Hawaii teenager uses profile to gather supplies for Philippines school

Miss Teen Philippines Hawaii, a member of the Church, feels serving others is a way to show Christlike love

When Marielle Magdirila from the Waipahu Hawaii Stake competed for Miss Teen Philippines Hawaii, she made a pledge to donate school supplies to students in the Philippines.

“As I planned to visit the Philippines later in the month, I thought, what better way to build my platform than to serve my community there,” she said. “My mom inspired me to collect school supplies for a school in our local province. I knew I wasn’t the only person to have unused school supplies. It felt like the perfect match.”

In December 2022, Marielle won the title of Miss Teen Philippines Hawaii, and within a week, she hosted a school supply drive, inviting Waipahu High School leaders to help pack the donations. They received enough donations to create more than 100 student supply bundles.

“I felt a strong desire to be a change. I had a purpose to fulfill. This service was my way of showing Christlike love,” she said.

Friends and family help Marielle Magdirila package school supplies in Waipahu, Hawaii, on Dec. 13, 2022. The bundles arrived at Almaguer North Elementary School in Bambang Nueva Viscaya, Philippines, in early 2023. | Marielle Magdirila

With the help of her family and friends, Marielle then packed and shipped the supplies to Almaguer North Elementary School in Bambang Nueva Viscaya, Philippines.

She also went to the Philippines to meet with the local mayor and school leadership ahead of the arrival of the donated school supplies. “They didn’t expect such a wonderful turnout,” she said.

The two boxes arrived three months later at the school. The school made a banner and sent cheerful videos as a way of showing thanks.

“Seeing the pictures and videos sent by the staff, my heart was filled with joy,” Marielle said. “The children are equipped to learn with the proper materials.”

Marielle Magdirila, Miss Teen Philippines Hawaii, visits Bambang Nueva Viscaya, Philippines, on Jan. 2, 2023. Marielle organized a school supply drive for an elementary school in the area. | Provided by Marielle Magdirila

Marielle is now a candidate for Miss Hawaii’s Teen and planning more school-supply drives for schools in the Philippines and Hawaii.

Meanwhile she said she has been learning more about JustServe — a website and app where volunteers can find projects around them — to utilize it in her future efforts to serve.

“There’s no better feeling than the feeling you get when making an impact,” she said. “Service brings people together and inspires us to do more. It’s up to you to be the change.” 

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