Graduation and Beyond

Five emerging young leaders from the Seattle Institute program – Fany, Liamar, Moy, Rafa and Ricky – graduated on June 23, 2019. The NPH community gathered at Bishop Blanchet and spent a joyous yet tear-filled afternoon together, celebrating Mass with Fr. Natch Ohno and then feasting in the cafeteria on delicious pulled pork and fried chicken, catered by the Staten family.

Miguel Venegas, Executive Director of NPH International, was a special guest, and he shared words of comfort and encouragement to each of the students, who followed him by stepping up to the podium and sharing some of their highlights from the past year, along with gratitude for their homestays and all who helped make this possible.

One of the program’s partners received a special mention – the MAPFRE Foundation – as their generosity literally makes the students’ dreams of living in the U.S. to learn about service leadership and to grow personally and professionally, a reality.

Erin Egge, the Program Director, completed her first year of leading the Seattle Institute and shared her gratitude to the community and those who worked tirelessly to bring it to where it is today:

“All along the way, the students’ homestays, mentors and the Seattle Institute Family have taken the form of a nourishing community – I am actually reminded of a beautifully diverse, safe, caring and loving village with bridges rather than walls, where people look out for each other. This community here today literally runs the program. And I have been a very gracious beneficiary of that. I have you all to thank, and Kara and Jacqueline, for building the community and this program.”

The past year fulfilled a dream for each of the students and they are returning to their countries more equipped to serve, lead and to make a positive impact on NPH and the surrounding communities. They leave with a sense of accomplishment, new goals and a powerful vision for their future.

Fany has always said that she wants to be the “pilot of her own life.” The students each stepped onto a plane and returned to their countries of the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru on July 2nd, where they continue to study, work, serve NPH and become the pilots of their own lives.



This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We Are the Pilots of Our Lives

Fany shared the following message at the NPH Seattle Institute Graduation, in her very own English…


Hello! My name is Fany Martinez and I’m from Honduras. Thank you for coming to our graduation and for supporting us.

I am very, very grateful to be part of the Seattle Institute along with the other students. This year I grew in knowledge, as a member of an incredible team, and I became part of a wonderful family.

Over this past year, I learned about leadership and about myself, and how to be an NPH ambassador. I learned more about my strengths. I’m creative, empathetic, caring, strong, and entrepreneurial.

When I return to my country, I will use these strengths and my new knowledge to support in an area where NPH Honduras needs me, because serving others is important to me. I will continue in university and in preparing to be a professional so that I can give back to NPH.

My plan is to support the youth group that I was part of as a young girl, planning workshops and being part of their lives. Helping NPH, being a strong and good leader, growing professionally, and being in control of my life have been dreams that I have had since I was little. And I am achieving those dreams, little by little.

I am very grateful to the program and to all those who make it possible: homestays, mentors, sponsors, MAPFRE, Seattle Central College Teachers, our financial supporters, the NPH office team and our dear and excellent coordinator, Erin.

But I want to give a special thanks to my host family: Annie, Mary, Teresa, my little Brigid, Jeff, Molly, and Mr.MiloMan. I want to tell you my dear family that I love you and you will always be in my heart. You know why? Because you have made me a tattoo on my heart; it is not with Chinese ink, it is with love ink. You have given me an excellent year. We have had moments of joy, fun, sadness, but most importantly, you have given me unconditional love. Thank you for welcoming me in to your family. I love you so much.

Now that we are in our last few days of the program, I leave with a big smile, I am grateful for this time, for the new things I learned, for the places I went, the people I met, amazing teachers, and now I leave with new friends like Liamar, Ricky, Rafa and Moy. We had beautiful moments, and thanks for everything.

Blessings and many thanks.


Keep Smiling

Ricky shared the following speech at the Seattle Institute Graduation, in his original English…


Good afternoon everyone!

My name is Ricky and I am from NPH Dominican Republic. I appreciate the Seattle Institute for giving me the opportunity to be here. These 10 months ended quickly, but I have improved my English a lot and I have learned a ton about leadership and teamwork.

I learned that when you help others to be better people, you feel a sense of peace. A wonderful example of helping others is seen through my family here in Seattle – Annika and Lee Grever. They always helped me with a smile on their face. They taught me to take a little of my time to do exercises every day. I even ran a half marathon with Lee a few weeks ago!

When I return to the D.R, I plan to continue studying medicine to become a doctor. I will give educational talks about leadership to children in the NPH home, because my greatest wish is that all the children of NPH Dominican Republic learn and know more about how they can be the best versions of themselves.

This is important for me, because at a very young age I became involved in leadership activities, and that changed my life in an incredible way. I want to share my knowledge with the children and young people of NPH DR.

I want to thank everyone who came into my life here in Seattle. There are so many names, that if I start now, it would take at least 3 hours to mention everyone. But from the bottom of my heart, thanks to my family here in Seattle – Annika, Lee, Lucia, Zack and Stela, you have a very special place in my life. Thanks also to Don and Ann Connolly for spending valuable moments with me. Thank you to NPH USA, both in the Northwest and Arizona. Ross and team, you have helped us so much. And when I shared my story in Phoenix, Martha and Xavier made it a wonderful experience for me. And to finish, Thanks to my 3 mentors: Kyle, Anna and Roanne. Thank you to Mapfre, and thank you to each of you for being here and supporting us. Fany, Liamar, Rafa, and Moy – Over the past 10 months you have been a family to me. I will carry you with me in my heart.

Now the program has finished for me, but the impact is great. I will carry all that I have learned, the relationships I have made, the experiences and places I have visited, with me, to build myself a very bright future.

Thank you! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Ricky’s TRUTH:

Mi Verdad_Ricky

No Obstacle Is Bigger Than My Goals

Rafa shared the following message at the NPH Seattle Institute Graduation, in his original English…


Hello, my name is Rafael Llamoga, and I am from Peru.

I have greatly enjoyed this year in Seattle, and I have had new experiences that have made me see the world from another perspective. A few of my favorite experiences have been meeting many people, living with an incredible family and enjoying this beautiful country.

Over the past 10 months, I have learned that I am a humble and servant leader. Some of my areas of strength are being a visionary, entrepreneur, perseverant, responsible and resilient.

I believe that our strengths should be used to serve others, and that is exactly how I intend to use mine. I want to leave my mark by serving others in need.

To me, leadership means using strength to benefit others and help others achieve their goals and work together toward a common purpose. I think a good leader is a person who is always available to help his neighbor in the most difficult of situations.

When I go home, I want to serve the NPH family. This is important to me because I want thank the NPH family for all of the opportunities NPH has given me. These opportunities have changed me to be a better person. NPH was there for me when I needed family the most, and has continued to support me through university. I am a proud university graduate of Business Administration.

When faced with challenges in the future, I want to remember the challenges that I have gone through in my life and that I am a survivor. No obstacle is bigger than my goal, and no problem is bigger than the universe or my NPH family.

I am very grateful to all the people involved with NPH and the Seattle institute program. Thank you MAPFRE for making this program possible. I want to give a special thanks to my Homestay: Scott, Barbara, Claire and Peter. You are incredible people, and I will never forget living as a family in your home. You will always be in my heart.

I am so happy to have been part of a united and collaborative team – Fany, Liamar, Ricky and Moy – you have helped me grow and learn from each of you.

Thank you so so so so….. much Erin, for the emotional and intellectual support you have given me during last 10 months, for the retreats and the workshops – you have given me very productive and wise workshops.

Thanks to my mentors for joining me during this year. Especially Douglas and Lizzy for all the years you have supported the NPH family, and thank you for spending pleasant moments with me and with the team.

I am grateful for this opportunity because this helped me to develop my leadership, to know myself and to learn English. This program not only helps us; when I go home I will share it with hundreds of my brothers.

Thanks!, thanks!, thanks!, thanks!!!!!!!!!!!

Rafa’s TRUTH:

My truth RAFA june 18 2019

Focus on Your Strengths

Liamar shared the following speech at the Seattle Institute Graduation, in her very own English.


My name is Liamar Fajardo, and I am from NPH Nicaragua. I am so grateful and excited to be here speaking in front of you because this means that I am ready to go back to my community and put into practice everything I learned during my time as a part of the Leadership Program.

During my time in Seattle, I have had wonderful experiences, and I have learned a lot about leadership, about myself, and about serving others. I think that everyone is a leader in their own lives. Here, I realized that I am a democratic, strategic, servant, and empowering leader because I am attentive to the needs of others, I try to find creative ways of solving a problem, I prefer to act instead of talk, and I share my knowledge with others and apply it to my life.

I also learned more about my strengths, how I can apply them to my life as a leader, and that I should focus on my strengths and not on my weaknesses. It is because of that when I go back to my country, I want to implement a program focused on young people who are preparing to attend college. This program could help prepare them in the transition from NPH to leading their own independent lives, while learning to manage their money, and choose the ideal career for them.

That is important to me because I wish the best for my brothers and sisters in NPH, and I want them to have the necessary tools to be able to overcome obstacles and adversities, and I also want them to choose the most suitable career for them. Many are sometimes not sure what they want to do in the future, and they feel frustrated when choosing a professional career; I will encourage them to study something that they are passionate about, something related to their strengths and abilities.

This is also important for NPH because we will be preparing the youth to be more independent, courageous, and with goals and purpose in their lives. This will allow them to be productive members within NPH and society.

I am grateful to all who support the Seattle Institute Program and the NPH family such as MAPFRE, all of you here today, and I want to especially thank my host family, my mentors, and the team of Seattle Institute Leadership.

Anne Marie, Clay, Nathan, and Alexandra, I am so happy to be part of your wonderful family and thank you for making me feel part of it. I have learned a lot from each one of you; the value and love of family, the importance of communication, trust, and service to others, hard work, and how to take care of myself. I think that in all this time you have known me better than myself. Thank you for making me see that no matter how long it takes me, I can achieve what I set out to do and recognize qualities that I did not know about myself. Thanks for the delicious food you make. I will always hold you in my heart.

Kay and Karen, my mentors, thank you for sharing your time, knowledge and life experiences with me. I really enjoyed every moment together, and I learned a lot from each one of you. Thank you for motivating me to practice my English, to encourage me to think about my future, and for each lived adventure.

Fany, Moy, Rafa, and Ricky all you helped me to grow within the group, and each one contributed in a very special way in the program. I enjoyed all this time shared with you. Thank you for filling my days with smiles. You made every adventure unique. I will miss you.

This program not only helps us, but when I go home, I will share what I learned with my brothers and sisters at NPH because as a leader, I must enable others to act, inspire and motivate them to use their skills and strengths to serve their communities, and be leaders of their own lives.

If I had the opportunity to live again, I would choose the same life because every experience I have had here has been unique and special!!


Liamar’s TRUTH:

Liamar's Truth Final

If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It

Moy shared the following speech at the Seattle Institute Graduation, in his very own English.


My name is Moises Chavez, I’m from NPH Guatemala.

I just want to say to you that I’m so grateful to the NPH Seattle Institute for the tremendous opportunity to be part of this amazing program. I learned a lot throughout this year, and I had the privilege to meet many wonderful people.

I learned that being a good leader means listening well and practicing empathy. It can mean following as well, and include failure – but failing is a part of learning and growing. I learned that the foundation of my leadership is knowing myself, understanding my emotions and feelings. I worked hard on that this past year.

In a few days, I’m going back to my country. I have mixed emotions, because now I have friends and family here and I will miss them very much. But I have a lot to go back to – I will continue studying psychology at university, I want to give back to NPH, and continue achieving the many goals I have set for myself. When I go back to NPH Guatemala, my vision is finding ways to include our youth with disabilities in all activities, even more than they already are.

As I mentioned previously, I am so grateful to all the wonderful people who are involved in this amazing program of Seattle institute. You have made me feel part of this Northwest family since I arrived here on my first day.

To my host family the Soreys, you are such a wonderful people and you can’t imagine how grateful I am to you, every day your big smiles made all the difference, your patience with my broke English was so helpful at the beginning. You guys made these ten months so enjoyable and easy for me. I have no words to describe all that you mean for me but I can say that you will always be in my heart.

To my mentors Devon and Cathy, you were also part of my incredible time here, I really appreciate your time, the moments that we spent together I just can say that were unforgettable, I learned a lot from you.

So many of you impacted me during my time here. You make the dreams of thousands and thousands of my brothers and sisters around the NPH homes and programs possible.

I had many dreams as a child in NPH, now I can say one of those became a reality. The NPH Seattle Institute, Seattle Central College, donors, MAPFRE, my host family, friends, and all the NPH staff has been a part of this. We are finishing the program and we are leaving in a few days to continue our dreams and be part of the change in our societies and in the NPH family.

I would not like to end my talk without giving a huge thank you to my unique and amazing Seattle crew: Ricky, Liamar, Fany, Rafa, you guys made this adventure so special and of course our dear coordinator Erin, I learned a lot from you, your humble, kindness, advice and workshops were so essential in my personal growth.

I don’t want to say goodbye, so let’s just say that this is not goodbye, but see you later.

Thanks so much.

Moy’s TRUTH: