Yomara talks about Seattle Central College

For her blog post, Yomara wanted to write a bit about why she chose to apply to the Seattle Institute and how her experience at Seattle Central has been. She also wrote in her own English!

My name is Yomara Hernandez and I am from Nicaragua. I came to NPH when I was eleven years old and I grew up there. During my thirteen years in NPH, I have learned a lot about myself and strive to become a good person. For that reason, I decided to participate in the third Leadership Conference in NPH Guatemala. I really loved it. After that, I became a much better individual and started helping my NPH family.

After a few years, I learned about the great opportunity to participate in the NPH Leadership Institute Program in Seattle. It was just six months ago when I was chosen to be part of this amazing program. I was extremely excited! Although, I was feeling scared and nervous about the distance and the time away from my family, I decided to do it because I wanted to be a better person.

I came to Seattle two and a half months ago and our first quarter started two weeks after I arrived. In the beginning, I had many thoughts about all the international students, their behavior, and their interactions with me. I was thinking about that because of our different cultures, languages, and traditions.

Now, I feel so comfortable with all my classmates. They are friendly, crazy, funny, and so warm. Now, I am learning, I am sharing, and I am creating new and wonderful experiences.

Seattle Central College is a place where I can study, find new friends, and interchange knowledge. My first quarter has really been very interesting and I hope to continue learning.

Adapting to Seattle

Throughout the year, each participant will offer a couple of reflections on their time in Seattle. We start with Darlyn, our participant from Guatemala. 

My time in Seattle has been very interesting so far. It is helpful to remember that I come from a country that is conservative in terms of our culture. I’ve always tried to see things from a different point of view there, and I’ve been grateful to the people who have helped give me a wider perspective. Seattle’s diversity of cultures and perspective makes you feel like you’re traveling to many parts of the worlds all at the same time. I don’t have the words yet to describe it.

Seattle has also been challenging. It is tough to start a new life completely, but know that there are many new opportunities that will help me grow. I am more relaxed by knowing that I have peers who speak my language, even though I didn’t know any of the other five that are in the group before I started this year!

The first few days in class have been very interesting. My class is very diverse in culture, and I am the only latina. Our accents are very different from each other, and make it hard to understand each other. I now have been here almost 3 months, and I feel more relaxed. I am more confident in my public speaking and trust my peers more. Yes, it has been a journey full of emotions, but it has been an incredible experience. I know that I still have much to learn. I am ready to continue challenging myself though!






Welcome, Class of 2018!

We are so excited to have the class of 2018 here in Seattle! So far, they’ve been settling in well, completing orientation for the program, Seattle Central, and moving in with their homestays. It’s going to be a great year!


Hello! I’m Farid, and I’m from Honduras. I’m so happy to be here in Seattle. I want to thank God for allowing me to be here and to all the people who support the program so that we (pequeños) have this fantastic opportunity. Thanks for all of your support! May God bless you!


IMG_6412I’m Yomara, from Nicaragua. I’m excited to be here and spend time with different people, learn from different experiences, and grow as a person. I can’t wait to share all that I learn with my country, family, and brother and sisters. I will serve them all with love!



IMG_6418Hi, I’m Darich from Nicaragua. I am excited and thankful to be here. I am sure it will be a great experience sharing knowledge with different people, who will help and teach us how to be a good leaders in our family of NPH. I know sometimes it will be a little bit hard but I know with the help of God and the people here everything will be great.



Hi! I’m Darlyn from Guatemala. I’m so excited to start this new experience! I know this is a great opportunity and I have to take advantage of this because it will surely make me a better person.  When I return to my country, I want to make a difference for my brothers and sisters in NPH, and the rest of the world.


Buenas! I’m Maria, from Honduras. I’m excited to learn more about leadership, develop the tools to make me a better person, and learn to be more present to others. If I learn to be a better leader, I’ll be more able to support my home.




Hello! I’m Ever, and I’m from Bolivia.  I wanted to come to Seattle to experience growth as an adult. I want to develop my professional and personal skills to keep serving my NPH family, which is what Fr. Wasson wanted all of us to do. Gracias!

Letter from the Director


I am writing you all after finishing a fruitful and growth-filled year with the NPH Seattle Institute. For those of you who are not familiar with the Seattle Institute, each year Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos selects six young adult pequeños from a competitive application process. We invite them to live in Seattle for ten months, staying with a homestay, attending English classes at Seattle Central College, and engaging in leadership formation through meetings, workshops, and retreats. On June 25th, we celebrated the graduation of the class of 2017, and a total of thirty-three graduates over the last six years.

One of the reasons I was first attracted to working for NPH was the way that we invest in leadership formation and empower leaders from within the organization. For example, we have leadership groups in the houses that focus on empowering girls and teenagers. We annually offer a Youth Leadership conference, where all the houses send pequeños to participate in a weeklong workshop together on leadership. In Seattle, we offer the Seattle Institute and the NPH Global Leadership program, which partners with local organization iLEAP to train and develop our hermanos mayores (older brothers and sisters) and staff working in the homes.

While creating safe spaces to reflect and engage with others, these programs are an invitation to grow personally and professionally. Participants spend much time celebrating the joys and pondering the challenges that face NPH. Due to the length of the Seattle Institute, we are able to spend time covering many topics, such as self-awareness, communication, growing interpersonal skills, and leadership. I admire our students’ courage and boldness in examining their past, discussing their present, and imagining what their future paths could hold under the pretext of leadership.

This year in the Seattle Institute, we split the year into five different sections: transition, teambuilding, self-awareness, professional skills, and personal vocation. Some of the projects that give students opportunities to demonstrate what they’ve learned were the Christmas Party in December, their speeches given at NPH USA events, and their final projects through iLEAP, our partner organization focusing in global leadership. Throughout the year, they attend English classes at Seattle Central College. Three of our students were so advanced that they took college-level humanities classes at SCC. Through five different retreats, weekly Saturday formational and check-in meetings, and various events in Seattle, the students are challenged to improve their English, learn and employ leadership knowledge, and work on their own identity. I am incredibly proud of the success of the six this year—which you can read more about in other blog posts.

The month-long Global Leadership program with iLEAP focused on similar themes of professional growth, improving English, and leadership within their NPH homes. The nine participants worked on professional growth, imagined future projects for their respective homes, and talked about the importance of self-care. Additionally, they were able to visit three Seattle businesses that center their mission on social enterprise and community development. In their final presentations, they all commented on feeling re-engergized, more dedicated, and excited about implementing all they had gleaned from the program in their lives and and sharing with their NPH colleagues.

All of our programs focus on servant leadership—with the word servant being key. Too often, the standard metric of leadership is associated with prestige and authority. Rather, we focus on everyone’s ability to be a leader, to affect change, and to contribute to his or her local communities. For example, we talk about the hot summer of 1954 in Cuernavaca, Mexico, where a little boy robbed Fr. Wasson. Instead of being angry or scared, Fr. Wasson decided to put fear of this little boy aside in order to practice compassion and love. Not only was this the beginning of NPH, but it also serves as a fantastic model of decision making where compassion reigns over fear and begins a movement.

I am proud to work for an organization that believes in cultivating experiences for our youth and staff. I believe that the seeds planted through any combination of these opportunities come to fruition in beautiful ways. The exposure to a broader landscape of ideas and people that happens in Seattle enriches the participants’ ability to lead in a flexible, responsible and compassionate manner. Keep an eye out for these wonderful young adults!

Paz y bien,

Jacqueline Shrader



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.




Jimmy’s final speech

DSC_0543Hi everyone, I am Jimmy from Nicaragua. This year in Seattle has helped me to discover in a deep way that we all are the same. That is to say nobody is more than another; and nobody is less than another. I know that every single person is unique, and that we should all strive to be our best selves. I have realized that we all have to love each other and support each other because every person is struggling with something.

As most of you already know, I am a quiet person.  This trait is useful because it helps me to listen more carefully to others. I am also very aware of what going on around me.  I know that I have to be careful with this awareness because sometimes it can turn to judgement, which is not good. I want to use my awareness for understanding,  instead of judgement, so I am able to help people and be supportive.  The most important reason for first knowing myself is that it helps me to be aware of my own behavior toward those surrounding me.

A leader is someone who supports others.  A leader has difficult conversations with people in peaceful way. A leader creates a safe environment for those surround him or her.  A leader serves others without expecting anything in return.  But, to me, most importantly, a good leader is humble. This is the kind of leader I will strive to be.

Being in Seattle has been hard at times because I have been immersed in a new culture and surrounded by a new language; However, it has also been fun because I was able to do activities that I had never done before. For example, the gala, going skiing, spending time with my host family here in Seattle and then with some of their relatives in Arizona and Wenatchee.  I played golf for the first time! And I have had the opportunity to have important and deep conversations with friends.

I have grown a lot as a person throughout my time here and I have also grown as a leader which means I will be able to better serve my community and my NPH family. I know that some of my areas of strength are that I am a responsible person and a good listener. I want to use these strengths to keep working with children because I believe that children are the future of our countries, and to keep our NPH family functioning well will develop good citizens and break the cycle of poverty.

When I return home, I am going to continue with my university studies and support NPH wherever they need me. My major is international relations and I hope to complete my degree in the next couple years and continue to serve my NPH family. Also, at Seattle Central, I took  some Psychology courses and I would like to continue studying.

Finally, I want to thank all the beautiful and kind people who supported me in my weaknesses, and the people who felt proud of me in my strengths –among them, my beautiful host family, The Harts, friends who gave me useful and honest advice, and those who took the time to share with me in one way or another. I love and appreciate you all and will carry you with me when I am home in Nicaragua.

Thank you.DSC_0432.


Mariela’s Final Speech

Hi everyone. For the people that don’t know who I am, my name is Mariela and I from NPH Mexico.

I want to share about my experiences at the Seattle Institute and at iLEAP.

When I wrote my application to participate in the Seattle Institute program, I thought it would all be easy and exciting. I know now that only the second word was true.

I had a different idea about what leadership meant. In my mind, leadership was more about being the strongest in a group. But through my time in Seattle, I have learned that an equally important part of leadership is believing in myself, sharing my feelings with others, and taking time to reflect on myself. Allowing myself to be vulnerable is also very important.

The Seattle Institute and iLEAP have helped me thoughtfully consider who I am, where I am going, and what I want. We learned how to create goals, and different methods to be able to do them.

A personal goal for me is to be able to be the best version of myself, accepting my weaknesses, and being proud of my virtues.  And my professional goals are continue to grow my knowledge, skills and abilities as a dentist in order to help my community.

This stage in my life is very important for me because I want to inspire my younger brothers and sisters and share what I have learned. I want them to be able to see that being part of NPH is really amazing. NPH is transforming our lives now, and in the future, we are going to be the people who transform others’ lives with love and education.

I know there is a lot to learn, inside and outside the classroom, and this is only the beginning of my jorny. I know I’m going to make mistakes in the future, but something I struggle with is   recanaisin when something is not working, and being able to know when it is time to go a different way.

Now when I think about leadership, words like humility, tolerance, support, empathy, and teaching are what come to mind. These words are important to me and define the kind of leader I am trying to be.

I know now that I am a leader who is good at communicating and supporting others. I enjoy listening to people, being open to their ideas, and working with them.

I want to support and motivate others to give their best in order to make change. It’s not because I believe I have all the answers, but from my own experiences, I understand what it means to have someone who believes and has faith in you, to help you believe in yourself.

This program was amazing for me. I take with me an album of memories of adventures with my brothers and sisters, my host family, my teachers at the school, and all the people involved with NPH. I want to say thank you to all of you for being patient and understanding with this crazy Mariela.

Today is a really good day, not just because it is our graduation and is the end of the program. It is because we know that this is the beginning of something really amazing for everyone. I feel inspired and I believe that everything happened for a reason, like to make a difference, to encourage change, to become our best selves, and help others.

Finally, I want to let you know to Saravia, Roxana, Jimmy, Samuel and David, that it was an honor to be with you in this beautiful adventure and you will always be in my heart. Thank you and thank you all of you.

Roxy’s Final Speech

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be publishing the student’s speeches from graduation. They were so great! Each speech was written by each student in their own English. 

Hello, everyone! My name is Roxana and I’m from El Salvador

thanks for being here with us in this wonderful moment. I would like to share a little bit about my experiences here in Seattle.

This year in Seattle, I have discovered that I am a leader. In the beginning, I didn’t believe in myself. But now I have the confidence that I can succeed, can make many changes in my life, and in the lives of others.

A few of my favorite experiences have been in this group with my brother and sisters, iLeap and Seattle Central College. At school, meeting other students from other countries was very interesting for me. I really enjoyed learning about other cultures with my new friends. The retreats that we went on together were very profound for me, and full of new experiences, like kayaking and patel-boarding. One important thing I learned in iLeap is how to put my dreams into action.

Through my experiences, I have discovered some of my strengths. I found that I am good at helping people with their problems. I connect easily with other people. I am a good listener. I want to use these and other skills I have learned to help others, especially those with special needs.

I know I need help with this, so I will work with my other brother and sisters to continue building Father Wasson dreams. How? By teaching each other how to be a good family member, why it is important for a family to be close. Why it is necessary to learn about NPH services and values. To do this, I want to work with small groups. I want them to know there are so many people who believe in us and what we can do. And they should believe me because of my experiences meeting and connecting with other people during my time here in Seattle.

I am also starting to learn more about my leadership style with the help of iLEAP, my peers and facilitators at the Seattle institute and my host family

Part of my leadership means being able to take good care of myself, physically, mentally and spiritually, so that I can help others build their dreams and make them come to life. And in helping other make their dreams come true, mine will come true as well.

. Leadership means working hard in what you believe in, believing in your group, and believing you will do whatever it is you want to do. I want to be this type of leader because sometimes we don’t believe in ourselves. Then we need people like all of you to help us discover what we can do and what we can change. This allows me to teach my brother and sister at NPH that the skills we have are important and that we can make many changes together.

I’ve also discovered that when I am hurting, I need to stop. This is important! Knowing myself is important to my leadership, because it will help me to know when to ask for help, take time to take care of myself, or just keep going!

I’m so happy to go back home and share my experiences with my family and community in El Salvador. I’m exited to finish my psycology degree at the university and use it to help other people, especially those with  special needs.

In conclusion, I would like to say thank you to all of you for making this experience possible. Some special thanks you to my host family, Donna Egge, Jacqueline, the NPH office, leap, Cathy Callan family, Bubar Family and all of my friends. And again, thanks for being part of my history. You are my favorite chapter. Gracias.