December 12, 2019

6,000 High School Students Say No to Vices and Harmful Practices

Petronio Genebago, Adventist University of the Philippines, and Adventist Review

During this year’s annual celebration of the Smoking, Alcohol, and Drugs Free Movement (SADFREE Movement), almost 200 students of the Adventist University of the Philippines (AUP) rallied more than 6,000 public high school students to say no to vices and harmful practices on November 8, 2019.

The program is a joint project of the SADFREE Movement, Adventist University of the Philippines, the municipality of Silang, Cavite, and Adventist Community Services of Cavite Adventist Mission.

This year’s celebration, with its theme of “I Simply Choose Not to Use,” aimed to empower AUP students to work with fellow students of eight public high schools around Silang, Cavite, to save them from harmful vices and practices.

To make this mission a reality, the SADFREE Movement held a SADFREE Boot Camp on October 4 and 5 to equip the students to give lectures and lead in team-building activities. Several faculty and guests provided them with drafts for lectures, which included topics such as “Breaking the Habit of Breaking Hearts” (on smoking), “Think, Don’t Drink” (on alcohol), “The Brain and the Beast” (on drugs), “Why Wait?” (on teenage pregnancy), and “I Love My Immune System” (on HIV).

AUP students were divided into eight groups to reach out to all the public high schools of Silang, Cavite, simultaneously on November 8, 2019. Before they were sent off to their respective territories, AUP president Francisco Gayoba led them in a commitment service on November 6, 2019.

Gayoba reminded the students that “the love of Christ compels us” (2 Corinthians 5:14), after relating the story of William Wilberforce and quoting him as saying, “A private faith that does not act in the face of oppression is no faith at all.” Then Gayoba led them in prayer to commit them to God before they went out to be SADFREE advocates.

After the team had served the national high schools of Silang, Cavite, they returned to AUP and shared their experiences at the Philippines International Seventh-day Adventist Church. After an interview as part of a vespers service, leaders honored outgoing SADFREE officers and dedicated incoming officers to the Lord for the next year’s program.

Bulihan National High School principal Cristina Austria, who leads one of the schools that took part in the program, expressed her appreciation to AUP and the SADFREE Movement for advocating a SADFREE lifestyle in Bulihan.

“We thank AUP students and the SADFREE Movement for leading and teaching Bulihan National High School students to be SADFREE. We hope to see you again next year,” Austria said.

SADFREE advocates shared the blessings of being involved in reaching out to their fellow students in Silang public high schools.

“I have been blessed being a part of this movement, and I have not only learned on how to be a good public speaker, but I also developed more interest in a fruitful work for God’s ministries,” said Gemers Angel Orais, a dental medicine student.

Theology student Jerome Esquero agreed.

“To be a blessing to students and teachers in Ulat Integrated School has been a blessing to me as well,” Esquero said. “It was a new experience for me to share the light and knowledge that SADFREE has trained me for. Praise the Lord for the success of the movement.”

Loveliester Floron, another theology student, said he felt blessed by what he called “the love, goodness, and faithfulness of God,” adding, “It was the most unforgettable experience that happened in my life. I have seen and experienced how God works. I praise God for the success of this movement.”