Public Speaking Workshops

By Julio Cesar, Class of 2016

One of the common fears we the humans have is to stand in front of a multitude and speak to them. This fear comes from our lack of confidence in ourselves. We all have the ability to deliver any message we want, in fact we do daily without noticing it. For example, when ordering our food or asking permission to go through the crowd. However, delivering a message to a specific audience requires boldness, preparation and having the right information. The audience can be colleagues at work, scholars or strangers that we have never seen before. Mostly when you are speaking you are talking about something that you know; for example, a business speech or talking about a project you have accomplished or talking about your personal life. Between speaking about our lives and speaking about any other topics, I think sharing personal stories is the most difficult and overwhelming. Because of the fear of delivering public speeches it is recommendable to learn how to do it.

Taking Public speaking workshops with Bob each Wednesday in the evenings really helped me to improve in my public speaking skills. During the period of time that we worked with him we learned about self-confidence and the way to deliver a good speech. I personally learned and improved so much and so did my brothers and sisters. We are not yet perfect public speakers, but we are in the right track with all the skills we learned. The bottom line is this – we always will be afraid of speak in front of others, but when we really want to overcome our fears we will really go for what we want to accomplish.

Once again, I thank to Bob for his excellent talent in help me preparing a better speech. All the techniques really helped me to deliver a good speech at the fundraising event for our NPH homes: “The Carnaval”.


Year Five Begins in Seattle

It has been just over one month since our fifth group of emerging leaders arrived in Seattle.  It has been a full and solid beginning to our year together.  This post will give some highlights of their first month here and then over the next few months each of the students will contribute a more specific post to our blog, so keep checking back!

  • The students arrived on September 10th and our arrival weekend consisted our getting to know our host families, learning our bus routes, and getting to know each other better. We had dinner at Kara’s and played trilingual Pictionary (fun and appropriate for our global NPH family!).
  • During that first week, the students participated in NPH Seattle orientation: What is the Seattle Institute, what can they expect during their year, what do we expect from them, etc….They also met their “tutor, play, culture” mentors – former volunteers who are helping them make the transition from their country to life in Seattle. The students were introduced to our NPH Chaplain here in Seattle, former NPH volunteer Joe Cotton – who serves as a safe and compassionate spiritual guide for any of them as needed throughout the year.
  • During the second week, we had our first leadership intensive at iLEAP. This year we are partnering with iLEAP to deepen our leadership formation.  The students will have four opportunities throughout the year to learn from the good folks at iLEAP about leadership, social change, and their personal ways of serving and leading.  During this first intensive, the focus was on getting to know iLEAP as an organization as well as getting to know Caitlin, Bao, Izumi and Britt, exploring leadership qualities, leadership language and communication, and discussing the importance of time to reflect in our work and lives.
  • The next week brought orientation for our English classes at Seattle Central College. This meant placement tests, tours of the university, meeting advisers and teachers, and registering for fall quarter.  The students also began to meet classmates and friends from all over the world: Saudi Arabia, Japan, Korea, Brazil, etc…
  • On September 26th we celebrated our traditional Welcome Mass at the home of Ann and Don Connolly. In his homily, Fr. Natch Ohno, SJ (Seattle University) urged the students “to teach us, just as you have come to learn…tell us your stories too for we have much to learn from you” and then reminded them “you have come here to learn and grow, you will go back to serve”.
  • The following weekend, the students participated in a full-day leadership retreat at Cipsus Learning Center. They engaged in a variety of experiential learning activities in a beautiful outdoor setting. Our awesome facilitators (thank you Karen Skoog and Anna Ricci!) used the challenge course to represent the students’ year in Seattle, inviting them into teamwork, trust-building, communication, reflection, and fun!
  • Last weekend, we had a workshop on the NPH Volunteer Experience with NPH USA Volunteer Coordinator, Vicky Medley. Our conversation led to a recognition of the cultural adjustment our volunteers make, just as the students are now adjusting to life here.  Now that they are living it, it is easier for them to understand the volunteers’ experience!  We also spent time discussing what makes a volunteer a “good fit” for the NPH family.  Afterwards we met up with former NPH volunteers to go bowling!
  • A lot of our leadership focus during this first month has been on group/team-formation and the stages any small group goes through. Last weekend, we had a challenging and fruitful conversation as a group on where we are now and what we need to do to help our group keep growing together.  This is NOT easy work, but they are doing it and doing it with integrity.
  • The students are now in the midst of their third week of classes, and I have to say that I am already noticing big improvements in their English! They are working and studying hard and it shows.

Phew!  We have been busy!  For my part (Kara), I am so grateful for the way these six students have shown up and been ready to work hard.  This program requires a lot of them, and I see each of them working hard to do their best.  I am also grateful for the amazing Northwest NPH community that year after year comes around our students to make their year successful and inspiring.  I write today in hopeful anticipation of the growth and learning I anticipate for Irene, Mirna, Suyapa, Alberto, Jonathan and Julio during their time here in Seattle.

Stay tuned for blog posts from each student in the coming weeks and months…

Climate, Food, and English: Lucre Reflects on her first months in Seattle

By Lucrecia, NPH Nicragua

Translation by Kara (this time only!!)


Antes de llegar a Seattle, Seattle era una ciudad desconocida para mi. Tuve la oportunidad de investigar en internet!!! Pero no lo hice. Cual fue la razón?. Simple, no quería las referencias de nadie, sabía que viviría por 10 meses en Seattle y supuse que tendria tiempo suficiente para observer y aprender y tener mi propio concepto. Pues bien, estas son algunas de las observaciones a las que he llegado en mis dos meses de estancia en Seattle.

Before coming to Seattle, I didn’t know anything about it.  I had the opportunity to look it up on the internet, but I didn’t.  Why not?  Simple – I didn’t want others opinions.  I know I would live for 10 months in Seattle and I imagined that I would have lots of time to observe and learn for myself.  Here are some of the things I have observed since I got here.

Seattle es una ciudad de Washinton muy hermosa, tiene enormes edificios , muchas playas, muchos lugares para visitar. Los habitantes de Seattles son personas de todas partes( unos nacidos aqui, otros de otros estados del pais o de otros paises).Las personas suelen parecer muy serios, pero una ves que entablas una conversación con ellos la mayoría suele ser amables y serviciales.

Seattle is a city in Washington State.  It is very beautiful, with huge buildings, many beaches, and many places to visit.  The people who live in Seattle are from all over (some born her, other born in other states, and others in other countries).  The people appear to be very serious, but once you start a conversation with them most of them are kind and hospitable.

Mis puntos debiles en seattle son: el CLIMA, la COMIDA y el IDIOMA. Es lo que lo distinguen de mi pais.!!!

For me, the bad parts about Seattle are: the climate, the food, and the language.  This is what is different from my country!!!

El clima es muy fresco y muchos meses de lluvia ( demaciado fresco para mi gusto,siempre tengo frio) pero a la gente de aqui es lo que mas le facina de Seattle.

The climate is very cold and there are many months of rain (and it is cold rain, I am always cold).  But the people here seem to be fascinated by it.

En cuanto a la comida, es un cambio de 360 grados, no hay gallopinto, ni nacatamales, ni nada de lo que comemos en Nicaragua. Todo es Nuevo y muchas variedades de comidas.Pero es una ventaja porque puedo probar la comida de Seattle y seleccionar la que me gusta.

In regards to the food, it is a 360 degree change.  No gallopinto!  No nacatamales, nor anything else that we eat in Nicaragua.  Everything is new and there are many varieties of food.  But that is an advantage because I can try the food and choose what I like.

Y en cuanto al idima, quiciera hablar con mucha gente pero no puedo comunicarme en ingles con ellas. Asi que seguiré aprendiendo, de cultura, costumbres y sobre todo idioma. My host family (Bill y Katy) me dicen “poco a poco”, y si cada dia aprendo un poco mas.

And in regards to the language, I would like to speak with many people but I can’t communicate in English with them.  So, I will keep learning: about culture, customs, and mostly language.  My host family (Bill and Kathy) tell me “little by little”, and it is true – each day I learn a little more. 

En fin, aunque ha sido un poco difícil adaptarse al idioma,a las costumbres y al clima de Seattle que por sierto, nadie dijo que iba hacer fácil. Me gusta Seattle.

Finally, although it is have been a Little hard to adapt to the language, culture, and climate of Seattle (and certainly no one told me it would be easy), I do like Seattle!


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Intercambio Cultural – Cultural Exchange in Seattle

By: Samuel, NPH Mexico

Láizì Seattle de wènhòu, Saludos desde Seattle.  Una palabra dificil de pronunciar para mi, pero es una de las cosas que he aprendido desde que estoy en seattle, ya que todo el tiempo convivo con diferentes personas y diferentes culturas, desde el idioma hasta la comida, pero todos tenermos algo en comun, y es que estamos aprendiendo a hablar ingles.

Desde mi estadia aqui en seattle, no solo he aprendido a hablar mas ingles, sino que al mismo tiempo tienes la oportunidad de prender otros idiomas con tus amigos y companeros de clase, desde el Chino, hasta el frances, desde el Vietnamese hasta el arabe; oviamente solo a decir frases pequenas. Ellos tambien se prestan a aprender espanol con migo, desde palabras como, hola, adios; aunque ellos las primera frase que quieren aprender es “donde esta el bano?”

La comida tambien forma parte de Nuestros intercambios culturales. Nunca en mi vida habia probado un platillo tailandes, o el Falafel mediterraneo. Al mismo tiempo muchos de mis comapaneros ahora conocen mas la cocina Mexicana  gracias a mis recomencaciones. Tambien platicamos de nuestras formas de vestir, nuestra forma de gobienrno, nuestras celebraciones, hasta nuestras formas de saludar.

Gracias a esta oportunidad, ahora tengo amigos de muchas partes del mundo; desde asia hasta America del sur, y tambien he aprendido a convivir con otras culturas, y sobre todo empatizar  con ellas y respetarlas.


Translation…(also by Samuel!):

Láizì Seattle de wènhòu. Hello from Seattle. This is a Chinese word that is hard for me to pronounce, But also is one of the things that I have learned since I am in Seattle, and is because I can find a lot of people whit different cultures. From people who speak different languages, until the food, but we have also something in common that is Learn English.

Since when I have been here in Seattle, I not only learned English, at the same time, I have the opportunity to learns another languages whit my friends and classmates in the school; since Chinese until French, Since Vietnamese until Arabic, but obviously I learn some little words. They like to learn some words in Spanish with me too. Like Hello, or Good Bye; though the first phrase that they like to learn is “Were Is the Bathroom?

Food is part of our cultural exchanges, In my life, I had never tried a Thai dish, or the Mediterranean Falafel, But also some of my friends and classmates had never tried the Mexican food, Now they know more about Mexican traditional dishes thanks to me. Also we talk about our dress, our form of government in each of our countries, Our different celebrations, until our different ways to say hello.

Thanks to this opportunity to be here, I have a lot of friend from different countries; from Asia to South America, and at the same time, I had learned to share, empathize and respect them


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By Nelson Alvarez, NPH Honduras
There are four parts to my first days in Seattle.
First, when I arrived at the SEA- TAC (Seattle, Tacoma) airport, I met many people, including students from other NPH homes. We took many pictures at the airport. I was so happy, but very tired. Before going to the house, I met my host family Judy and Roger Paulsen whom I am learning a lot of English. When I arrived at my house, my family had prepared my beautiful room.
Second, I found many surprising things in Seattle.  The next day my host family showed me how to take the bus to school this day was so hard for me because here in Seattle the bus system is completely different than Honduras and I still was thinking that it was the same than Honduras, it was so funny because when I took the first bus I hoped to find things like music, people talking each other, or the person who takes the money from each passenger so they can ride the bus  this was so hard for me because I have never been here before. I was surprised by many things because in Honduras we have a very different bus system. Drivers here respect the rules of the road, and people here are very considerate of each other.
Third, my next week here was very busy learning about the University, and the NPH leadership program. We had fun activities, and worship experiences. I met some ex-volunteers that worked in Honduras many years ago when I was there. We had dinner together at Lake Union, we rode The Ducks, toured Seattle, and I attended worship with my host family.
Fourth, I attended my first week of school. When I started classes I was thinking about many things, and I was so nervous. I met my English teacher and my classmates from many countries: Saudi Arabia, Japan, and Vietnam. Actually this is difficult to me because sometimes I think that I am still with my classmates from my country it is so funny because when I talk with them I sometimes tell them words in Spanish like,No, Asi no es, they look at me a little rare because anybody in my English class speak Spanish just me and when they talk each other in Arabic I feel so confused and I tell them I don’t understand you, I am now enjoying school and my studies a lot because my English teacher is very helpful, and my classmates are very friendly.
In summary, my first days in Seattle have been very tiring, but exciting. I feel like I am well prepared for my studies at Seattle Central College (SCC).



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Luisa Reflects on her First Month in Seattle…

A Reflection by Luisa Riquiac (NPH Guatemala), Translation by K. King

Mi primer mes en Seattle fue como aprender ajedrez tenía que enfrentarme a los cambios, y que cada mañana tendría que tomar varias decisiones porque no entendía nada de inglés entonces fue como me callo o le contesto, me muevo o no me muevo, aprendo o no aprendo, tenía que ver el mundo este como este, pero con la confianza de que ese mundo y esa realidad podía mejorar y tener una actitud positiva y sobre todo jamás negar esta realidad y sobre todo aceptar esa realidad.

Tenía que tener una actitud de acción como el ajedrez de pensar cómo hacer realidad esta oportunidad de cambios y como poder sobrevivir a un país diferente. Aprender a usar lo que puedo usar con la única diferencia que con otro tipo de lenguaje, ha sido muy divertido a estar enfrente de las mismas repuestas, me recuerdo que andaba buscando una dirección como loca pero por miedo a confundirme no preguntaba, pero llego un momento de frustración que me anime a preguntar y le pregunto al joven y se me queda viendo y levanta la mana y me dice estas enfrente, solamente nos empezamos a reír los dos.


My first month in Seattle was similar to learning to play chess.  I had to confront changes, and every morning I had to make various decisions since I did not know any English.  I had to decide to be quiet or speak, to move or not move, to learn or not to learn.  I had to see this world as it is, but with trust that this world and this reality could get better.  I needed to have a positive attitude and above all never reject this reality.

I needed an attitude of action, like in chess.  I needed to consider how to make this opportunity a change for change and growth, and learn how to survive in a foregin country.  I have learned to use what I can to communicate! 

One funny example was one day I was walking in Seattle looking for a certain address like a crazy girl.  But because I was afraid to make a mistake, I didn’t ask for help.  Finally I got so frustrated that I got up the courage to ask, and I asked a young man on the street.  He just looked at me and lifted his hand to point at the building and said, “you are here”!  We just began to laugh together.


Disciplina + esfuerzo = Exito.

Discipline + Effort = Success


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Closing our 2nd Year

Yesterday we said goodbye to Jacinto, Celson, Doris, and Rodolfo at SeaTac airport.  I know they began their own journeys home with the same flurry of emotions that was moving inside me.

I felt sadness at saying farewell to young people who have deeply touched my life, challenged me, and shared their hearts with me.

Excitement in picturing the welcomes they will receive at Rancho Santa Fe, Casa Padre Wasson, Casa Sagrada Familia, and Casa San Andres.

Gratitude for their willingness to step completely into the work here in Seattle, which is not easy, and to grow through it.

Grief over the stories of pain they have endured in such short lifetimes, and awe at how good is being pulled and drawn from tragedy.

Laughter.  Because, well sometimes it just helps to laugh together.

Relief when each packed suitcase came in just under 50lbs!

Happiness in seeing their readiness to return to their NPH family and their home countries.

Wonder and curiosity about how they will use their lives to serve and love others.  How will God continue to work through each of them?

Worry over their re-entry, knowing it is yet another in a long string of transitions.

Love and Hope.  For each of them.  For their families of origin.  For our NPH family.  For Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

And even, through them, a glimmer of hope for the broken world we live in.

My gratitude and love to each of you: Doris, Rodolfo, Celson, and Jacinto.



How can a mini-van help an emerging leader? We are so glad you asked!

Use your old mini-van/suburban to contribute to NPH’s future!

The NPH International Leadership Institute in Seattle is growing!  Next year, the SIX participants will no longer all fit in Kara’s car presenting lots of logistical complications!

At least once a week all the students engage in a service project or attend a workshop, class, fundraiser, worship service or other event together.  We also have several retreats throughout the year that we get to by car.

Being able to transport all the students in ONE vehicle is a huge blessing!  We hope to be able to continue that as the program grows.

To that end, we are looking for a donated vehicle with at least 7 seat-belts (6 NPH students, 1 driver).  If you or anyone you know is ready to downscale (kids off to college?), will you consider donating your vehicle to these emerging young leaders?

In reality, we are also going to need extra help to pay for licensing fees, taxes, and gas if anyone would like to help with that too!

Sorry for the very direct plea, but we are realizing how needed this will be come September 8th, 2013!

For more information, please contact Kara at: 206-949-0792 or

Thank you!!!!!

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My Passion for Soccer

            Presently Soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world; and people like to support lots of teams. Going to the stadiums, watching games at home, and making bets with each other are some examples of how people connect with this sport. Incredible amounts of money are spent just for a ticket, and sometimes people do not even know the players, but watching good matches and seeing good tricks with the ball, makes people excited. Although fans don’t know anything about the players, in reality they hope to enjoy a good Soccer game. Most people support this sport just for fun; however, a few passionately and intensely support it for variety of reasons. One of those people is me – I have played since I was a child, it is fun to watch on TV, and it is extremely excited to play – three reasons why I love this sport.

Soccer was inculcated to me by my uncle, Jorge, when I was I child is where everything started. The importance to support Real Madrid, a team from Spain, was his sermon every single day. When Real Madrid played, he did not have anything more important than that, including going to Mass. At first, I supported that team just because my uncle made do it, but once I understood the rules and everything about it, I started to feel the passion. Now, no matter where I am, supporting Soccer and Real Madrid is essential for me. Although Real Madrid is not a team from Guatemala- and some people express it is silly what I do – I feel so proud supporting this team. This is because it is in my mind and I am absolutely obsessed; therefore, the important point is what I think, not what other people say.

Watching games at home is the second thing that reflects my passion for soccer. To be seated for ninety-minutes in a sofa, watching a game, is so boring for some people. For me, watching a game means many things: learn new tricks, understanding unfamiliar rules, and seeing the structure of how the teams play. The passion for Soccer makes me feel like I am playing or I am supporting at the stadium—yelling, jumping, singing, and so on. People might think that it is a waste of time, but that’s what buffs really do, support their teams, no matter if they lose or win. When new stars appear, makes more interesting this sport because everyone has their favorite. For example, my favorite is Ozil, a player from Germany, who plays very well, and I really enjoy watching him. For those reasons and much more, I love watching games at home.

As a result of watching games, my motivation to practice soccer is greatly elevated. Imitating tricks is always in my mind when I am playing. No matter if I do them well, the important thing is to keep practicing, hoping that one day they will be perfect. Practicing, at least twice a week makes me happy because I stay in shape and have more experience which makes a big difference compared to others who don’t do it. Communication, good attitudes, and how to work in group are 3 things I have learned from soccer. Those things have helped me in my personal life because practicing them is how I can become a better person, that’s why I love to practice this wonderful sport.

In conclusion, soccer has been an important part of my life, playing it since my childhood and supporting a really good team—Real Madrid. Through media such as television, I have had a better connection with it. Likewise, putting into practice and trying to copy the different tricks has been increasing my passion for soccer.

-Jacinto Arias, 2013





If only….!

In a recent English assignment, Celson was asked which charity he would give money to if he won $50,000!  Here is his essay:


Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos 

If I had $50,000 to give to charity, there are some reasons why I would give the money to Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos (NPH). First of all, it is an international organization which has helped kids and young man and women in poverty and at risk situations. They have nine orphanages in nine Latin-Americans countries that their philosophy is to live as a big family.  Another reason is that they have between 300 and 500 children in their homes in each country.  They provide them a really good life.  For example, they give them a home to live in, food, medical shelter and love through the people who take care of them.  In addition, they give them education to become efficient for the society.  The final and most import reason why I would like to give $ 50,000 to Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos is that I live there and they give me all the education that I have.  Such as, they paid for my technical course in Technical accounting, and recently they gave me a scholarship to study English and Leadership here in the United State.  I like the way that they raised me!  To sum up, the work that they do to transforms lives, the facilities that they provide and the way that they help me are the reasons why I would give $ 50,000 to this wonderful organization.