Always with a bright smile on his face, Mark has never shied away from a challenge. An outgoing and very talented young man, who just turned 18, Mark de Leon came to Stairway when he was 13 years old. He was rescued from a detention center in Manila. The conditions of life there were no laughing matter for him. During storytelling sessions, Mark would sometimes share his experiences about the abuses he and other children endured while in the detention centers.
But that did not squelch Mark’s spirit to want to uplift himself from his situation. When our social workers interviewed possible candidates for Stairway’s program, Mark expressed how he wanted to change his life for the better—he was chosen to join the program.
In Stairway, Mark took to the program right away excelling in academics, sports, dance and drama. His positive attitude and interpersonal skills landed him a position as peer motivator in the Residential Program. He undertook the task with verve and worked hard to be a good role model and motivator for the children.
Now five years later, Mark has become a junior staff in Stairway—a position well-earned for a young person who started out as a client in SFI’s program.
Welcome aboard, Mark!