“Once an SM scholar, always an SM scholar.”
This is an adage beneficiaries of SM Foundation’s college scholarship program hold dearly. Their journey to bringing out their limitless abilities doesn’t end when they toss their graduation caps proudly up in the air, it continues for as long as they live.
It’s not only the honor that’s ingrained in their hearts, but also the values instilled by the SM group—one of which is spreading social good.
Passing down the kindness
Melvin (in red, first from left) spends time with his family, who serves as his inspiration to work hard.
SM scholar alumnus Melvin Matanos proved that persistence will open limitless opportunities. Now working as an engineer in New York, U.S.A, his inspiring past remains vivid.
“Poverty motivated me to study hard and inspired me to help my family in the future,” he reminisced, explaining why it has always been his goal to help his family.
Amidst the challenges of being a fresh graduate in 2004, he persisted until had the opportunity to work internationally in the Middle East and the United States. These were life-changing experiences that enabled him to help his family more. “I started buying our own house and put up a small business. Extending support to my brother and sister in building their own financial resources was my top priority.”
In his relentless pursuit of mastery and skill enhancement, he embarked on graduate studies. The culmination of this dedication came when he achieved his Master of Science in Data Science from the City University of New York, marked by academic excellence that earned him a remarkable grade point average of 3.97 out of 4.0.
“In the United States, rapidly changing technologies, and innovations, especially in the field of data science led me to complete my master’s degree. I found this field very important in my current role as a Staff Engineer because it combines tools, methods, and technology to generate meaning from data. Technically, my background in statistics, computer science, and mathematics helps me excel in the program.”
“As an SM Scholar, I already have the foundation of being hardworking, submitting work on time, actively participating in class, and achieving high grades. Those characteristics are the significant factors that help me land a job in the United States,” he added.
Paying it forward
Another SM scholar alumnus spreading social good through technology is Darmae Tan. According to her, the greatest lesson she learned is that it matters to pay it forward as no one has made it through life without receiving help, and to make this world a better place for the future generation is to make it less difficult for each other.
This inspired her to launch Errandboy at the height of the pandemic. Beyond providing help for those who had difficulty going around during the lockdown, Darmae’s venture provided jobs to the people in her community.
“Errandboy is a pandemic-born business as it aimed to fill a gap that time is given, we were in lockdown and not mobile. The bulk of the business then was providing service to senior citizens, mothers, and families buying much-needed supplies for their homes safely and conveniently,” she started.
Amidst the rising tide of unemployment in the country,, Darmae’s company provides full-time employment opportunities and healthcare benefits to its workforce.
“We made seemingly insurmountable tasks possible even for those who were in another province and even in a different country altogether. We uplift the lives of Cebuanos near and far but close to home what we are most proud of is that we were able to employ our loyal drivers and staff when they needed it most. Today, we continue to make Cebuanos’ lives easier by doing any and all errands for them – safe, convenient, and worry-free,” she added.
Taking SM Foundation’s philosophy of people helping people to heart, the partner company of Errandboy MYT SoftDev Solutions established MYT Foundation. The foundation financially supports high school and college scholars and student-athletes. The foundation was also active during Typhoon Odette by providing and facilitating the sourcing and distribution of drinkable water to families, especially infants and children.
Darmae and Melvin stand as shining examples among the over 4,000 SM college scholar graduates to date, exemplifying the core values of SM Foundation. Their inspiring stories reflect the vision of SM group founder, Henry Sy, Sr., as they continue to influence and uplift the lives of their families and communities.