover, the drawing kits were also delivered to the two sites. 

Southern Leyte Schools Division

Virtual courtesy call with the Southern Leyte Schools Division


Office of the Schools Division Superintendent - Baybay City Division

Courtesy call to the office of the Schools Division Superintendent - Baybay City Division 

Distribution of the drawing kits to the Baybay City Division

Distribution of the drawing kits to the Baybay City Division

The SOA project, spearheaded by the VSU-Devcom Head Dr. Christina A. Gabrillo, is the second by-product of her five-month-long leadership training under the Asia Pacific Leadership Program (APLP) and as G19 of EWC in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA in 2019. The first was a community radio drama project on disaster preparedness which was implemented from October to December last year.

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