Malaya Achievers: A Continuing Journey

by Marianick Villegas, Rotaract Club of San Francisco Del Monte Malaya Achievers

President Francis Villamil teaching students at adopted Sinagtala Elementary School on vertical gardening.

The Rotaract Club of San Francisco Del Monte Malaya Achievers was formed by its sponsor Rotary Club of San Francisco Del Monte from the 1994 alumni batch of their Interact Club in Eulogio Rodriguez Jr. High School, a public school in Quezon City.

The charter members of the Rotaract Club (circa 1994).

“Malaya” was added to the Rotaract Club name to commemorate the street where the sponsor club’s Rotary Center building was located. More than that, “Malaya” signifies the aspiration for the Rotaract club to be independent in terms of developing and conducting innovative projects that address the community's pressing challenges. “Achievers” was also added to the club name from the belief of a Rotary Past President that the Rotaract club will leave a big impact and its members will achieve greater heights to be known as role models for their fellow youth and the community.

The Rotaract Club of SFDM Malaya Achievers has bagged the Most Outstanding Rotaract Club and Most Outstanding Rotaract Project trophies throughout its 26 years of existence and produced Most Outstanding Rotaractors, Presidents and District Officers. It has also produced two District Rotaract Representatives and one Pilipinas Rotaract Multi-District Information Organization Chair (i.e. the current one). It has already hosted almost all types of district and national banner events. What are the qualities that make a strong Rotaract club basing from the experience of Malaya Achievers?

Diversity and Unique Culture

With diverse members come different sets of skills and mindsets that lead to diversity of project ideas. From a club mostly composed of students, it has actively recruited young professionals from various fields. It is also crucial to ensure cohesiveness of members by making them embrace a club culture and identity - a unique proposition of a Rotaract club that makes it stand out and become attractive to new recruits. Malaya Achievers invests in club development initiatives such as leadership and team building programs, fostering a mentoring structure between past and present leaders, and family-oriented bonding activities.

Members during the Malaya Achievers Club Administration and Team Building Seminar (MACATS), a multi-awarded flagship leadership and team development training that is now on its 8th year.

Innovation: Breaking the Status Quo

Known to be pioneers of innovative project ideas, the most common question during its club meetings is: “What can we do differently?”. When COVID-19 pandemic happened, we were among the first Rotaract clubs in the country to conduct virtual Rotaract 101 program, a virtual handover and induction ceremony, a virtual fundraising for PPEs, and a fully digital training through the District Rotaract Representative Elect Training Seminar (DRRETS). It was the first Rotaract training event to use Kahoot and Mentimeter apps for learning as well as to have invited global speakers including the Rotary International President Holger Knaack. In adversity, we see opportunities. We nurture our members’ desire for innovation by exposing them to various development activities that improve our members personally and professionally.

Integrity and Continuity

To ensure the continuity, club leaders need to establish systems, guidelines and processes. Hence, our Rotaract Club practices the following: automated databases, club administration and project tracking sheets, templates as well as documented guidelines for conducting club affairs for matters not covered by the Rotaract Constitution and By-Laws. An active Past Presidents Council serves as advisory board and training team for the current leaders. In implementing service projects, we follow best practices in project management - needs assessment, key performance indicators, risk management, monitoring and evaluation - to ensure impact and sustainability of community transformation efforts.

The Malaya Achievers maintain a five-year plan which is presented annually during every District Rotaract Representative’s Visit.

Fellowship and Family Environment

Making the club environment safe for members to express themselves and find togetherness especially in this time of pandemic is what Malaya Achievers' family-oriented culture is all about. They call each other 'kapatid' to show their affection and have become life-long friends through the bond they have fostered in the club.

Malaya Achievers during the club’s year end party last 2017

Rotaract clubs decide how to organize and run their own clubs, manage their funds, and plan and carry out activities and service projects. At the core of the club’s strength is its members.

“Just like other Rotaractors who have loved their club experience, we hope that Malaya Achievers will continue to inspire a lot of young people and transform more communities. We also hope they would continue their journey as Rotarians, and that their Rotaract experience will definitely be something to be remembered as this must have made them better persons in many ways,” says Francis Villamil, President of the Rotaract Club of San Francisco Del Monte Malaya Achievers.

This article was also featured in the October 2020 issue of the Philippine Rotary Magazine as seen below.

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