It all started when Jan and Bryson Garbett, Escalera’s founders, had a little breathing room in 1997 and thought a trip to Disney World would be a good idea. After buying the tickets, they found out about a service trip to help students in a small Mexican village. They asked their eight children, all still at home, what they wanted to do and in the end, they went down to Mexico instead of seeing Mickey. Their lives would never be the same.

“What I saw in Mexico will never leave me. Parents were desperate to provide an opportunity for their children so they would not have to live the same life of constant struggle. I could not forget that desperation. When we came back from Mexico, we formed Foundation Escalera and went straight to work. To date, Escalera has served tens of thousands of students in Mexico through schools and scholarships and our family still hasn’t made that trip to Disney World.” -- Bryson Garbett, Founder