The Spirit of Stairway

Before Stairway, it did not seem possible to me that a place on Earth existed where there was nothing but positivity, thankfulness, and compassion. The spirit of Stairway is to give and keep giving, to treat others how you want to be treated, and to understand that past experiences do not define you as an individual. At Singapore American School, our chapter of the Stairway Foundation, the SAS Stairway Service Club, is one which admires and cherishes these values that we have learned from our numerous visits to the Stairway Foundation.

Upon arrival to Stairway, every SAS student, regardless of whether or not they had come before, is greeted with a loud and proud “Welcome to Stairway!” by the staff and volunteers who live there. As they step out of the rickety van which drove them up the hill, they are greeted with the bright yellow walls and “Every Human Has Rights” mural. These physical attributes of Stairway say so much about the program, even before the SAS students meet the boys who currently live in the foundation.

When the SAS students first met the Stairway boys, we were greeted with nothing but polite smiles and positivity. These boys have been through unspeakable  hardships in their lives, but  Stairway Foundation has taught them how to deal with and overcome these challenges.  Stairway Foundation, complete with professional psychological aid, shapes former street boys into smart, energetic, and curious young men who are destined for great success in the future. The boys made the SAS students feel comfortable as their guests, visitors, and, ultimately, friends, and were endlessly proud to show them what life is like on their little beach property on Puerto Galera.

The activities that we did with the boys included a wide range of skills. The activities included music, dancing, baking, academics, sports, and more. Though the activities were positive experiences on both ends, what really mattered and what we truly valued the time that we were spending with the Stairway boys. As much as we were helping the boys, they were helping us to understand what life is like outside of the small bubble we call Singapore. Through their strength and ability to overcome, I was taught that no matter what, things do get better. It may take time, professional assistance, or many just a shoulder to lean on, but things do get better.

After completing my second trip to Stairway Foundation, I am proud to say that I can easily call Stairway my home away from home. Stairway is a utopian foundation, and being involved with it has taught me how to love and how to overcome. Ever since my first visit to Stairway in November of 2015, not a day has gone by when I have not thought of the boys who live there. Lessons which I have learned from the boys and the staff at Stairway will stick with me forever. From Stairway, I have learned the power of showing others that you care. At the Stairway Foundation, there is a culture of synergy. Everything which gets done it done together, and the boys are taught that the help of others is sometimes all that is needed to get their lives back on track after an obstacle has stood in their way. This culture that has been created by the staff and founders of Stairway is makes the boys’ worlds a little bit better every single day.

SAS students feel honored to have the privilege of being involved with an organization which has taught them so much. We are thankful to be invited back to the Stairway foundation every year, and not a day goes by that we do not miss the company of these 15-20 strong and inspirational young men. We are thankful that our company is appreciated at the Stairway foundation, and we are glad to be able to do what we can to help Stairway achieve its goals. From our chapter at SAS, we will remain actively connected with the Stairway staff to remain updated on how we can contribute to the goals of the foundation.

Stairway is a beautiful place full of beautiful people who know the true meaning of how to give, care, and improve oneself. I am forever grateful to have the ability to come here every year, and I hope that Stairway continues to change lives through communication and collaboration.

Watch the video made by the students from Singapore American School here

Teagan is a student from the Singapore American School