Through Eyes That Have Cried

 “There are some things that can only be seen through eyes that have cried.”

“Hay muchas cosas que sólo pueden ser vistas a través de ojos que han llorado.” 

They are words from Monseñor Oscar Romero of El Salvador.  Standing in the church where he was martyred in 1980 (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-31115837), these words almost feel like an invitation.  Or perhaps a challenge.

Will you look?

Will you see?

Will you notice the pain and suffering and injustice around you?

Will you turn away?

Or, will you gaze through your tears?  And in the midst of your own pain and brokenness, find ways to engage with love and compassion?

It has become increasingly clear to me through my work with NPH that tears are sacred.  To be honored, rather than quickly wiped away or hidden.  As we have developed this program in Seattle over the past four years, the importance of accompanying our pequeños/as as they look at their life story has become central.  We are blessed with the space, time, and good people that allow this to happen to whatever extent each participant is able – we meet them where they are.

What is becoming clear is that this work, this hard and scary and beautiful work, is helping them make significant changes in their lives.  It can feel slow and painful, and there have been times when I have questioned it, worried about it, wondered if we were inviting harm rather than good.

And so when I read these words, they impacted me deeply – for I have seen the truth in them.  Through my tears, shed over my own brokenness and over the brokenness I witness in our kids, I have seen things I could not see before.  Tears that were held in for many years, when finally released and blessed – have brought deeper relationships and a new capacity to love.

Through their own tears, the pequeños/as have come to recognize a resilience and beauty that is stronger than they knew.  I have seen them realize their own ability to offer healing to each other and to others.  Through art and storytelling, they have seen each other and themselves in new ways, inviting them to personal growth and transformation and ultimately to a life in which they can better serve others because they know who they are and they know how to love well.

My recent trip to NPH El Salvador reminded me that change is possible and hope is with us.  I watched graduates of our Seattle program facilitate sessions for the younger pequeños/as, lead activities, answer questions, and participate in high level educational planning meetings.  They were both engaged and courageous and I felt so proud of them and hopeful for our future as an NPH family.

But perhaps my most precious hour with them was our first afternoon at NPH El Salvador as we sat together in rocking chairs in the shade outside the house.  How beautiful to have time for them to speak honestly and listen to each other about what is happening in their lives in their home countries.  Their integrity and love for each other and for NPH is beautiful.

As our Seattle program continues to grow, we must remember the importance of this deep personal work.  And that stepping into it ultimately empowers our kids to use their lives for the good of the world.

What change will they make?  Whose life might they save?  Where will they bring hope where before there was none?  We don’t yet know.  What I do know is that their willingness to look at the world through eyes that have cried makes them more compassionate, more authentic, and more humble leaders for a world that in desperate need of them.

-Kara King, Program Director

NPH Youth Development Programs

We believe that all children deserve the chance to reach their full potential and lead the best lives possible, both personally and professionally. Our nine NPH homes provide a variety of development opportunities for our youth to help make this possible. Our programs span the areas of leadership, young women empowerment, spiritual formation and a variety of extracurricular activities so that they can develop their talents and creativity.
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“We know to be strong leaders you really have to know yourself and we try to provide opportunities for young people so that they can continue to learn more about themselves and where they see themselves serving. . . We are not just talking about leadership in general, we are really talking about leadership that comes from the heart, that comes from the understanding of what it means to serve.” -Donna Egge, Director of Family Service, NPHI
Watch our latest video to learn more about youth development at NPH!
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My Experience on my Job Shadow

Written/Translated by: Samuel, NPH Mexico

I remember when Kara asked us about something that would like to work for one day, with professional people. I didn’t think by two times, my answer was that I really like “broadcasting and something more about Communication”.

Weeks later I went to my first job shadowing, “KBC-FM Radio Station” whit Samia Panni, she talked about her job, which plays Music from Brazil, she had been volunteer of this radio for many years. Also, we could observe all the things that she needs to do when she is “On Air”, I really enjoy to see a lot of controls, cables and microphones.

A week later, I went to Adaquest. I felt like if I were working with them, I went to a meetings and I met a lot of people. One of the things that I did realize was that some of this people who is working on Adaquest are sponsors from some of the kids from NPH and they loves their kids, and also they are thinking to visit one of our NPH houses. I was really excited. So, I really enjoy my visit to Adaquest.

I want to thank Samia for inviting us to her radio station, and also I really say thank you to Adaquest for letting me learn more and share time with me and all my brothers and sisters.  And a special thanks to Carol Bubar for giving us this opportunity to meet professional people.

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Recuerdo aquella ves que Kara nos pregunto acerca de algo que nos interesara trabajar por un dia, con gente professional. Yo sin pensarlo dos veses le respondi “broadcasting o algo relacionado con comunicacion”.

Semanas despues me encontraba visitando “KBC-FM Radio Station” una estacion de radio, el programa era dirigido por Samia Pani, Ella nos hablo acerca de su trabajo, que es transmitir musica de Brazil, ella ha sido voluntaria en esa estacion de radio por muchos años. Pudimos observar todos esos movimientos que nesesita hacer cuando se encuantra “Al Aire”. La verdad es que me emocione ver controles por doquiera, cables y microfonos.

Una semana despues, me encontraba en Adaquest. Me senti como parte del equipo, ya que asistia a juntas y conoci gente. Algo de lo que me di cuenta fue que muchoas de las personas trabajando en esta empresa son padrinos de algunos de nuestros niños de nuestras casas de NPH, ellos quieren a los chicos, y de hecho algunos de ellos ya estan hacienda planes para visitor NPH en el future. Pero bueno, disfrute al maximo el estar en Adaquest.

Quiero agradecer a Samia por permitirnos visitar su estacion de radio, tambien quiero agradecer a Adaquest por darnos la oportunidad de aprender mas de ustesdes y compartir con migo y con mis hermanos, y tambien un agradecimiento muy especial a Carol Bubar, por darnos esa oportunidad de conocer a gente tan trabajadora.

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Carol preparing the students for their job shadows.

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Samy with Samia, Magda, and Luisa at the Radio Station!

GIVE MEANING TO YOUR LIFE BY SHARING WITH OTHERS

By Luisa, NPH Guatemala (with a little translation help from host mom, Karen)

JUBILEE WOMENS EXPERIENCE:

The first thing that impressed me was when we were received with joy by Emerald and Sam. They gave me positive energy that made me understand the word SHARE. Sometimes we think we deserve a smile and to be happy, but when we go out of our comfort zone we need to understand that everyone needs a smile to continue with their purpose of life, we are not the only ones with a broken heart.  Then I understand what our purpose as human beings is to help each other as JESUS said,  “Blessed are those who give without remembering. And blessed are those who take without forgetting.”

Then came the hour of delicious lunch and all came with a different look and then their cheerful smile that says thank you. Sometimes you plant seeds of hope without realizing. I felt part of them because when visitors come to NPH, I feel hope to continue living – but now I gave a sign of hope to these women who struggle every day to be someone in life.

During my time here in Seattle I realize that everyone has their own economic problems, but I’ve learned that no matter what, people help regardless of anything in return, one of the things that Father Wasson taught is to SHARE without seeing who you benefit, you just have a smile that marked your life.
Brief history of JUBILEE CENTER SEATTLE:
JUBILEE is an organization that helps women who do not have a home. Jubilee provides the women safe, affordable community housing and educational resources to help the women become independent. It was founded by three Sisters of St. Josephs of Peace.

DALE SENTIDO A TU VIDA COMPARTIENDO CON LOS DEMAS

Lo primero que me fascino fue cuando nos recibió con alegría la encargada, ella me transmitió una energía positiva es lo que me hizo comprender la palabra COMPARTIR A VECES pensamos que solo nosotros merecemos una sonrisa y ser felices, pero cuando salimos de nuestra línea de confort es necesario entender que todo el mundo necesita una sonrisa para poder seguir con el propósito de la vida, que no somos los únicos con el corazón roto, entonces entiendo cuál es nuestro propósito como seres humanos, es ayudarnos unos a los otros como dijo JESUS Bien aventurados los que dan sin recordar, y los que reciben sin olvidar. Luego llegó la hora del delicioso almuerzo y entraron todas con una mirada diferente y fue entonces aquella sonrisa tan alegre que te dice gracias, a veces uno siembra semillas de esperanza sin darse cuenta, me sentí parte de ellas porque cuando llegan las visitas a NPH, me siento con una esperanza de seguir viviendo pero ahora me toca darles una señal de esperanza a estas mujeres que luchan día a día para ser alguien en la vida Durante mi tiempo aquí en Seattle me he dado cuenta que todo el mundo tiene sus propios problemas económicos, pero he aprendido que no importa eso aquí, la gente ayuda sin importar nada a cambio, una de las cosa que nos enseñó el Padre Wasson ES COMPARTIR sin ver a quien beneficias, simplemente has una sonrisa que marcara tu vida.

Breve historia de JUBILEE CENTER SEATTLE JUBILEE es una organización que ayuda a mujeres que no tienen un HOGAR, factor económico y sobre todo a trnsformar a estas mujeres en futuras empresarias. Fue fundada gracias a tres mujeres el Capitolio de la Arquidiócesis de Seattle.

Editor’s Note: One Saturday each month, the leadership students accompanied by friends of NPH spend the morning cooking lunch for the women of Jubilee!  We look forward to continuing to build this new partnership!  Jubilee’s executive director, Cheryl, has supported NPH with leadership development for many years and each year offers her advice and teaching to the Seattle students as well!  To learn more about Jubilee’s great work: http://www.jwcenter.org/

The Heart-Work of Fundraising

By Lucrecia, NPH Nicaragua (in her own English!!)

In these four months here in Seattle, as a leaders group, we have had activities that have helped us more integrated in to NPH and understand better the work that NPH USA does here.

En estos cuatro meses de estancia en Seattle, como grupo de líderes, hemos tenido actividades que nos han ayudado a estar un poco mas involucrados y comprender mejor la labor de NPH desde aquí.

During my 18 years with the NPH family, I know that as “Pequeña” I never lacked for anything. I always had food, clothing, educations, medicine… in short all the basics for living.

Durante estos 18 años dentro de la familia de NPH me doy cuenta que como pequeña nunca me faltó nada, siempre tuve: comida, vestimenta, estudio, medicina… en fin todo lo básico para vivir.

When one is a child, one never wonders our parents provide all that we needs, we just have everything and we are happy (I think this was my best phase, carefree). As we grow and difficulties arise, we see more and more all that parents do to continue to satisfy our needs. Then the question arises: how do they do it?

Cuando uno es pequeño nunca se pregunta cómo hacen las madres o padres para proveernos de todo; simplemente sabemos que tenemos todo y somos felices (creo que esta fue mi mejor etapa, libres de preocupaciones). A lo largo que  crecemos vemos como van surguiendo  las dificultades y como se esfuerzan los padres para seguir satisfaciendo nuestras necesidades; entonces  surgen las preguntas:  Cómo lo hacen?, Qué hecen?.

Since I am in the NPH family, I know that we survive because of the noble hearts of many people (godparents, volunteers, benefactors…) but, How do you reach these people?

Desde que entré a la familia de NPH se que sobrevivimos de los nobles corazones de mucha gente ( padrinos, voluntarios, bienechores…etc) pero, Cómo se llega a estas personas?.

This is the point where I want to emphasize. I had the opportunity to participate in some of the many activities by people supported in the NPH family, here in the Unites States. And in my experience the work of fundraising is not easy! This work requires patience, dedication and lots of love.  It is satisfying for me, to help in the work that benefits my brothers and sisters and myself. I could see the hard work that these people do every day to make NPH possible. They work with the love that they would give to support their own children. It is rare to find people who work with such faith and love for others. The people in the NPH office are a great inspiration to me.

Y es ahí el punto donde quiero empatizar, he tenido la oportunidad de participar en algunas  actividades de las tantas que realizan las personas que buscan el apoyo a la familia de NPH aquí en los Estados Unidos ; y según mi experiencia no es nada fácil, se require de mucha paciencia, entrega y sobre todo amor. Aunque fue satisfactorio para mi apoyar en el trabajo que beneficia a mis hermanos y a mi misma. Pude ver el trabajo arduo que hacen día a día estas personas para hacer possible esta causa. Trabajan con el amor que trabajarían si buscaran el sustento de sus propios hijos; dificilmente encontramos personas que trabajen con esa fé y  con ese amor hacia los demás.

Thanks to this effort, children, teens and young have received formation and preparations for their lives. While we can not pay monetarily, we are grateful and are called to serve others. We thank God for those people who have made such a difference in the lives of so many.

Gracias a ese esfuerzo, nos hemos formado: niños, jovenes y adultos en personas de bien. y que si bien no podemos pagar monetariamente, tarde o temprano nos sentimos llamados a servir a los demás y dar gracias a Dios por esas personas que puso en nuestro camino y hacen la diferencia.

 

Thank you!

 

 

 

 

Servant Leadership and Story Retreat

By Florine, NPFS Haiti

Monday 15, 2014: “All students meet Kara at Christ our Hope Church for pickup” said the calendar.  When I arrived in downtown Seattle, I met Magda and Lucre, they were looking at my suitcase and asked me where am I going. Four days and three nights in Whidbey Island, that was my answer. Everyone had a bag, except me, but it was easier for me because I didn’t have to complain about my shoulders. Good strategy!

We took the ferryboat, first time for some of us. We arrived in a nice, and welcoming house at the beach, we arranged everything that we brought.  In the night, before dinner, we had our first subject about servant leadership.

You can be a servant and become a leader, but you can’t be a good leader without being a servant.  These two words are connected. After that, we had dinner, and worked in our masterpiece for tomorrow. Kara asked us to draw something; she gave to us a little circle in rock. Everyone had the pleasure to paint how God created us, which was the idea. I remember when I was in kindergarten, my teacher used to say all the bright colors express happiness and beauty. I have no idea of painting, but I know the result of combine yellow, white, pink, and water green together. We all did a great art piece, which I’m pretty sure, could be in the next NPH gala for auction.

Tuesday, December 16, second day of the retreat. Kara broke all our masterpieces. I was looking at Luisa crying, she is a good artist. Sam was so sad, he painted the blue sky, all about nature, but he had an unbelievable force to break Kara’s piece too, which was a beautiful afternoon, where the sun is get off the sky. Magda painted a brilliant star, Nelson made a nice candle, like these you can see in church, in the Advent. Lucre drew a little house for her family. The interesting part of all of that is, we didn’t know that the broken pieces could be even better in the next activity.

Wednesday, December 17, day 4th. The challenging day, sharing stories. It was so difficult for us. We were looking at each other, who will go first… Fortunately, we didn’t spend all the night by asking ourselves about that. We did it all, a lot of tears, but we survived. We worked on our broken pieces, we made something better. We shared with Donna Egge what we did with our pieces, and she closed the retreat, as perfectly at it could be. Thank you Donna!

Thursday, December 18, we had breakfast, and cleaned everything. We walked by the water, and we took two rocks. One that we bring with us, the second, something that we don’t need anymore, and throw it in the water.

In the end, we had a great retreat. We know now, more about each other, to support each other, love and respect. We’ll make sure to practice everything that we learn about this second retreat, and live better.

Now we have one week free, let’s get it “muchachos”! Sleep, relax, dance, eat healthy food, drink water, and watch TV, listening to music, and sleep again. Our Google Calendar is already full until June!!!

An Evening with Sonia Nazario

By: Nelson Alvarez Hernandez

(written in English by Nelson!)

What can I say? This experience started in one of our leadership meetings.  I said something about an article that I read on Univision, and it talks about a social issue, migration.  I was surprised by this article because this media shows quite relevant numbers about migration especially highlighting the children that every year cross the borders to find their mother that left them when they were 5 years old or less.  So when Kara asked me if I wanted introduce a writer, the main question that I had in my mind was “who is Sonia Nazario?”

And immediately I said yes.

Then my host family gave me a brief biography on Sonia Nazario.  A few days later my host family bought me “Enrique’s Journey”.  When I started reading the book I did not want to stop reading this wonderful book. My experience reading Enrique’s Journey has been one of the most important in my life because this book talks about a reality that we are living now in our Central American countries, where thousands of children are traveling every year, crossing the borders to find their mother in the US, and we see that our governments do not do anything for these people, but I know that people from other countries are working hard for us.

December 4th, 2014: I will never forget this day because it was when I met Sonia Nazario.  When I met her I remember that I was reading my speech and she came in front of me and I said “I cannot believe it”.  I could not believe what was happening in this moment because it was all so fast, but then I realized that I was talking with Sonia Nazario. Something that I always remember is a question that she asked me when we were talking before the conference, the question was: “Are you orphan?”.  And at the beginning I was laughing because of the directness of her question.  But my answer for her was, so I do not have mother and father, but I found a new family and this family is NPH. I think that NPH is my family because it always has supported me, always been there in my difficult and in my happy moments, and given me so many opportunities.

When I was in the podium introducing her, my first three minutes I felt nervous but then I felt comfortable because meeting her before the conference helped me a lot.

This experience for me is one of the most important in my life, because I met a brave, courageous woman who is fighting for the people who do not have A VOICE IN THIS SYSTEM and the poorest people and I realize that there are people working for those people.

The experience of reading “Enrique’s Journey” definitely changed my way of thinking about this social problem, and I realized the poorest people who do not have a lot are often the people who share the little that they have with each other.

This book connects to my life in many ways, first because the boy who she talks about is Honduran. Second because since he was a little boy his father abandoned him besides his mother and in my case was the same my father abandoned me and my mother died when I was two years old, so both of us were abandoned by our fathers. It is why I say I, like Enrique, could have been one of the thousands children traveling every year crossing the borders.