Skiing and Changing the World

Hello everyone. My name is David Garcia and I am from Guatemala. Today I want to express my gratitude to all of you who contributed to make this year possible and share my experience with you. I am very grateful because I was able to be a part of this amazing Seattle Leadership Institute Program.

I knew that these 10 months wouldn’t be easy, that I would have to make a big sacrifice. I knew that it would be a different and a new chapter of my life—attending school in English, attending leadership formation classes, learning a new language and adjusting to a new culture. And you know what? It’s been almost 10 months since I came to Seattle and now it feels like home.

Throughout this year, I met a lot of really amazing people, it was something that truly touched my heart. Even if they didn’t know NPH, they believed in us, they believed that we would be successful, and that we had the ability to change the world.

When I look back, I can see that I am not the same person that I was before. To be honest, the Seattle Institute has made a huge difference in my personal life. I have learned about my strengths and weaknesses. For instance, I believe that I have the ability to work well with others and I am a social person. I know that I am a leader who wants to make a difference. I want and need to continue improving my confidence in myself, my listening skills, and my public speaking.

I want to mention the work that iLEAP has been doing with us, they helped me to look inside myself and discover the potential that I have and can offer to NPH and my community. iLEAP has also taught us that a leader is someone who has the ability to influence others and guide their community.

I have had a lot of favorite moments during my time here in Seattle. For example, I had the opportunity to see snow for the first time—and I went skiing! It was so fun and I know now that I like snow. We don’t have snow in Guatemala. I experienced many new things in Seattle and I am so grateful for that. I want to continue experiencing new things, even when I’m back home in Guatemala.

Now I’m looking forward to returning home and continuing my studies in the university. I am studying Psychology so that one day I can start my own counseling clinic that will help people in need. When I go home, one of my goals is to re-open the youth group in NPH Guatemala in order to keep Father’s Wasson philosophy alive. I believe it is very important for us as pequeños and pequeñas, to never lose sight of this philosophy, of NPH’s purpose—to be productive members of our society and to continue serving our communities.

I also want to give a special thanks to Jacqueline who always believed in us. She is an amazing person and always listened deeply and great advice.

To conclude, thank you all of you who were there every single moment, the amazing leadership group, our host families for your kindness hospitality and your patience. I especially want to thank the Fonsecas and Saldanas for welcoming me into their homes and introducing me to Seattle.

Thank you everyone.

Samuel’s Final speech

Hi everyone. I am Samuel Jocelyn and I am from Haiti.

I want to talk about how I started my journey; I mean, what I have learned during my time in the Seattle Institute. I have come a long way to a place where I could not even imagine before this program, a place where I know I can become the best version of me; I can proudly say that I am able to identify who I am as a human being and as a leader. I am now confident that I am on the right path to become the man that I have always dream about and to be honest the Seattle Institute has played a big role in that.

My experience in Seattle has completely changed me. Some of my favorite experiences have been living with my host family, when I say my host family—I really mean my family. Without knowing me, they accepted me into the family. Being able to able to live with them has been a true blessing. Also, getting to know the other 5 students and learning from them. Being able to work with iLEAP and spending time with people who work for NPH USA, like Katie and Ross, and everyone who works in the Bellevue office. Being able to travel to various places in the US like Arizona, California, Portland and so on. I have met many people with beautiful hearts and they have all been devoted to not only teaching me, but also learning from me. I am very grateful for all of these experiences and how they have shaped me.

This year, in Seattle, I have learned how important it is to be truly honest with myself. I have also learned that where I come from does not really matter, but rather where I want to go and what I want to do in life is what is important.

I have had the opportunity these past 10 months to really learn about myself, my strengths and weaknesses. Some of my strengths are being positive no matter what the situation, being able to communicate clearly with others; and being able to motivate others. I want to use these strengths to help others grow and believe in themselves; to let them know that they have to focus on what is important for them because if they have faith and trust in themselves, they can accomplish anything in life. By helping others realize their goals and dreams, they can also help me to achieve mine.

I want to improve my team work abilities and I want to grow my confidence in taking action. I will practice growing my team work skills by accepting the opinions of others fairly, being friendly and open when working with them, and sharing what I know. I know alone I cannot do everything, therefore team work and asking for help when needed is very important.

To me, leadership means that I only win, if I help others win. Being a leader is not only focusing on myself, but also thinking about how I can help those around me be better and achieve greatness in life. This is how I define leadership. I believe a good leader is a person who is devoted to working with others and helping them to realize their goals and dreams. A good leader is a person who sees himself as a servant and is ready to do anything to see others happy and achieve their goals. I want to be a leader that others are happy to work with. A leader who makes a positive influence in their lives.

I used to think leadership meant alone I can do everything, but now I truly understand that it is a team effort. When I go home to Haiti, I want to keep working with the kids of NPH. I will to be a role model for them. I want to let them know that anything is possible if they have faith and work hard. This is important to me because I will rise by helping others. Father Wasson once said what is “most important for me is that my children practice charity because if they love they will be loved. This will make their work efficient and effective, they will exercise and influence on their own children and on their society and they will reach salvation.” My goal is to be a role model for those who look up to me, to be a positive influence, and to live the philosophy of Father Wasson.

When faced with challenges in the future, I want to remember of this experience which is the Seattle Institute. To conclude, I want to thank God, my host family, iLEAP, NPH USA, Jacqueline and all of you who make this program possible. You have all played a big role in my journey in Seattle. To be honest, without this program I’m not sure I would know how to be a good leader. Thank you to those around me who have been good examples of leadership to me. I learned so much myself and what it means to be a leader. Thank you so much to all of you and may God bless you always.

Saravia’s Graduation Speech

Hello all my name is Saravia and I am from Honduras. I am very grateful to be here today, in front of you, not to say goodbye, but to say see you later. I am very grateful for the program and for the people who lead it and make the experience possible.

One of my favorite experiences in Seattle has been going to school. I have learned a lot and I am very proud of the goals I have achieved, like earning the “Top Student” award. Another one of my favorite experiences has been living with my host family. I am very grateful for you, and I feel lucky to be your goddaughter. I want to say thank you for opening the doors of your home and your hearts.

This year in Seattle, I have learned that I am capable of demonstrating my skills as a leader, and can serve as an example for my other brothers and sisters at the NPH Honduras home. One of my strengths that I have discovered through this time here is that I am able to help others without expecting anything in return. This inspires me to return home and better serve my NPH family and community.

I know that to grow as a leader, it is essential to continue improving my skills and one example is teamwork. Life is a journey, so day by day, in my experiences, I will continue to learn and grow.

To me, leadership means more than standing in front of a group and being in control. True leadership is accompanying your team members, and working side by side. I strongly believe that a good leader is someone who is able to put themselves in the shoes of others. Someone who strives to benefit the whole group, rather than just themselves. This is the kind of leader I want to be.

I want to be more than just a guide, instead, a companion for my other brothers and sisters. This means that I must improve in my relationships with others, learn to be vulnerable, and how to love unconditionally. My time in Seattle has also taught me to fight for equality, social justice, and freedom of expression. This has had a huge impact on me, encouraging me to love who I want love more openly.

When I return to my country, I want to help create a safe space for kids who are marginalized in their communities. I will also continue with college and graduate with a degree in electrical engineering. After this, I want to work in my field somewhere in Tegucigalpa, to acquire experience outside of (the protection of NPH).  Stepping out of my comfort zone will help me grow as a leader for when I return to serve my NPH family that has given me the opportunities to become the person I am today. It is important to me to return to NPH and serve my family to give thanks for all the support they have given me over the years.

I am very grateful for all the people who in one way or another make this program and NPH a success. Thank you to Donna, Jacquelyn, iLEAP, my host family, and all my fellow leadership students. Thank you for being part of this experience with me and especially for believing in me.