“The greatest thing that happened to me is being given a chance to reform. I realized and accepted that I needed help to fix myself and my life.”

This has been the testimony of Eliseo Balogo Jr., 28 years old, and a former child in conflict with the law (CICL) from Polomolok, South Cotabato. He is now a Pastor and a social worker.

Before he could happily serve the church and share the word of God to children, Pastor Eli, during his teenage years, was involved in stealing, gambling, and taking drugs. He even sold illegal drugs, and at one point, face a possible jail sentence.

Back then, he was curious to try new things, had been with the wrong group of friends, and grew apart from his family.

Fortunately for Eli, everything changed when he stayed at Bahay Pag-Asa (BPA) in General Santos City.

“The center was like a home to me. I met several people there who truly inspired me to be better and be the best version of myself,” he stressed.

During his stay at the center, Eli often thought of his brother. He had realized then that he still had a family whom he can lean on.

“Every day, my brother inspires me to be better and live with purpose. I want to serve the people, do social work, and inspire children,” Pastor Eli said.

After staying at the center for two years, Eli finished Bachelor of Science in Social Work in General Santos City.

Apart from this, he also fulfilled his dream of inspiring more children and leading them to the right path. He then decided to serve the church by becoming a Pastor.

Even in the middle of the pandemic, Eli continues to share the word of God with the children in Polomolok. By sharing his experience, he hopes that children would learn from his life lessons. He is also doing volunteer work in the distribution of food packs to families affected by the border lockdowns.Pastor Eli is a living proof that ang batang nagkamali, kayang magsimula muli. Given the guidance and intervention support for CICL, children who had the same circumstance as his can change and become role models in the future.