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You must know about Efren Penaflorida, his Dynamic Teen Company, how he's one of the 10 CNN heroes, and how he's now vying to become the CNN Hero of the Year. Well, it's been quite a ride, for sure. And so we check with Efren via email to see how it's all been. [firstpara]

Can you say that there has been a lot of growth for Dynamic Teen Company in the past few months, and that the outlook is bright?
Yes, our attendance had doubled this year. Our services and system of learning is little by little being improved. We have more determined children to learn. Volunteers are more driven and encouraged because of the support from the people. We receive more resources than ever to which we can effectively use to further our cause.

What’s the outlook for DTC?
We envision of a better future for the children that we teach and hopefully in two years time we maybe able to put up a wholistic children's center and a parking space for our pushcart schools.

What are the daily challenges that DTC face?

One of our daily struggles in carrying out our task is the sudden changes in weather. Since we conduct our schools in unconventional areas like city streets and open spaces, we are highly affected by the immediate changes in weather conditions in a day. Most of us volunteers get sick and our materials get wet at times. It's hard to travel flooded streets just to reach the kids, but we take it as a challenge.

And what’s the biggest challenge that DTC has faced?

Amongst the kids we teach, the main problem is the loss of the desire to learn and the intense desire to have money. In my view, that is so dangerous. How can one have material wealth without working for it, using education as a strong base?

Other challenges like hunger, sickness, and illiteracy are far outweighed by the lack of right values. I sincerely believe that if you value what's right and do what's best, then the rest will follow. Of course there's a huge need to address homelessness, hunger, illiteracy and sickness but one's soul has to be healthy and his values should be attuned to God like a compass aimed North.


INTERVIEW BY: GELO GONZALES

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