Ms. Hartweg Gives Back to the Philippines


Jane Naylor, Staff Writer

SHS science teacher Juvelyn Hartweg has strong ties to the Philippines. Not only is her mother’s side of the family from the Philippines– Hartweg grew up there. Moving to the United States to attend high school and college, Hartweg remains connected to her Filipino roots through volunteer work and service projects at SHS.

The Philippine Islands are notorious for being hit with natural disasters. In October of 2020, Typhoon Goni, a Category 5 tropical cyclone known as Super Typhoon Rolly in the Philippines, left many Filipinos homeless. After seeing pictures of the destruction, Hartweg was inspired to give back to the country where she was born. In particular, a picture of an elderly woman in a wheelchair who was living in a poorly made “shack” on a rice farm in Luzon, Philippines, motivated Hartweg to do something to help. 

The woman’s wheelchair was stuck in the mud, and she had a makeshift bathroom built out of pieces of wood. When Hartweg asked how much it would cost to build an adequate home for her, she was told it would cost approximately $1,500–which is “cheap” to Americans.

Hartweg considered donating all the money by herself but decided to meet with other Filipino teachers in the area, and together they created a fundraiser to build a home for the woman. 

Unfortunately, the original fundraiser they planned had to be canceled multiple times due to bad weather. Hartweg then brought the fundraiser to the attention of SHS staff members, and many were willing to donate.

During the week prior to Easter, SHS staff members who donated $20 received two Easter lilies. The end of the lily fundraiser procured $300 out of a $600 goal, all from SHS staff members.

With help from this fundraiser, Hartweg said the woman in the photo is now able to build a more satisfactory shelter, which will be “very basic,” about half the size of an SHS classroom. Hartweg noted, “The woman was crying thinking about having a house that big.” Hartweg would like to raise additional money to cover the cost of cinder block walls, which will make the house more of a home. 

Hartweg plans to raise enough money to help more impoverished communities like the ones off of the main island. With a goal of raising $5,000, Hartweg said the fundraiser is not over, as they are trying to raise enough money to fully furnish the house.  If you’d like to donate to this worthy cause, you can email Ms. Hartweg at [email protected]