IARFA student credits TOSS award to children-centered advocacies

FEU Advocate
July 09, 2024 14:39

Far Eastern University (FEU) fifth-year Architecture student Jaimee Valerie Jonson attributes her passion to foster equal opportunities for children upon being this year’s lone The Outstanding Senior Student (TOSS) awardee announced last July 3.

The TOSS awardee volunteered as a teacher at the Children’s Ministry in her home province Batangas from 2013 to 2022. 

In an interview with FEU Advocate, Jonson shared how various leadership roles shaped her advocacy to forward children’s rights.

“Being a teacher for so many years opened me to a realization that I have to serve my community. Being exposed to various student leaders and community involvement ko lang na-realize ‘yung need ko (only made me realize the need) to advocate for equal opportunities for children,” she said.

Jonson also incorporated her exposure in the community she grew up through a thesis she wrote about the development of a village for neglected children.

Nu’ng ginawa ko ‘yung thesis ko (When I wrote my thesis) last school year, I was able to design a developmental prompting [a] children's village for abandoned and neglected children so that’s something that I carry with me. That’s when I realized na possible pala na ‘yung [Architecture] and ‘yung advocacy ko is maipag-combine ko (That’s when I realized that it is possible to combine Architecture and my advocacy),” she shared.

Additionally, the IARFA student cited her projects ‘Kalinaw’ and ‘Coloring Outside The Lines (COTL)’ as part of her goals to raise awareness of various causes.

Kalinaw is the first mental health project in IARFA which became a routinary project in their department during her term as Auditor from S.Y. 2020-2021. 

Meanwhile, COTL promotes inclusivity and sensitivity on body forms, gender, culture, and capabilities by repainting the IARFA community’s lockers last 2023.

Jonson also encourages the FEU community to foster self-trust by exploring beyond their current capabilities.

“I think we're all capable of great things. You know, sometimes it's scary and hard to start to take a step forward, to take the initiative and to speak up. But stepping out of it is the only way for us to achieve our full potential,” the Architecture student expressed.

Additionally, the IARFA community prompted her to push through despite time being compromised and sacrificed.

I think what really drives me to continue, kahit sobrang bigat ng workload namin in Architecture, is that I always tell myself na there's an entire community na naka-depende sa org [IARFA-SC] namin (even though our workload in Architecture is very heavy, is that I always tell myself that there's an entire community that depends on our org),” Jonson stated.

As the TOSS awardee graduates from the University, she intends to continue applying her passion through leadership.

“I can assure that I will continue to mentor student-leaders, to train them not only to become efficient in their responsibilities as the student leaders of FEU but to mentor and train them to be future mentors as well,” Jonson affirmed.

Jonson also became the IARFA SC president last A.Y. 2022-2023 and Baryanihan Movement vice-chairperson from 2020 to 2023.

The Student Development opened the application for TOSS 2024 from May 22 to 31 while the panel interview for qualified recipients took place last June 7. 

The annual search for TOSS honors graduating students’ academic excellence, outstanding leadership, extensive community involvement, and exemplary moral values encompassing the University’s core values.

- Kasharelle Khail Javier
(Photo courtesy of Jaimee Valerie Jonson)