Intern Alex Ozkan and the NPH Leadership Institute


For those of you who don’t know me or what I do, my name is Alex Ozkan and I am one of the two NPHI Leadership Institute Interns this year from Seattle University. I have been working with the Leadership Institute since September, and am grateful to have such a fantastic internship. I serve as a cultural partner and English tutor for the four students in the program this year as well as provide some administrative support for the Leadership Institute. Coming in, I expected my role as an intern to be a typical intern role: office work, errands, etc. However, after attending the opening mass early in the year, it became quite clear that this internship would be something different. I was greeted with home-cooked food (a rarity for a college student) and a friendly environment. I remember being in awe after returning to campus the hospitality I experienced and the number of people who truly wanted to help and support the four students in the program this year. From that point on, I realized that I was going to be welcomed into the NPH family whether I expected to or not.

From my perspective as an English tutor and cultural partner, I have seen growth and personal development in the students. From an academic perspective, the students continue to improve and make progress in the difficult language that English is. They impress every one of my friends they meet with their comprehension and conversational skills that they have developed in the past six months. Additionally, I continue to be inspired by the students’ commitment to making the world a better place and desire to help their respective homes. They express their gratitude for everything they have been given liberally and truly strive to be good servant leaders.

As for me, I have learned and grown through the experience I am getting by working for the Leadership Institute. I am learning what the culture is like in a nonprofit organization and am seeing the difficulties that come with running one—particularly with such a young organization like the Leadership Institute. I am gaining cultural awareness by working with the students and am learning the difficulties that come with working in a cross-cultural context. Surprisingly enough, I am also learning more than I expected about English, particularly some of the grammar and mechanics. This experience has also reaffirmed my desire to serve internationally at some point in my life.

The past 6 months of working with the students and the Leadership Institute have been fantastic and I look forward to interning with such a great organization through June!
Alex Ozkan
Seattle University ’15



Fall Quarter Comes to a Close

What have we learned?

What have we learned?

Yesterday we had our final weekly leadership meeting of this quarter.  These meetings serve as a space to share learning (aha moments), ask questions and reflect.  They are also when we look at different aspects of leadership formation and share a meal together.  Over the past three months we have slowly been transitioning to more and more English and I am so pleased that yesterday our entire meeting was conducted in English!

The leadership students were asked to reflect on their first three months in Seattle and then we had time to share with each other.  Afterwards they headed off to Seattle Central Community College to pick up their grades for Fall Quarter.  All of them successfully moved up to the next level and we are so proud of all of their hard work and perseverance!

Mutual Invitation: This is the process we use to share/listen to each other.

Mutual Invitation: This is the process we use to share/listen to each other.

Reflecting on our first three months in Seattle.

Reflecting on our first three months in Seattle.



Jacinto with a book on Fair Trade, this is a good follow up to our visit to Theo's Chocolate Factory a few weeks ago!

Jacinto with a book on Fair Trade, this is a good follow up to our visit to Theo’s Chocolate Factory a few weeks ago!


Donate a book to NPH’s future leaders For Christmas!

If you are looking for a way to support the NPH Leadership Institute this Christmas, you can donate a book and it will be hand inscribed with your dedication to our emerging leaders.  It is a great way to make a difference this Christmas! For book ideas, please check out our Amazon book list! And, thank you!

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Rodolfo Reflects on the First Months in Seattle

Since I left my country Honduras on September 8th, 2012, I have arrived in Seattle and begun my new life. First, I want to thank God for this opportunity and NPH for supporting me and forming me into a good person. I am thankful for all the people that believe in me, especially for my brothers and sisters. Lastly, I want to thank Father Wasson for considering me as a son and giving me a family.

I have learned many things while living here in Seattle. One area in particular is as a leader for my NPH family. I want to give my best effort while I study English at Seattle Central Community College. Also, I want to share my dreams and experiences from NPH. My dream is to help my NPH family because so many people have helped me. I feel happy to know so many people that want to help all the children of NPH. In the future, I want to study economics or finances. Why? Because it is a way that I can help my country and NPH. A phrase that has helped me grow as a future leader: If you want to change the world, you need to start with yourself.

Thank you for being part of my family and for reading my post, because I am NPH.


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Welcome to our Second Year!

This year we began our year with a week-long orientation to the NPH Leadership Institute in Seattle, followed by the orientation at Seattle Central Community College.  This was a great way to start our year and has allowed the students time to settle in with their families, connect with former NPH volunteers, meet other NPH supporters in the area, learn the bus system and take in their new environment.  It has also allowed time to enjoy our unseasonably warm and sunny weather by visiting places such as Lake Washington and Bainbridge Island.  Finally, last Saturday we saw Seattle via the famous “Duck Tour”.  Our guide even spoke Spanish since he had lived in Guatemala!


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Now that they are settled in, the students are eager to begin their classes on Monday and we are hurriedly ordering their textbooks and making all the final arrangements!  Please hold them in your prayers as they begin this next step in their journey here!



Meet the NPH Leadership Institute Class of 2013!

All four members of the second class of the NPH Leadership Institute are here in Seattle and ready to begin their year of growth and study. Take a moment to get to know each of them!

Santos Rodolfo Zuniga Giron, NPH Honduras

Rodolfo is currently completing his final year of service in My Good Shop (website on which items needed in the home are posted for purchase by donors) at Rancho Santa Fe. He said: “NPH is everything to me, it is my first family, a place where I am happy and proud to live. My NPH family has taught me to fight for my dreams and that I am an important member of our family and our society. I know that God has a purpose for each Pequeño/a that lives in our home.”

During his time in Seattle, Rodolfo hopes to learn about leadership and improve his English abilities. He wants to be a good representative of his NPH family as well as to learn more about the work of Friends of the Orphans and others who help NPH. Following his time in Seattle, he plans to study Economics or Accounting at the university level. With his degree, he hopes to work for NPH in the future either in one of the homes or helping to raise money. He comments that “in the future there will be many more little brothers and sisters and I want them to have everything that I had when I was their age so that they can achieve their dreams. It is because of NPH that I am who I am today and I am thankful to God, Father Wasson and everyone who supports our NPH family.”

Rodolfo (center) with the boys from Casa Emmanuel at NPH Honduras

Dora Serrano Lemus, NPH El Salvador

Dora is in her third year of university in Santa Ana, El Salvador, where she is studying Psychology. She explains that “the NPH family is one of the blessings in my life and I am so grateful to Father Wasson and all our supporters  who make it possible for us to continue growing and have the chance to have everything we need. Thank you so much.”

During her time in Seattle, Dora hopes to learn more about leadership skills and improve her English. She is also interested in meeting more of the people who support our family from a distance! Upon graduating from the Leadership Institute next June, she will return to El Salvador to complete the final two years of her degree in Psychology. Afterwards, she hopes to serve NPH as a psychologist because she feels that will be a good support for the children. She has never felt obligated to work for NPH, but rather does it out of love and gratitude. She says “I will always be willing to help meet the needs of our home.”

Dora with some of her little brothers and sisters in El Salvador

Celson Enrique Rivera, NPH Nicaragua

Celson is currently completing his year of service in agriculture and transportation. Prior to that he completed high school and a professional accounting course. As he looks ahead to the year in Seattle, he hopes to learn more about leadership and improve his English as well as identifying and learning how to overcome difficulties he may face. He even aspires to have the chance to try his abilities at ice-skating!

Celson says, “NPH is unconditional love. To me, this has meant a place where we are secure, protected, where we can trust in people who want the best for us and are willing to come alongside us as we learn to overcome the difficult moments of our past. ” Upon returning to Nicaragua next July, Celson plans to enter university to study Mechanical Engineering. After completing his studies, he can see himself working for NPH directly or perhaps becoming a godparent to one of his little brothers. He explains “as Pequeños we can never forget that we are part of this large family even when we leave the home. We identify NPH as our family and this makes us proud and grateful to God and to everyone who has helped us.”

Celson (right) with his friend Franklin helping clean up the areas around NPH Nicaragua

Jacinto de Jesús Arias Canel, NPH Guatemala

Jacinto is a high school graduate and currently completing his second year of service the NPH home. He has been working as caregiver and is currently in charge of the youth leadership group at NPH Guatemala. Jacinto is eager to join the Leadership Institute in order to improve his leadership abilities. He hopes to learn how to overcome the errors and fears that come in any leadership position.

On his application for this program Jacinto wrote: “I think the most important leadership qualities in NPH are to be patient, loving, understanding, flexible, keep the feeling of family and above all to place everything we do in God’s hands.” Upon returning to Guatemala, Jacinto hopes to study Systems Engineering. After completing his studies he would like to gain experience in the workforce and then return to NPH to work for the well-being of our children.

Jacinto (right) with his brother Wilmer and friend Rosa

Class of 2013 will be in Seattle soon….

It’s almost time!  Our second leadership group will be here before you know it!  We have already received some generous book/resource donations (THANK YOU!), here are the most urgent needs right now if you’d like to help!

  1. Printer paper, printer cartridges (Epson 125 black, cyan, magenta, yellow) – or simply gift cards to Staples!
  2. Gift cards to Panera (where we often hold our weekly leadership meeting when it’s raining – hmmmm, that’s not very often in Seattle!)
  3. Leadership books

If you’d like to contribute, please let me know by commenting here, on FB or send me an email (!  You can also simply visit our wish list (easy!):

Thanks so much,


Click here: to meet the new group!

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Spring Quarter Wraps Up

A lot can happen in only ten months.  For example – if you dedicate yourself to the task – you can learn (or improve) another language.  That is just what all five leadership students have done since September and we congratulate them on this difficult task!

Wendy studying hard!

Their last quarter at Seattle Central is coming to a close (this week for some, next week for the rest of the group).  We are proud of how much you have all learned and look forward to seeing your English in action at our commencement ceremony in a few weeks!

At Seattle Central – June 2012

Special congratulations this quarter to Emir who was selected as a TOP STUDENT in International Student Programs for Spring 2012. The school newsletter stated: “The students were selected by multiple instructor nominations for excellence in participation, performance, and achievement in the SCIE program this quarter. They have enriched the learning process for everyone!”  Super work Emir, we are very proud of you!

Emir with the Fitton family after being named a top student for Spring 2012



Student Council at SPU

Digyana has been serving as a member of the Student Council at Seattle Pacific University’s ACE program for the past several months.  This has been another great way to put her leadership skills into practice and learn new ones.

The role of the Student Council is to be a connection for ESL students and the administration of the program.  Additionally, they lead retreats, organize activities and plan outings to nearby areas.

The experience with a different kind of leadership group has been very valuable.  Good work, Digyana!