Ever’s Graduation Speech


Good afternoon everyone!

My name is Ever Terrazas Balderrama and I am from NPH Bolivia. Currently, I am studying in the university in NPH Mexico. I am grateful for this opportunity that NPH has given me, because in two days I return to Mexico as a better person. I will finish two classes and receive my degree in Industrial Engineer.

This time in Seattle has been helpful for me because I learned about myself. What abilities I have and what abilities I need to improve. I learned about what leadership means to me, and how I am a leader. A leader is the person who always find the best for everyone that is part of the group and involves everyone in making a decision. I believe when we work together, we can make big difference for the people that live around us and need our help.

I think if I want to be a good leader, I need to have a good relationship with myself, which will let me make better decisions in my life, and work well in the community that I am part.

When I return, my vision is that everyone in NPH before they leave the house opens a savings account that they use to save a bit of money each month. I’ve learned from experience that it is hard for pequenos to leave the house when they don’t have money saved. Thus, I want to coordinate with university staff so that each pequeno in their final year of university is saving money. I will find out which banks we can work with this year, before implementing the program next year. I also will begin mentoring students in how to transition from living in NPH to outside. I want to empower pequenos to become responsible adults.

Finally, I want to say thanks my family (David, Karen, Elias, Joshua), and all of you for helping us in Seattle. In the beginning was very difficult for me because my English was very bad but now I think is a little better!

Thank you!!

Maria’s Graduation Speech

Hello my name is María Girón and I am from NPH Honduras. I’m very grateful to the Seattle Institute for letting me be one of their students. Through this year, I have learned a lot and I have had the opportunity to live with a great family and dog.

During this year, I have learned about leadership and myself. I learned that being a great leader is not just doing what needs to be done, but taking initiative to help others. I have learned that if I want to be a great leader I must know myself and use my gifts for the benefit of others.

When I go back to my country, I plan to work on a team that can teach sexual and reproductive education to our girls and boys, because I think that it is important to start a program where the kids can learn about themselves and ask questions openly.

This is important to me because until now, I didn’t realize that the kind of leader I want to be is the one that fights and works for women’s rights. To be able to achieve this, I will prepare myself as best as I can. I will invite experts that are as passionate as I am to speak about this. My team will include a doctor, a psychologist, and a catechist, so that we can provide holistic and correct information to our boys and girls.

I’m very grateful with all the people involved with the Seattle institute but I want to give an special thanks to my host family, you guys have made this year easy and fun for me. You have taught me a lot and I am so glad that you guys were the ones chosen as my family. I really think that I could not have any other better family as you. I want to thank you for pushing me to do things that I like, and encouraging me to do the things I don’t like. You gave me a great experience and taught me how important family is.

Now that the program is finishing for us, I am leaving with an immense satisfaction. I am grateful for the things that I learned, the places I went, the people I met, and the great teacher we had. I’m excited to see where the person I’m becoming goes in the future.


Yomara’s Graduation Speech

Hello Everyone,

My name is Yomara Hernandez and I am from Nicaragua.

As I stand here today, I not only come close to ending this chapter in my life, but also to recount the past ten wonderful months here.  It has been an honor to be a part of this program and to share in this wonderful experience with all of you. An experience in which I obtained a lot of new knowledge, such as self-care, feedback, communication, and many more.  Also, during this journey being away from Nicaragua, I have noticed that I am ready to go back and share what I’ve gained as a teacher.

My big vision when I return to Nicaragua is to create more possibility of free education for people in the communities where having education have been difficult.  For me education offer a better opportunity in life and better possibility to be more successful.  I am determined to create a youth group from NPH, motivate them to share with people with less opportunity.

I would like to thank to my entire NPH family in Seattle.  All this experience, vision and knowledge would not have been possible without you.  Thank you for putting your trust in me and guiding me through this process. Mona and John, you have been Angels in my life.  Thank you for opening your home, heart and sharing wonderful moments with me. Thank you to all my mentors. Thank you to all my teachers in Seattle Central College who guided me in receiving the best education possible!!! I am also thankful to all the Seattle Institute Leadership students, I am so proud of us.  I really enjoyed my time together.

I am so excited to go back to Nicaragua and share my experiences in Seattle. I am looking forward to hugging my entire family and tell them how much I missed them. I am also ready to eat a delicious gallopinto and tasty Nacatamal 😊

Thank you!!

Farid’s Graduation Speech

IMG_8408I’m Farid Morel. I’m from Honduras. To start, I would like to thank God for our life, health and all the opportunities. I thank Fr. Wasson for giving us our extended family of Nuestros Pequenos Hemanos.

I remember those emotional moments, when I left Honduras and arrived at the Seattle airport where Jacqueline and all the homestays were waiting for us. I felt uncertain about the beginning of the new chapter in my life. Now, it has been almost 10 months in Seattle and it has been an amazing experience.

I have gained important tools to be an effective leader and serve for my community when I go back to Honduras. For example, with my new knowledge, I’d like to contribute to NPH by creating a program where those who grew up at NPH, like HM, can get to know better and accompany each pequenos atIMG_8680 NPH. I feel that this will make NPH more united.  Because I believe that when pequenos have more connection with HMs, they will find more support and purpose in their lives.  As HM myself, I feel called and committed to help each pequenos who needs support.

Now, I would like to thank Peach and David for opening your house and being part of my journey. I’m grateful to both of you for including me and making me feel a part of your family.

I want to thank Jacqueline for her unconditional support as a good leader in our NPH family. I also want to thank Donna, all the NPH staff, homestays, MAPFRE, ILEAP, mentors and sponsors. Thanks for believing in our extended family, because none of this would be possible without you.

Finally, I would also like to share with all the students Ever, Yomara, Maria, Darling and Darich. The world may be falling in pieces around us, but this is when we have to become brave, follow our curiosity, be ambitious and not abandon our dreams…because in this moment the world needs us the most.

Thank you!IMG_8614

Darlyn’s Graduation Speech


My name is Darlyn, and I consider myself as a philanthropist – which means people helping other people.  And, I am a strong and resilient woman from Guatemala.

The experience of being outside of my country and far from the people who’ve supported me has been very difficult, and, at the same time very constructive.  They have made me wiser and stronger for me to continue having this kind of experience, which will help me for the rest of my life.

Leadership for me means much more than just guiding people to achieve an objective. It is to inspire others and love what we are co-creating as a team.

I consider that one of my skills is to be able to communicate with people, which I believe to be very important.  Since people need to know how to articulate so that they can participate in creating the vision together.

I want to be able to inspire people in the course of my life so that those who I work with can continue to be the agents of change. I believe that when wIMG_8607e know ourselves better, we are able to inspire the rest of the people around us.

When I return to NPH, I want to find ways of creating healthier community inside and outside of NPH.  At NPH, I would like to teach pequenos and tias about healthy lifestyle.  As a physical therapist, I know that having a healthy lifestyle is challenging for many people.  But it benefits us all in terms of quality of life.  I would like to give workshops to staff about how to care for their own health while they take care of pequenos.  I also want to help our pequenos to learn about how to be healthy.

IMG_8686I want to thank all the people who have been in this process which has shaped me to be a more committed person with more goals. Especially to my homestay, Boysen Family, my mentors, Carry, Christina, and Lisa.

Thank you

Darich’s Graduation Speech

Good afternoon everyone! My name is Darich Muñoz and I’m from NPH Nicaragua.

It’s amazing how time goes by so fast; it seems that it was a week ago that we arrived in Seattle and that I just blinked and here we are almost on our way to return to our countries.

The Seattle Institute Program has been a unique experience that has marked my life for many reasons. One of these reasons is the incredible family that opened the doors of their house and mainly of their heart to welcome me as a member of their own family. With them, Roger and Judy Paulsen, I have shared many beautiful moments that I will always appreciate in a special way. There were also other people like mentors, and those who are in love with NPH that are the reason why this experience has been incredible and easier to assimilate.

This experience has made me more aware of my abilities and skills as a leader, but it has also highlighted what makes me vulnerable and what I still have to work on. I hope to have the opportunity to put into practice what I have learned in this program and be an influence for others in the NPH family and society in general.

Once I return to my country, I would like to create a mentoring group for NPH kids. Many pequenos have come to me saying that they have troubles trusting other people whom they don’t know well. I think it is important that we look for new options that can help the kids deal with some of the problems they have to face. I would like to work with our team of psychologists to train mentors who are also pequenos so that they can listen and provide support to peers who need it. This way, pequenos can connect more with others and build stronger, more reliable relationships. I hope this initiative will give leadership opportunities to older pequenos, and that this relationship will provide safe spaces for pequenos to find support and feel the love they deserve.

To finish, I am truly grateful to NPH and the Seattle community for joining us on this special day. It is because of you and your selfless love that this work is possible. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing us this fantastic opportunity because it is a great step to know how to serve as true leaders to our NPH family and in any area of our lives.

The Power of Saying Yes

Between all of the commitments and news cycles, it can be challenging to maintain a positive mindset. Maria shares about her perspective of saying yes, and the opportunities that a positive mindset can bring. 

While I’ve been here, many people have IMG_8083asked me, “what is the most important thing that I have learned during my time in Seattle?” I have learned a lot about leadership, cross-cultural communication, self-awareness, and how to create and be part of a team that works in the best way to achieve what they want. I have learned to share how I feel when I’m upset or happy. I also have learned to be empathetic with the people that are around me, and to take advantage of the things and time that I have here and to communicate better or at least try to do it.

I know that all of this is important and necessary, but for me the most important thing that I have learn here is to say YES to everything. I want you all to know how IMG_8053important this is for me. Knowing to say YES has brought me to events and opportunities that I thought I could never do and meet people and places that I love now. I didn’t realize until know that saying YES was the reason why I’m here, saying YES has making me meet great people and make excellent friendships through the whole year. Saying yes to things has helped me accept who I am and to accept others.

I just want to say thank you to the people that were responsible of teaching me this. I love you for teaching me this and for all the things that you have done for me during this year.


The Importance of Mentors

Darich wrote about how helpful the mentors he has had while in Seattle play an important role in his time. The Seattle Institute tries to find mentors who speak the students’ own language, and/or who can offer additional support and perspective throughout the time the students are here. Thanks so much to those who mentor our students!!

How easy or challenging could it be the fact of being in a foreign country? The truth is really hard to find a way to describe exactly how the experience of living in a new country is. I believe that one of the most difficult things of being away from my home country is missing family, friends, and simple things like food. However, not everything must be bad because this has also been an opportunity to know new people, a new culture, a chance to learn English and about Leadership skills, and many other things.

Being in Seattle has been an amazing experience, and I do believe that the people that we have met during the process are the ones who make unique our time in an unknown place. Some of those special people that I am really thankful to be part of my life are the homestays who opened their houses and hearts to us. However, they are not the only ones who have helped us to face the challenges or to give us the opportunity to have an amazing experience while in Seattle. Mentors have also been a guide in our way. Most of the time they are willing to give us some of their time to listen to us, give us an advise or just to make of our day a different and great one.

Sharing time with my mentors has been a chance to understand in a better way the value of family. The reason why I consider it is because they have been a real example of what a family does. Although we do not see frequently to each other, the mentors are interested about how we are doing in our daily life, in the school, and with our host families. As always, for the first time is weird because we do not know to each other. However, at this point of my life I can say that they are more than just mentors, they are family.

Personally, I am really glad about the incredible chances that being in this program has provided me. I am also thankful for those people who are always supporting to the NPH family.

Megan, Kay, David and Christina Buchholz, and all the other mentors thank you for being part of our life. All of you have been a great support for us.


Challenges and Successes

Yomara decided to write about some of the challenges and successes she has experience in Seattle so far. Please read what she shares below—in her own English!

Right now, we are in our sixth month of the Leadership Program in Seattle. During this long journey, we have found strong challenges which have made us feel sad and sometimes scared. Some of these challenges have been home sick, stress, tired, frustration because of the different culture and the language specially has been difficult.

IIMG_7798n my own experience, I could tell you that it has not been easy. I have felt frustrated because I really want to be successful in my life. Being far away from my native country and my family has reminded me how much I love my country and my entire family. Although this is not bad at all because I would not trade this opportunity for anything.

Staying in Seattle has been also the best experience. We have grown as a person, we have gotten important knowledge which in the future will help us to continue learning. We have achieved a big piece of our principal goal that is being a better leader for our houses, our countries and our entire world.

I am so grateful to be able to share part of my life with many people who are involved in supporting us in Seattle. They have showed me a really big sense of family. Our Seattle family has given us a big push to step out of our comfort zone and achieve all that we possibly can. They constantly do this for us because of the firm believe in each of the six of us as a pequeno.IMG_7816



Farid is from NPH Honduras. He is in the process of completing his degree in Psychology there. Here, he reflects back on one of the major NPH USA events held every November. Read about what his impression was of this big event!

NPH makes sure that every pequeno feels safe, happy and receives all the attention necessary. Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos is like an extended family who prioritizes the safety and well being of their children, not only hoping that the pequenos grow


physically, but also academically. Through tangible experiences, NPH makes certain every pequeno has the opportunity to mature and flourish so that they can one day make proper decisions when they leave the homes.

It is because of this, NPH offers various local programs for the kids, adolescents and young adults to participate in and learn from in their own homes. There are also programs overlooked by NPH International, serving as the final stepping stones during the transitional phase from   NPH homes to the outside world.


I am a part of one of the program run by NPH Seattle with an objective for pequenos to develop leadership skills in order to serve society on a global scale, just like Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos. We are also able to learn English while we are here, a tool which connects us better to NPH USA.

I want to share with you an experience I have shared with NPH USA, one which every pequeno should be able to experience. Referred to as, “The Gala” by the NPH Bellevue office, all of whom I wish to mention, however, I don’t want to miss someone since there are so many of you who come together to make this a reality. We appreciate and support you in all the work you so humbly do for our homes to be able to provide us with all the basic necessities.

The gala is one of the events managed by NPH USA with the intention of raising funds for NPH’s nine homes. These funds are allocated to the health, growth, education and other priorities that are necessary depending on each pequeno. NPH invites the general public th


rough the NPH USA website while donors, volunteers, sponsors and ex-volunteers receive personal invitations, many of which are from friends and family who share some kind of link with Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos.




This is how so many people are able to come and participate in the gala. In the gala on November 4, 2017 Magdalena Marroquin, an hermana mayor–an older sister, from NPH Mexico shared her story and highlighted the importance of every donor, sponsor and NPH contributor for each pequeno.

The ac


tivities included a raffle of donated prizes, and an auction. Many things were auctioned and won including tickets to fly to our homes, dinners at different restaurants, wines, and a lot of other nice things. However, it is moments like these where one can see that the guests at the gala do not participate to win something…in fact it is the opposite. They participate because they are happy helping us and they know that the money they give is used to cover necessary costs that the children, adolescents and young adults need at the homes.

It is a very satisfying moment for all the participants and staff knowing that we have reached the donation goal for NPH. This is how we will be able to change lives through education, health, medical assistance, spirituality, and being able to provide every pequeno with people specifically suited to help them in whatever ways they need.

It is very heartwarming to have met the people who have humbly helped us change our lives.NPH_2017_Gala_(50_of_470)-(ZF-4881-14964-1-002)