Marcus Tappan

Here is what I want you to get out of my story...you can’t suppress your full self nor can you run from your reality.  Embrace and accept your dreams, quirks, abilities, and disabilities! I’m Marcus Tappan and when I embraced my full self, I saw my life change. This...

Brandon Allen

There was brokenness, faith, and community in my home. I grew up in what you would call the “hood” of Detroit, Michigan.  My mother struggled with drug addiction and my father, in response to my mother’s addiction, struggled with drinking. My name is Brandon Allen,...

Abdullah Jeffers

My dad never took out a mortgage.  Every house we’d ever lived in had been built from scratch.  Just imagine it, using your talents to literally create something out of nothing? My name is Abdullah Jeffers, and this is my Crystal Stair. My father taught me the...

Terrence Bradley

When my parents divorced, I made this plan (at the time I didn’t know it was a plan); I’d live with my mom first, then, when the time came, I’d ask to live with my dad.  This plan would allow me to have the best of both worlds and learn necessary lessons I would need...

Donovan Hicks

As Jordan prepared for the interview, I sat in the lobby of my apartment at the baby grand piano. He asked incredulously, “You play the piano too?!” I knowingly flipped through the sheet music, looking for the piece I had to perform at church the next day and without...

Ryan Riley

I’m quiet, but not weak. I move in ways different than most people, but never backward. My disposition is reserved, sometimes nonchalant, but I promise I have the biggest heart. I’m Ryan Riley, and this is my Crystal Stair. As a kid, I had the opportunity to explore...

Jathan Martin

Have you ever peered into a stained-glass window? You stand on one side and you’re exposed to majestic reds, sullen blues, and emerald greens; then you turn a bit and those reds evolve into bright oranges, teals, and pinks. I always thought of myself as a...

GABBY KWADWO ADDANE

March 6th, 1957 The date my home country of Ghana became the first African country to gain independence from a European colonial power. There is so much pride and humility to be felt simply because of that. And as such, Ghanaians are proud and strong people. ...

Jordan Myers

There is a scene in the blockbuster film Drumline, where the drum major, Sean (played by Leonard Roberts) is leading the incoming drummers in a slow, measured tempo clap, the tip of his fingers resting on the neck of one of the drummers.  Slowly, he raises his other...

Jay’len Boone

When America gets stronger families, we will have a stronger nation. It’s something that I learned on a 22-hour ride with my own family from Ypsilanti, Michigan to Houston, Texas. I’m Jaylen Boone and this is my Crystal Stair. I come from an extremely diverse...