Allan Pineda Lindo is known to the whole world as Apl.de.ap, one of the members of famous international music group The Black Eyed Peas. He was born to an African-American father and a Filipina mother from Pampanga.
During the holidays, he goes home to the Philippines to visit his family here. And every time he comes back, he'd see children in their neighborhood running around and doing nothing. He couldn't help but compare them to kids in the US who are already computer-savvy.
Two and a half years ago, Apl called his mom to buy a building that can house 25 computers. That was the birth of his foundation through the We Can Be Anything advocacy in October 2011. The campaign encourages Filipino children to stay in school and strives to build at least 2,000 classrooms in remote Philippine areas. The foundation also envisions a school that will prepare marginalized, creative, and gifted students to become global professionals in arts and technology.
Last August 18, 2013, Apl invited his mentees from the Voice Philippines to his home in Sapang Bato, Pampanga. They visited the students at the National High School where Apl donated classrooms, a computer laboratory, and a recording and music library.
I feel blessed to meet Apl the other day together with some of his VoicePH mentees. I saw for myself how the Hollywood rapper, record producer, musician, artist, Grammy Awardee, and philanthropist is seriously taking his role as a mentor. In between much laughter and great camaraderie, everyone present during the press conference could feel the mutual respect between this humble teacher and his students.
From their stories, I gathered that Apl keeps his team grounded by reminding them to always be positive and continue to be a role model for others. The team shared that their closeness has taught them the value of relationships, humility, family, friendship, being a good person, and caring for others. It was evident that Apl has really taken time to get to know each artist. Present that day were Corazon Dela Cruz, Thristan Perfecto, Thor Dulay, Janice Javier, Penelope Matanguihan, and Cara Manglapus.
"Involving the team in the foundation is part of mentoring," explained Apl. "All of us came from nothing. Even though we don't have much, we go out and help. That's a good value to have as a musician." I was further impressed when he admitted, "Medyo pilipit na ang Tagalog ko but I always make sure I have the values I learned growing up in the Philippines."
Mentoring and coaching is natural to Apl.de.ap as he remembers people in his life who gave their time to support, encourage, and empower him to be where he is today. "I am willing to share my talent and time to the community. It is important to give back and, given the opportunity, I would do the same thing all over again. What goes around, comes around."
If only the powerful people seated in various government positions would think the same way, I'm sure our country would reach greatness in no time. Kudos to Apl and his mentees for the inspiration. I hope what they are doing would resonate in more peoples' hearts who would, like them, be willing to always pay it forward.