Gifted kids:  Then and now

Nurturing the gift at a young age helped pave the way for maximizing the true potentials of Francis “Kiko” Galura, James Flores and Shaira Luna.  These three talented individuals are now living successful lives and are utilizing their gifts in order to spark change in the modern world. They are living testimonies that if children's talents are nurtured well, there will be infinite opportunities for them as they grow older.

Francis "Kiko" Galura is passionate about storytelling and writing. He was featured in a commercial as the young boy who had a knack for reciting Tagalog poems. "I started reading at two years old and writing at three, but it wasn't until later in elementary school that I had a full grasp of my talents and passion for creativity,” he said. Kiko stressed that improving one’s potential is an everyday process. "It's half the journey towards the best version of yourself. I mean you were born with a gift, now you've got to put in the effort to constantly nurture it, otherwise you will never realize your full potential," he stated. Today, Francis is a successful publisher. He considers it as his biggest accomplishment because he gives storytellers like him the opportunity to share their tales to the world. “You know as a young creative, I have built my career over the backbone of years of hard work, chasing opportunities and constantly seeking self-improvement, which is why I get a great sense of fulfillment knowing that with my current profession as a publisher, I get to give other storytellers and creatives a voice and a venue to showcase their gifts. Being able to do that at this point in my career, is probably what I consider my greatest accomplishment so far,” he said.

Meanwhile, James Flores who mastered discussing the solar system at a young age is now an aspiring teacher. His passion for sharing knowledge became his driving force to chase his dream of becoming an educator. "I want to teach psychology at a college level. I feel that to teach truly is a calling, one I didn't expect would be after me until halfway through my college years and it's a responsibility I want to face head on to the best of my abilities," he stated. With the help of his family, James discovered his true potential.  "As a kid, I was made aware of my gift around the age of 5 when my grandmother had me assessed for giftedness. Before that it just felt normal for me as a kid to have a lot of unique interests from astronomy to geography, to sports and games and everything else in between." He added that his family constantly inspires him to strive to be the best version of himself. "Some of my biggest inspirations are my cousins that I grew up with. They've always challenged me to be good at what I do, we were very competitive, so what started out as a mission to simply do better than them at certain sports or games spilled out and was applied in real life. My grandmother is another inspiration, she was a music teacher which is similar to what I do right now to pass the time and just like my cousins, she always made sure I had good character to accompany my gifts," he stated.

One of the many talented Filipinos who is making a name for herself in the international scene is Shaira Luna. She mastered the human anatomy when she was young and this gift has aided her in capturing the best features of a human body as a photographer. “I have been a professional photographer for almost nine years. I shoot mainly fashion editorials, magazine covers, fashion campaigns, such as the ones you see on billboards and stores, and I am represented at East Jed Root, the Southeast Asian office of one of the premier international agencies for behind-the-scene creatives,” she relayed. The talented photographer stressed that one should constantly explore the world to unravel his true passion. "Nourishing one’s potential can make all the difference in the world. They always say everyone has a gift, but sometimes you won’t really know until you give yourself a little push. For some, it’s a push many times in different directions, while a few lucky ones find their calling by accident. The chances of finding out what you’re good at are definitely higher when you seek out new knowledge, exposure yourself to many things, and share what you already know with other people," she said.

Without a doubt, those who choose to nurture their gifts and continually strive to be better like Kiko, James and Shaira are the ones who maximize their unlimited potentials. These individuals have proven that following your passion brings enormous success in life. Truly, with dedication and strong familial support, a child can achieve his dreams.