The Kiwanis International Foundation recently talked with Juan “Ito” Torres about his passion for service, why he supports our foundation and the ideal of how you reap later in life what you sow when you’re young. Here are some of his observations, in his own words.
As a Kiwanian, what gets me all the time is the need of our people, particularly in another part of the world, for service. Everybody has the need to be compassionate and the need to help others. As I go along, I found out that no man in this world can be alone to attend to everything.
As a matter of fact, every time we do projects of service to the community benefitting the children, that’s a Kiwanis moment. Every child is different from another and the needs of children will vary from place to place. But one of the most significant is a project which I do, even up to today after more than 20 years. And that is Sleeping Children Around the World. We hand out bed kits to needy children—6,000 every year.
“Giving until it no longer hurts”
I have people with me who share the same passion. I think we owe our community—sharing of what we have in terms of time, talent and resources. There’s always time to answer the need of our fellow man; it doesn’t take too much of our time. We always find time for things we want to do. God gave us different talents and the best way to use it is to use it in favor of our neighbor or those who are in need. Resources, we have different amounts of resources. But I think, even in my case, we have limited resources. But when you give what you can, they say give until it hurts. The right thing to say is “give until it no longer hurts”—when it becomes a pleasure to share what you have, little or much.” As they say, when you give of your wealth, you are doing philanthropy; when you give of yourself, you are doing service.
People have different capacities to give or to help or to share their resources. The little resources I have I’ve decided to share with the Kiwanis International Foundation or through the Kiwanis International Foundation because in our organization, I have seen that there is true passion. We make the contributions of people worth the dollar, the peso or whatever the currency. In other words, we try our best to deliver, as much as possible, of the help we give our foundation to those who are in need. Of course, there is that indescribable feeling of fulfillment, of joy. I wish I could have done more. I wish I had the resources to give more. But, what I have, I share freely and completely to the organization that I love.
Reaping what you sow
The love and care you invest in children today, you will reap tomorrow in terms of love, care and compassion for you. In the Philippines, we are so conscious of people as they mature, as they age. I had a conversation with somebody about different cultures that have different levels of respect and regard for people as they age. And I think in our culture, as you grow older you feel that what you invest in the young, in terms of care, you reap back in respect, regard and care.
I’m calling out to all who can see me or hear me: If you have the capacity, be generous with your time, talent and resources. The Kiwanis International Foundation assures you that it will get to the right beneficiaries, do a lot of good and answer a need that is real and pressing. None of it will go to waste. I encourage those of us who can be generous, be generous enough to share the happiness, the fulfillment and the joy that each one of us shares whenever we give to a worthy cause.