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.