Cherry Marmes Smyth: Mother of KIDS Philippines

With 1-year-old son Brady, who ‘escorts’ Cherry to community events.

By Danielle Vania Bonus

Throughout the world, we’ve come to know the Philippines as a wonderful travel destination where the locals are accommodating, friendly and its beaches come second to none.  

Yet with the influx of tourists contributing to the Philippine economy, the country still struggles to increase the standard of living in terms of income, health care and education.  

With a heart for children, Cherry Marmes Smyth, former Mrs. Philippines America, set off on a mission to create KIDS Philippines, also known as KPI,  a 501 (c) (3) non-profit charity which focuses on increasing access to education, health care and other critical resources for elementary school children. 

The idea revealed itself to Cherry during her reign as Mrs. Philippines America 2013 where she set off on a humanitarian mission to her hometown in Mindanao.  Not too long after her arrival, Cherry — and her husband, Pete Smyth, a Senior Budget Analyst for Electric Boat Corp. in Groton, Connecticut — saw a serious need to get children in school.  Their hearts moved, they both decided to fund 20 public school students in Cherry’s hometown in Tubod called Barangay Poblacion, in the province of Lanao del Norte. The couple helped deserving children with educational needs such as tuition, school uniforms, school supplies and any other student fees.  

Children from Sergio Mata Elementary School in Tubod,  Lanao del Norte receive their backpacks and school supplies.

Based on the 2017 Annual Poverty Indicators Survey (APIS) 9 percent of children and youth (3.53 out of 39.2 million) in the Philippines from ages 6-24 were not attending school. KIDS Philippines believes it has a chance to lower that rate with its expansion into the Luzon region and eventually into the Visayas. With KPI’s other active chapters in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey, Cherry has a lot on her plate. Thankfully, the diligence in her work is something she prides herself in and her passion continues to move her forward. 

As if Cherry didn’t have enough going on in her life, she also manages her in-house boutique, CMS Collections. The former beauty queen loves clothing and has accumulated a glamorous collection of dresses that she keeps in her basement and sells them at an affordable price.

Throughout the KPI effort, Cherry’s husband has been wonderfully supportive and dedicates his time to the cause as the KPI Treasurer.  He also organizes the Annual KIDS Philippines Charity Golf Tournament in Connecticut.   This is a major fund-raising event for KPI and will be held on July 20, 2019 at Pequot Golf Club, Stonington.  KPI’s headquarters is in CT which neighbors the states the other chapters are in, also making the Smyth residence a close distance to their other chapters. Together, they work beautifully as a team.

Cherry and Pete met in 2005 and wed the following year. ‘Wonderfully supportive husband.’

Their journey as a couple started as an online connection back in 2005.  Pete courageously flew to the Philippines after only knowing Cherry for a short while.  Pete instantaneously knew he was in love and married Cherry in 2006.  On June 17, 2018, Cherry gave birth to her first son, Brady.  She has now devoted her life to be a super mom, caring for Brady, KPI and other ventures.  Though, her main focus is to raise Brady as a loving and generous  person.  Brady recently celebrated his first birthday by sponsoring a feeding program under his name as his birthday gift to the children of Cherry’s hometown in Tubod.  The mission is set to launch on December 10 and go throughout Christmas and New Year’s Eve.  He’ll be travelling with mommy and daddy for the first time to the Philippines this December to see his parents’ birthday wish for him come true.

If you would like to contribute to KIDS Philippines, their “Sponsor the Kids” program is an annual donation of $120 that allows KPI to assist other kids in need throughout the whole year. Any amount is welcome; visit the KPI website at

© The FilAm 2019 

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