Stairway peer motivators lead Elsie Gaches creative workshops

Peer Motivator, Ismael, 16, show children how to make a puppetsApril 2013

Residents from Elsie Gaches Village, a government facility catering to mentally challenged youth, made their annual trip to Stairway (now going on 21 years).  The childlren enjoyed two weeks of beach, play and creative activities facilitated by the Stairway peer motivators.

MarJon -- former Stairway kid -- budding street rapper

Marjon, former Stairway kid and street rapperMarch 2013

Rap music is never far from our ears here in Stairway where the children are always beating out some rap tune by local Filipino rap band Gloc9 or by beating out some homegrown rap created by Kuya Johnny, one of Stairway's housefathers. So, it was no surprise when Marjon, a former resident of Stairway, showed up after 11 years, that he would also be rapping--but as a career!!!!

Smokey Mountain Kaibigan Singers lift voices to the heavens

Smokey Mountain Kaibigan SingersMarch 2013

Soaring summer temperatures rolled in the Easter holidays in late March. Stairway celebrated with a fun Easter egg hunt for the Stairway children and children from the Smokey Mountain Kaibigan Singers. Lead by virtuoso choir leader, Jun Mapa, the Smokey Mountain Singers capped off the Easter week with a splendid concert.  Click to watch the concert.

Stairway children and staff enjoy 3-day music and arts festival

Malasimbo Music and Arts FestivalMarch 2013

No sooner than the Youth for Change camps were over did Stairway children, staff and volunteers headed for the foothills of Mount Malasimbo for three fun filled days of music, art and culture at the 3rd annual Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival. Renowned as the first international music and arts festival of its caliber in the Asia-Pacific, this year, the legendary Jimmy Cliff and the soulful Joss Stone headlined the festival.  It was a tremendous experience!

Thank you to the D’Aboville Family for inviting the Stairway kids and staff to attend.

Look Out Loud photovoice exhibit gives voice to those without a voice

Image taken by Marivic B, age 15March 2013

In late March, Mangyan students from Baclayan, Stairway scholars from San Antonio Island, and the Stairway kids presented an impressive photo-voice exhibit about their lives and their communities. The exhibit called Look Out Loud is the brain child of Meghan Harris, a former Stairway volunteer, and Maggie Cissel. The objective of the Look Out Loud project is to give voice to those who have no voice through photography and storytelling. Maggie and Meghan have travelled with the Look Out Loud project to India, the Philippines and presently Guatemala.

Over the past 2 months during their stay in Stairway, they have worked with 30 participants and collected more than 5,000 photographs!  Please check out their blog and Facebook page.



Rhythmic cups game inspires a thoughtful poem by Youth for Change participant

Children play the cups gameFebruary 2013

Today was mainly focused on Children's Rights. From the activity the day before, it was clear that our SAS group knew nothing about these rights. We watched videos, beginning with a young speaker who went to the UN Conference to speak out against the way that the governments and corporations of the world seemed to have no regard for their environment in their quest for expansion. We listened to one of the Stairway kids, Daniel give us a testimony of his life story. We watched Stairway's very own animations that gave us a sense of the kinds of ways that people exploit children. The combination of learning of the dilemmas that the street kids face and the Children's Rights was emotionally heavy. In the night, we watched the play that Stairway uses to educate the people who come, and then we played the cups game as a large group. It was a relieving end to a tiring day. Today was the day that we really started to bond with the kids. We would spend all our free time playing games and having fun together. 

This poem is about one moment when we were all sitting on a stage playing the cups game together.

Youth for Change 2013-transforming humanity

Youth for Change 2013February 2013

Not only were the Lego blocks a huge success with the Stairway kids, they were also a wonderful way to engage students in discussion about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Throughout the months of February and March, we welcomed students from international schools in Manila, Singapore, Korea and Cairo. Students from Korea had the added benefit of spending a few days up at the Stairway farm in Baclayan before they came to the Stairway campus.  During their stay in Baclayan, the students interacted with Mangyan students, learned about Mangyan culture, planted trees and learned to make Coco Jam.

Click to view images

Lego blocks spark Stairway kids' imaginations

Lego donationFebruary 2013

LEGO which is a shorten version of leg godt (play well in Danish) was a tremendous hit with Stairway kids. Last February, six large boxes of colorful Lego bricks arrived in Stairway igniting the children’s imaginations and ushering in endless hours of creative fun. These timeless plastic toys were donated by LEGO.

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