Transition & Gratitude

As I write this closing reflection, I am struck with gratitude and emotion. I am honored to have been a part of NPH during this period of growth and conversation. I am graced by NPH’s impact on my own personal and professional growth. There are few better words to begin this reflection other than, thank you.

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Every morning, I look at the news headlines. Between reading about natural disasters, human rights atrocities, and leadership that seemingly lacks humanity, it is challenging to not be disparaged and hopeless. I am not sure if the world becomes more fragile each day, or if, in a world of technology, the injustices become louder. My Catholic faith tells me that this is not the fate of humanity, but rather our call to action to reimagine how we each can contribute to the creating the Kingdom of God. What would the world look like if we imagined moving forward hand in hand versus just reaching the end of the race before the others?

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This idea is how the Seattle Institute was conceived: to create opportunities for our young adults—those who know NPH best—to grow in their own self-awareness and leadership capacity in order to create a more just and humane place for our communities. I deeply believe in the Seattle Institute and its mission to illuminate the vibrant voices of our young leaders. Every week that I worked with our students, I believed more deeply in them and the power of their perspective. By giving them the tools and resources to explore more deeply their own vocation and commitments, they embraced the challenge of deepening their awareness to become stronger leaders who will fight for the integrity of their community.

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These voices exude tremendous hope and motivation! I am so grateful to NPH as an organization and family to invest in cultivating curiosity and talent. These programs not only serve our pequenos in their journey, but require us as facilitators and community to also be examining our own values and decision-making patterns. My students’ motivation and desire to keep learning is part of the reason I return to grad school to pursue a master’s degree. I hope to find similar, eager learners as I begin to study at the Keough School for Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame this fall.

I do not imagine this to be the end of my story with NPH. I plan on attending events, offering continued support, and hopefully, collaborating together again in the future. I am confident that Erin Stuckey will keep growing the program. Her eagerness to listen, to meet our students where they are at, and her motivation will propel the Seattle Institute into the next stage of existence. You will hear more from her in the coming days around her hopes and dreams for the program.

I am deeply grateful to those who have contributed to the program. To the homestays—thank you for modeling patience and generosity. Your joyful reception and continued hospitality of our students is remarkable to me. To the mentors, thank you for your willingness to enter and engage in our students’ lives whilst they are here. To our community partners, thank you for your support—from frantic visa questions to meeting IMG_7399our students where they are at to accompanying them through their journey. To the folks who have donated other resources, our program would not run without your support. I am so very grateful for your choice to invest your time and resources into our program. To my colleagues, I am astounded by your devotion and willingness to engage in this essential work. Finally, to the alums of the Seattle Institute, thank you for bring light into this world. Thank you for sharing your lives with me. You’ve impacted my life more than I can explain.

Finally, to Donna Egge for all of your support and mentorship. Thanks for taking a chance on me, and thanks for your continual investment of time and energy into this program. I am unsure of where the program would be without your clear devotion to your values and NPH’s values. I’m so grateful for the way you have impacted my life and the lives of those who surround you.

If you find yourself in Chicago or South Bend in the next few years, please do reach out at shraderj31@gmail.com. I would love to see you and stay in contact.

With deep gratitude,

Jacqueline

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