IDEA News for the ‘what happened in 2015’ Category

Changing Lives

Posted on: August 27th, 2015 by Athena
Beautiful home

Beautiful home

The Philippines is a land of stark contrasts, there are those that live in homes the size of resorts with servants and all the comforts one could dream of while right outside their gate are families living in bamboo shacks without electricity, running water, or food for each meal.  At first sight it would be easy to judge the rich and wonder why they don’t care or aren’t doing enough for those in need.  Yet if each of us are honest, we too walk past those in need each day and never see them.

A homeless man on the street, someone begging for spare change, children left in foster care in desperate need of loving homes, all these needs seem to fade to black as we go about our day worrying about our own lives, needs and wants.

Is it really possible to help them anyway, we ask?  When would it end? If I give to one would I have to give to them all? So not knowing what to do, we often choose to do nothing.

What if… it were possible to change a life?  What if….a hand up was all they needed to make it on their own?  Would you do it? Would you give?


John's Tarp Home

John’s Tarp Home

Just two blocks down from our IDEA office here in Tagbilaran, Bohol a single dad lived under a tattered tarp with his son and three daughters.  For five years he struggled to find work to provide for them, but looking for work meant leaving his younger children to fend for themselves throughout the day. When it rained they would crawl under the tarp and try to avoid the mud that puddled underneath.  Sanitation and cleanliness were impossible.

IDEA Staff and Founder, Dennis Drake

IDEA Staff and Founder, Dennis Drake


Each summer IDEA’s teachers and caseworkers go out looking for deaf children. This summer they came across this man and his children.  His son, John who is nine years old is deaf.    When IDEA Founder Dennis Drake was made aware of the situation life took a dramatic turn for John and his family.



John and his new dorm mates

John and his new dorm mates

John was taken out to IDEA’s deaf school in Loon and introduced to the Dorm Mom, teachers and students.  He was instantly accepted and loved and though he didn’t fully understand why he had to leave his family, he instantly had 50 new brothers and sisters.   With new clothes, a bath, and nice warm meals he quickly started learning signs.  By the end of the first week he knew his name and most of the alphabet and had a new older “brother” that was showing him the ropes.

Dennis offered John’s father a job as a painter working in IDEA’s shop.  He fits in well and is a great addition to our staff.

This was a start, but something still needed to be done about their living situation.  So while John was away at his first week of school, IDEA’s deaf construction crew along with the help of the vocational students from Bohol Deaf Academy, put together a home for John and his family.

John's new home

John’s new home


Friday came and John boarded a bus with his new older brother and left Loon headed for home.  He had no idea what was in store for him!  There where his tattered tarp had stood was a new house.  Complete with flooring, a dresser, a bed, living room set, food and new clothes for him and his sisters.  And a group of deaf students and workers all welcoming him and his family to the IDEA family.

Vocational Students from BDA welcoming family to new home.

Vocational Students from BDA welcoming family to new home.




It’s been over a month since this day.  John’s father is learning how to be a responsible worker and father and John continues to thrive in Loon.  He loves learning and is very bright.  His sisters are now clean and fed and able to attend the local day care.

What an amazing thrill to get to see lives changed so dramatically!  Getting to see the staff and students be so excited about helping John and his family.  Knowing they were once recipients of this same hand up and knowing how far they’ve been able to go since.

It doesn’t take much to change a life.  Just be prepared, because when you give to those in need the life that may change the most is yours!

John joins the IDEA family.

John joins the IDEA family.

John's family with Dennis Drake receiving their new home.

John’s family with Dennis Drake receiving their new home.




The Call of God

Posted on: August 11th, 2015 by Athena

The Dunningtons Inspiring Story


Veronica and John Dunnington

Did you ever wonder when Jesus called the disciples to drop what they were doing and come follow Him what happened to all their stuff? Did they just leave their nets, boats, bait and every other thing they owned and walk away from it?

It is a courageous few who are willing to heed the call of God and give up everything to follow that call. John and Veronica Dunnington are a beautiful example of just that. Back in 1989 when John was on a two week mission trip to Bohol he knew this was the place God was calling him to be long term. So, by September of 1993, he, his wife and their two children (ages 3 and 4) began their new life here in Bohol. With $500 in their pockets and only $200 a month in support, they showed up here not knowing where they would live or what they would do. On their way to look at a home to rent they saw the sign for a Deaf Dormitory.

Veronica is deaf, so they knew in an instant that they were in the right place. John took a trip down to the Garden Cafe and met up with Dennis Drake, Founder of IDEA and that’s how it all began.

During the eight years that followed, the Dunningtons planted 5 churches here in Bohol, including IDEA’s Deaf church in the district of Tiptip.

By May of 2001, the Dunnington family returned to the U.S. to raise additional support and ended up staying in the Washington State area for the next 12 ½ years.

A year ago they came back to Bohol for a two week visit and once again God drew their hearts back. Now, with twelve years of accumulated stuff they sold it and/or gave it all away once again, to come live in a tiny room in the back of the church building!

We are so glad to have John and Veronica back here in Bohol ministering to the needs of our deaf families. They have already started a Men’s Ministry, Prayer Meetings,
Home Visitations and are taking the deaf out for outreach opportunities. They have also found some talented young ladies who are willing to head up their children’s church and a fresh wind of excitement is blowing through the church as their numbers increase daily.



IDEA’s Littlest Students

Posted on: August 11th, 2015 by Athena

littleststudentsThis summer our teachers once again searched the hills on the Island of Bohol and identified 106 new deaf children. We held four orientation camps of which 57 of those children attended. To date we have 50 new students with 32 of them only 5 years old.

This is the first year we’ve had so many this young, much to our delight. The earlier we find them, the greater the chance they will quickly learn sign language which allows them to retain information and excel in their studies.

Though we are all thrilled with the opportunity to have these young children, our Prep teachers and Dorm Mothers bear the bulk of the hard work. Many of these children can’t feed themselves, don’t know how to use indoor plumbing or how to brush their teeth, and most significantly have never been away from their mothers before.

With tear filled eyes, parents leave their children in the arms of the Dorm Mom’s and make one of the hardest decisions they’ve ever had to make. Ultimately wanting what is best for their child means they will only get to see them every other weekend and on holidays. At five years old, that’s a lot to ask of any parent or child.

Within the first week the new recruits are starting to understand their new surroundings and enjoying the chance to play with other kids who don’t make fun of them.

The older students are so loving and patient with the young ones, many remembering their own first days away from home and learning how to communicate. They are a tremendous help to the Dorm Moms and teachers.

It’s not long before the little ones are so comfortable at school and with their new friends that they can’t wait to get back to school after their weekend visits home. Their joy and excitement makes it a bit easier for their parents to part with them.

We feel so blessed to be given the trust of the parents to give their children the chance at a life full of hope and promise.

Rescued From Poverty

Posted on: August 11th, 2015 by Athena
Ethel outside the Jeepney she lived in before coming to IDEA

Ethel outside the Jeepney she lived in before coming to IDEA

When IDEA teachers and staff scout the island for deaf children, it’s not unusual for them to find kids living in very impoverished and remote areas. This year, Ethel Sacro’s situation was particularly heart wrenching.

Many of our students live in some sort of dilapidated shack but Ethel’s family had only a damaged jeepney for shelter. They’d been living there for approximately 8 years. Her parents separated when she was 1 year old leaving her in her mother’s care. Her mother is now in a relationship with a jeepney driver.

At one point, the family had a small hut where everyone lived but when the earthquake hit in 2013, everything was destroyed. Ethel’s family also had tried renting a house but her step-father could hardly afford it with his meager income as a jeepney driver.

In the face of such pressing situations, Ethel’s education was nowhere on the list of priorities. Most of the time, she was left at home helping her mother with chores and caring of her 3 little half-siblings. When her siblings would leave for school, Ethel often wished there was a way she could go along. But no one had a way to communicate and explain to her why she couldn’t go.

Often, Ethel would sneak her siblings’ paper and pencils and try to imitate the letters she saw her brothers and sisters writing. She was grateful when her older siblings cared to teach her how to write her name.

After seeing her husband’s deaf sister thrive at Bohol Deaf Academy Ethel’s aunt was persuaded that sending her niece to a Special Education Center would be a beneficial experience. She encouraged Ethel’s mother to allow her to attend and agreed to support Ethel’s necessities while in school.

At 9 years old, Ethel enrolled in Prep class in Loon SPED Center. During the Orientation Camp and all through the first day of class, Ethel’s eyes were glowing with excitement. Finally, she had the chance to be like her siblings who went to school everyday. Everything was a new experience for Ethel. It was her first time attending
a flag raising ceremony and participating in calisthenics.

Today, Ethel is an eager student learning her first ABC’s, numbers, colors and shapes. She adjusted to her new environment very easily and is responsible in the dorms. Above all, learning how to communicate with new friends has brought Ethel undeniable joy. Access to education and a healthy living environment has completely changed this little
girl’s life for the better.