Steps Forward for the Philippines is a charitable fund created by a newly appointed Principal dancer of American Ballet Theatre, Stella Abrera. It is dedicated to serving the educational and creative needs of the children affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan.
Super Typhoon Haiyan, the most powerful storm in recorded history ever to make landfall, ripped through central Philippines on November 8, 2013. The storm affected 16 million people (including 5.9 million children), leaving 6,300 dead and four million displaced.
I created Steps Forward for the Philippines, in partnership with Operation USA, to respond to the urgent need for educational access in Guiuan, the coastal municipality hit first and hardest by Haiyan. Operation USA is building a new school in the region and the goal of Steps Forward for the Philippines is to raise $20,000, which will directly provide educational equipment such as desks, chairs, chalkboards, audio-visual equipment, and computers for this new school.
This past September, James Whiteside and I appeared as guest artists performing Giselle with Ballet Philippines. It was an honor to dance with the artists of BP and to perform, for the first time, in the country of my heritage. But the highlight of my time in the Philippines was my visit to Guiuan, where I surveyed Operation USA’s educational initiatives and met the children who will benefit from SFP's new school supplies.
It was a deeply affecting experience. Everywhere I looked in Guiuan, I saw evidence of catastrophic loss. And yet the students exhibited only determination and optimism. They greeted me warmly and excitedly led me on a tour of the nearly-completed structures of their new school. They were thrilled even to receive the pencils, paints, and notebooks I had brought with me from Manila. I left Guiuan wishing I could do more for these kids.
In March 2015, the elementary school celebrated its grand opening, and there are reports that the children are enjoying their new school immensely.
Please join me! Let's continue to help the children of Guiuan take steps forward into a bright future.
Thank you (and salamat),
For more information and updates on Operation USA’s recovery efforts in the Philippines, please visit the Operation USA’s Blog “On the Road to Recovery in the Philippines”
Operation USA is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization, and all contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by U.S. law through Operation California, Inc. Operation USA is a d.b.a. of Operation California. Federal Tax I.D. #95-3504080