A good way to get involved with Virlanie Foundation and bring back the smile to the street children is to organize activities for our children. You can organize a party in one of our homes or outside the Foundation, organize educational trips or outings like museum, zoo, theater, swimming, and etc. The Virlanie children love these activities because they can meet new friends, learn while having fun, and discover new places. You can become a "kuya" (brother) or "ate" (sister) to our children and see how big their smiles can be!
To organize an activity or for more information, please send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at +632 895 3460
WE HAD TO DO IT AGAIN. Our first outreach to Virlanie was an event that unfolded before us. We thought we came prepared. We were armed with our props for storytelling, food we had meticulously prepared, and school supplies we had packed days before.
But we weren't ready for what the kids would give us in return. How do we deal with a kid who cried when we sang "Happy Birthday" to her because no one had ever done it for her before? How did we deserve their hugs and smiles, which they have given so generously, as if we had known each other for the longest time? And, when it was all done, how do we let go?
We had to do it again. Never mind that we were an unlikely band of people united with our admiration for Tom Hiddleston. Never mind that we, as a group, weren't part of any recognized organization (at least, not yet). From the moment we stepped out of Tanglaw Home, we knew we had to come back.
It didn't take us long.
Fans of Tom Hiddleston, best known for his portrayal of Loki in Thor, The Avengers, and Thor The Dark World call themselves Hiddlestoners. This is partly who we are; locally, we are called Hiddles Army Philippines (Hiddles Pinas). But we are also students, doctors, writers, teachers, marketers, artists – an entire spectrum of occupations and transcending generations – meshed together with our collective admiration of Tom. Prior to connecting to Virlanie, we had been involved in various charitable projects where Tom is involved, or those started by his fans.
When Tom volunteered his time to raise awareness for poverty, hunger, and malnutrition in Guinea, it got our minds thinking. These are the same problems that grip our society, and each of us are burdened - not with glorious purpose, as Loki would put it – but with a simple desire to help.
It was not until on one of our meetings that we realized some members had actual volunteer experience, not to mention connections to Virlanie, that we decided to make a move. And so, we celebrated our first year as a group in Virlanie this June 2013.
Our meetings in Hiddles Pinas are called Huddles for Hiddles, wherein each Huddle is a party. That's why the decision on what to do for the kids at Tanglaw was a no-brainer: we would bring the Huddle to them.
Since we enjoyed our first outreach so much, we were eager to put up a second one. Talks about the outreach started as early as July. Our meetings to plan for the outreach were vibrant, creative, and collaborative. Our intention was clear – we wanted to have a bigger party.
We came up with a simple fundraising: "Ang P10 Na Hindi Bitin" (P10 That's Never Short), where we encouraged our members to save P10 each day for Virlanie kids. To our international counterparts, we put up a crowdfunding site through GoFundMe and promoted our outreach through social media.
Within our growing group, we created teams that were named after characters that Tom has played, and encouraged everyone to not only give their money, but also their time.
We thought we'd have the hardest time with sponsorships, being just a rag-tag group of fans that didn't belong to any recognized organization. Yet, we asked, hoped, and prayed – and the surprise came. We were immensely blessed with the support of Hallmark, Faber Castell, Chicken Deli Restaurant, Richwell Trading, URC, San Miguel Corporation, and Jollibee.
Our hearts were full with the amazing support we got. But the best was yet to come.
In our first outreach to Virlanie, we introduced the kids to Tom. The kids loved him, and fondly called him "Kuya Tom". They weren't even fazed that he played the big baddie of The Avengers. When we left, many kids asked us if we would be able to bring Tom to their home. We were stunned.
It was a lofty request. We made no promises to the kids, but we wanted to try. We sent an email to his publicist, sharing our preparations for the outreach, with a request for Tom to do a reading of the story we were going to share to the kids, or to send a signed photo of him that we could give to the house.
Less than a week later, we got an email from his agency with a simple message: "Tom would like to send you some signed photos for your honorable work…he wishes you well in your noble mission."
And just days before the outreach, an envelope arrived, with a faded, written note stuck inside: "I hope this gets to you on time, T." We hit the motherload of all sponsors – we got Tom Hiddleston himself.
But the greatest validation that we got was from the kids. We were welcomed with the same love we got from our first visit. Even the ones from our group who joined us for the first time were not exempted. The kids invited us to eat with them (after we had served one heap of a feast), to help in creating their angels and shakers in time for Christmas, and even put face paint on them (after which, they put the same on us).
After their Christmas gifts were distributed (by no less than Santa Claus and Lady Loki), we presented to the house parents the autographed photo of Tom. Their screams of joy were deafening. The looks on their faces were a mix of amazement, surprise, and joy. It was such a proud and emotional moment for us.
When you're a fan, you can't help but share what you love (and the countless reasons why) to other people. That's the reason why we join fanclubs, attend conventions and concerts, or join collectives.
But to share your fandom to less fortunate kids? It's something that doesn't happen often enough, and to be given the opportunity to do so makes our heart full. That is why it is so hard to pass up the chance to come back. It's getting harder and harder to say no, and we're not about to say it soon.