Lynn Roy Named 2023 Manotick Messenger Person of the Year

(Featured Image: Lynn Roy and the Manotick LCBO staff were visited by Carleton MPP Goldie Ghamari Sun., Dec. 17. Ghamari presented Roy with a scroll on behalf of the Government of Ontario, praising her and acknowledging her charity work.)

The Manotick Messenger has named Lynn Roy as its 2023 Al Corace Person of the Year.

Roy, an employee at the Manotick LCBO, is the CEO of the Home for Alternative Learning and Motivational Strategies (HALMS) in the Philippines. She was one of five women who started the school a decade ago at the southside garbage dumpsite in San Pedro Laguna in Manila, There are more than 1,000 families living in the garbage dumpsite. The HALMS school has given some of the children living there a chance for an education. The school also holds basic cooking lessons for mothers.

What makes Roy’s story special is that every single dollar she has ever made working at the Manotick LCBO has gone toward the operation and expenses of HALMS.

Each year, Roy takes a one-month leave of absence without pay and goes to the Philippines to work at the school as a volunteer.

Two weeks ago, Carleton MPP Goldie Ghamari went to the Manotick LCBO to meet Roy and present her with a scroll from the Government of Ontario.

“We were living in the Philippines,” Roy said of the HALMS school. “I was part of a group of five women who started a project. We wanted to make a difference.”

After seeing the extreme conditions that the people in the dumpsite were living in, they decided to do something to make a difference. They decided to open a school to help children in the dumpsite and founded HALMS. They did some research, came up with a plan, and connected with Miriam del Rosario, founder of Birthright Educators Foundation.

“They are the poorest of the poor,” she said. “They have no water, no electricity, and no opportunity. They are the forgotten children.”

There are more than 1,000 families living in the San Pedro Laguna garbage dumpsite in Manila.

With charitable donations and help from friends and family, volunteers constructed the building with mostly recycled material from the local recycle depot. The modest concrete school is designed with one classroom on the ground floor and a small reading room and rest area on the second floor.

It is also used as a place of refuge for the children, if the need arises. In fact, three of the children attending HALMS had lived there for over a year.

“Night time at the dump is very dangerous,” Roy said. “It is a different world. The school is a safe haven for the students when they feel threatened or in danger.”

The school opened its doors in June, 2014l. It school provides children with an academic curriculum, a safe schooling environment, a healthy lifestyle that includes two meals per day, school supplies, a school uniform and shoes, transportation, cooking classes, arts and craft activities, and gardening and culinary classes for the mothers.

Roy said that even turning the life of one of these children around through education would make the entire effort worthwhile.

“There was no way we could make a school big enough for all the children,” Roy said. “We had to be realistic about how many children we could help.”

The school transitioned from teenagers to younger children.

“To be in the program, they had to be attending school,” Roy said. “It was difficult with teenagers. There are other things going on in their lives, and many of them are out there trying to provide for their families. The poverty they live in is something you can’t imagine until you see it. They are scavengers – they have to do that to survive.”

The five women left the Philippines, and four of them moved on from the school. Roy, however, stayed involved in the school and took on a greater role.

“The kids are getting an education, and we are also working with the mothers,” she said. “We are teaching them about nutrition, and teaching them how to prepare food.”

Although Roy is the sole remaining founder involved in the school on a day-to-day basis, she does rely on the help of people whom she says are extraordinary.

“Miriam del Rosario is the Mother Teresa of the Philippines,” she said. “She is incredible. Her husband, Jun, is a pastor who also plays a key role in the school.”

Roy said it was important that they hire a teacher who understands the children. Danielle del Rosa Abrasaldo, the daughter of Miriam and Jun, is a certified teacher and delivers the academic program. Her teacher’s assistant is Helen Martinez, who also lives at the dump.

“It was important for us to have local teachers who can relate to the teachers and their families,” she said. “We wanted the kids to feel comfortable. It was important that they learn in Tagolog, not in English.”

While Roy is undertaking this project, she continues to work at the Manotick LCBO. Every dollar she makes goes to the school.

“I guess I work for the school,” she says with a smile. “The school needs the financial help. A lot of people ask me about the school and how things are going when they see me. Some people in the community have taken an interest in the school.”

Roy is humble and almost embarrassed when people praise her for the work she does for the school. She sees herself as someone who is just trying to make a difference and give some kids a chance in life they would never have. Others, from her friends to her co-workers and even people who hear her story for the first time, see her as more than that. Words like ‘angel’ and ‘saint’ are tossed around.

“I won’t be able to do this forever,” she says. “Hopefully we can get everything in place so that the school will have enough support to keep going when the day comes that I can’t do this anymore.”

To donate to the HALMS school, visit .