Transitions

On June 25th, I walked across the stage to receive my Master’s Degree from The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology.  In the audience (and others there in spirit) was my family. They had come from Seattle and Spokane, as well as from Haiti, Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua to bear witness to this moment with me.

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The Seattle School Graduation.

On June 26th, I listened at an NPHI Board Meeting to Donna Egge and Miguel Venegas as they reminded me of how far we had come together over the past 6 years of shaping and then beginning The Seattle Institute.

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Miguel and Kara during the NPHI Board Meeting.

I mention both of these days not only because they were two significant endings so close together, but also because The Seattle School and NPH have been interwoven in my life for the past four years.  As I have grown as a therapist, the leadership program has grown and developed.  As I have learned who I am uniquely created to be in the world, I have been better able to accompany our young people in that same journey.  As I stepped into a school with its own recent history of transitions, failure, and redemption – I was newly able to imagine that for NPH as well.

I will be forever grateful to NPHI for taking the risk they took in launching this program.  And, I will be forever grateful to The Seattle School for the transformation that began in my heart within that brick building.

A week later, on July 3rd, we celebrated our fifth graduating class of The Seattle Institute.  In the audience were alumni from four years of the Seattle program, along with our Seattle Community which has so lovingly embraced this program from day one.  The graduating students spoke wisely and courageously as they shared with us what they had learned during their time in Seattle.  If you missed it, you can listen to their speeches here: 2016 Student Speeches

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Alberto sharing his thoughts on leadership.

We shared a bit about how the program came to be and where we are now, including introducing our partners from iLEAP and the NPH staff members who were in Seattle for a month-long leadership training.  We were also excited to share an update on our alumni and the good and inspiring work they are doing in the communities.  You can read those here: Where are they now?

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Jean Francois (Charter Class) reflects on the first year of The Seattle Institute.

Finally, the graduates and alumni offered a gift I will always treasure – their words and memories about their time in the program.  Jean Francois Seide (charter class) was there to remind us of some of the realities of that first year, for we certainly had a steep learning curve!  I am glad we can now laugh about how lost we often felt (or literally were) in that first year – and I am grateful for all the learning that has come from it.

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Charter Class with NPHI Leadership in 2011.

Those first students: JF, Emir, Wendy, Julissa, Digyana were the pioneers of this program and their legacy is strong.  I am thankful for them and their willingness to “go with the flow” as we learned together during that first year.  We are also grateful to the supporters and host families who joined us as we got our feet under us along the way.  The vision of this program takes time to fulfill, and the results may not always be quickly seen.  But, that first class is clear evidence something beautiful is at work here: JF is headed to Oxford to pursue a Master’s Degree in Public Policy, Emir is in his 5th year of Medical School in Monterrey, Wendy is finishing her degree in Linguistics and runs the Girl’s Home at NPH Honduras during weekend and vacations, Julissa is a fabulous mother and works at a bilingual call center in Guatemala City as well as being involved in the Hermanos Mayores Group for NPH Guatemala, and Digyana lives in Tegucigalpa with her husband Denis and is the lead Montessori teacher at NPH Honduras.  It is stunning to me to see the good work they are each doing.  I could go on about our other alumni as well, but instead, I will invite you again to read more about each of them here: Where are they now?

As the other alumni and students blessed me with their words, they also offered tangible gifts that I will take with me into my work as a therapist.  It is a lovely way to carry them with me as I make this transition.  Thank you to each and every one of you!

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Seattle Institute Students from Classes of 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016.

Finally, a shout out to Donna Egge.  Donna has believed in, and dreamt of, this program long before it even crossed my imagination.  She has been a mentor to me throughout the process of getting it up and running.  Donna, thank you for your passion, your wisdom, your courage, and your friendship.  You have taken my late night calls when things were falling apart (and helped me see they really weren’t), you have challenged (and oh, so gently guided) me when I was veering off-course, you have supported me when it felt overwhelming, you have celebrated with me when the beauty of the students made my heart sing, you have done all of this and so much more.  Deep, sincere gratitude to you and all you have been to me during this process.

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Donna with students from the Class of 2015.

Tomorrow, we begin the real work of transitioning to our next Program Director, Jacqueline Shrader.  You will hear more from Jacqueline in the coming weeks and months, for now please join me in welcoming her into our NPH Seattle family.  Jacqueline can be reached at: jacqueline.shrader@nph.org.

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The NPH Seattle Community met Jacqueline at Graduation o July 3rd!

It has been my honor and deep privilege to be on this journey with you.  I can continue to be reached for NPH-related topics through August at kara.king@nph.org.  Otherwise, you can find me at: kara@karakingcounseling.com.

Peace and All Good Things (Paz y Bien),

Kara King

 

Faces Of Hope 2016

By Suyapa, Class of 2016

Faces of Hope is one of the events for fund raising for the kids in N.P.H. homes to provide the needs to our children, health care, education, faith, and moral values.

We want to say thank you for the people who work in N.P.H office to made these events good and successful: KATIE, CRISTI, HAILEY, AND GLORY.

At the same time all the students including Kara represented our brothers and sisters in the homes.

The people who attended these events help to make a child dreams come true by being a godparents or helping, and many different ways to create a beautiful smile.

Working in these events we have learned about these people who make it possible to continue the father Wasson’s legacy for children.

Sharing my story was a new experience for me.  Talking in front of many people and representing the family was an amazing opportunity.  The support we received during the practices for the event helped us to grow.  Thank you, Kara and Bob Bubar.

I shared my story in Seattle and my brother Jonathan shared his story in the event in Bellevue.

In conclusion, Faces of Hope was a wonderful experience that we had – the opportunity to represent our NPH family in Seattle, our second home.

 

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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”.

 

Our NPH USA Family

In this blog post, Suyapa and Alberto reflect on their experience working at the NPH-USA office in Bellevue, WA.

Suyapa (Class of 2016):

In December we spent two days in the NPH office to sign many letters to say thank you for the people who support NPH International

Katie also gave us a presentation on the many ways to collect money for NPH, for example Galas or many trips to the homes or other activities.  I was really interesting to meet a lot of the staff people who support NPH, and I also heard some history about how one person decided to help one child and changed her life as a result.

I realized that the letters we write to our Godparents are as important to them as the letters we get from them are to us!

 

(Alberto, Class of 2016):

When Kara and Katie had invited us make calls to say thank you to NPH supporters, I honestly had no idea of the impact it was going to make on me.

We were 3 students who were able to make the calls that day: Jonathan (NPH Guatemala), Julio (NPH Salvador), finally me (NPH Haiti).  We had over 800 calls to make if I’m not wrong. At first I thought to myself how is it going to be possible because English is not our first language? In reality it was very easy. I made the first call and the person answered, I was very happy to talk with him, and so we had a short conversation, this person was very nice and kind and I didn’t want to hang up the phone!

What I found out is that our supporters are very proud of us, they like when they hear the recipients of their donations talking with them. They supported us not because they know they will get the money back, they do it with love, with joy, they simply want to change lives.

Finally we made nearly 700 calls and truly it was a pleasure for us to do it, and if I had to do it again I would do it for my family.

A big thanks to all of you supporters who are helping in this great work in one way or another, know that you will not regret it.

Thank you to you Kara for giving us your time, to always be there to us in everything we do. We love you.

Thanks to all our host family especially mine, the Fitton family, I love you.

Finally I want to thank the NPH USA office staff, (Katie, Cristi, Hailey and Glory, and all their super volunteers) thank you for your hard work, we love you!

 

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Christmas in Family!

By Julio Cesar, Class of 2016

There are some important holidays during the year, but Thanksgiving day and Christmas are the most important world wide. In Thanksgiving day, people gather in family and thanks with a delicious special dinner for all they have received during the year, they give thanks for the loved ones and family members.

Christmas is the season of being thankful for Jesus’ birth. Like Thanksgiving day people gather together, eat a special meal, spend time in family and share presents. The most important thing here is being gathered in family and share lot of beautiful moments with them, and being thankful for Jesus child born in our hearts and homes. Also in this holiday is important being in peace and celebrate all the blessings we have, what a better way that in family.

While celebrating Christmas eve here in the United States, the memory of my NPH family came to my mind. The special night mass we celebrate on Christmas eve, the special meal we share all together at the basketball court, the presents we receive in the morning thanks to our benefactors, the fireworks that we watch after dinner, laughs of my brothers. All that good sensations that I have in my NPH home, this year I lived with my host family The Saldañas, and I bet my five NPH Seattle Institute brothers/sisters lived with their families too. It was an amazing Christmas celebration! Thank you to all our families for making a special Christmas celebration for us!

I want to close my post by thanking Bubar family for hosting our Christmas party, thanks to Tapias family for the posada in your house, it was amazing! Thanks to all the beautiful people that have shared time and presents with us the Seattle institute leadership pequenos, Thank you to all friends whom help NPH in any way, Thank you to Kara for supporting us at any time, Thanks to all NPHI staff for all the hard work you make, Thanks to iLEAP staff for helping us growing as social leaders, and a huge THANK YOU to all our host families for being all the time with us, we love you!

Blessings for all in the 2016 year!!!

 

 

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…

If you want to Change the World, Begin with Yourself

By Luisa, NPH Guatemala (Class of 2015)

(English below)

Hola soy Luisa Fernanda llevo nueve meses estudiando en Seattle Central College. Antes de venir nunca pensé que mi vida iba a cambiar, tengo tantas cosas que contar que no sé  si tendré espacio en mi  hoja.  Antes de venir a Seattle mi vida era muy diferente estaba llena de mucha ira, envida, enojo  la verdad que nunca quise entender porque, simplemente quería esconderme y que nadie pensara que existo, pero esto cambio aquí, vivir con una familia que siempre está pendiente de todo lo que pasa al mi alrededor y ellos estaban atendiendo nuestras necesidades y no simplemente la mía sino la de todos nosotros. Cada vez que veía trabajar a las personas para NPH, me sorprendía porque todos entregaban con mucho amor y con una esperanza para nosotros.

Quiero decirles mil gracias que no tengo palabras, simplemente GRACIAS.

Aquí he trabajado la reflexión conmigo misma, la paciencia, tener un tiempo para proponer planes y son tantas cosas que ahora entiendo, por ejemplo: que cuando estamos herido lastimamos a las personas. Cuando uno  es un líder tiene que saber sanar sus propias heridas para no usarlo como un poder, como dice la Madre Teresa C. di algo que sane no que hiera, esto hacia yo antes de venir Seattle, sé que lastime a varias personas con mi ira y una de las cosa fue porque no sabía sanar mis propias heridas sino solo actuaba.

Aprendi mucho sobre el liderazgo la verdad que nunca me preocupe en buscar información sobre esto, siempre creí trabajar sola y sin ayuda de nadie, pero ahí estaba mi error. Dios nunca trabajo solo él, tuvo que buscar a sus discípulos para que lo ayudaran, entonces ahí entendí que era importante tener dos personas diferentes para no tener las mismas ideas.

Nunca creí en mí, simplemente hacia lo que me pedían educaba con rencor y era un ciclo estaba creando personas como yo con ira. Mi estancia en Seattle me ha ensenado muchas cosas, nunca estuve lejos de casa, no extrañe a nadie porque aquí tenia a mis  hermanos, no extrañe el ruido de cada mañana porque mis hermanos creaban ese ruido de NPH y  por supuesto que  no extrañe mi deporte favorito, hay tantas cosas que le doy gracias a Dios por darme tantas personas tan generosas.

El Padre Wasson hizo un trabajo duro, no es fácil hablar enfrente muchas personas para poder ayudar a tu familia, es difícil y yo tuve la experiencia de esto, cada palabra que decía era como recordar mi pasado y cada vez que leí cada oración de mi historia tenía mucho dolor y enojo. Pero me hizo crecer como persona.

Estoy tan contenta con Kara porque es difícil trabajar con personas como nosotros que tenemos diferentes historias, diferentes pasados y sé que es difícil reconstruir una vida cuando uno está herido. Este año me ha enseñado más de lo que yo imagine, todo en esta vida es temporal y para alcanzar el éxito hay que trabajar duro, que para ser un buen líder hay que prepararse y aprender del fracaso.  ¡Gracias!

 

Hello, my name is Luisa Fernanda and I have been studying at Seattle Central College for nine months.  Before coming to Seattle, I never believed that my life could change.  I have so many things to express that I don’t know if I will have enough space.  Before Seattle, my life was very different.  I was filled with rage, jealousy, and anger – and the truth is I didn’t want to understand it, I only wanted to hide and have no one notice I existed.  But this has changed here.  Living with a family that is always paying attention to me and my needs, and not only my needs but the needs of others too.  Each time I have seen the NPH staff here work, I have been surprised by their complete devotion to us, everything they do in love for NPH.

I want to say thank you, I don’t have words…Just THANK YOU.

Here I have learned how to reflect: how to have patience, how to make plans, and among other things I have learned that when we have been hurt, we hurt others.  When one is a leader, s/he must heal his/her own wounds in order to not abuse power.  As Mother Teresa said, “if you are going to say something, say something that heals not something that wounds”.  That is what I did before I came to Seattle, I know I hurt many people with my anger – and now I know one of the reasons is because I had not healed my own wounds and so I simply reacted. 

I have learned a lot about leadership here.  In truth I had never thought much about this before, instead I simply thought that the best was to work alone without anyone’s help but that was my mistake!  God never worked alone, God invited God’s disciples to help.  So now I understand that it is good to have more than one person in order to have multiple points of view.

I never used to believe in myself, I only did what people told me to do.  And, I taught and coached with a chip on my shoulder – it became a cycle in which I was teaching people to be like me – angry.  My stay in Seattle has taught me many things, a new way.  I was never far from my NPH family – I didn’t have to miss home because I had brothers and sisters here, I didn’t have to miss the noise of a morning at NPH because Joshua and Elias made the same noise, and I didn’t have to miss my favorite sport because I joined a team here!  I am so grateful to God for sending me so many generous people. 

Father Wasson did an amazing and difficult work, I have learned it is not easy to speak in front of many people in order to help our NPH family.  I had that experience here and each word reminded me of my past and reminded me of the pain and anger, but the experience helped me to grow as a person and as a leader.

I am so pleased with Kara because it is difficult to work with people with so many difficult and different stories.  I know that it is hard to rebuild a live when one has been so badly harmed.  This time in Seattle has taught me more than I ever could have imagined.  Everything in this life is temporary and in order to reach our goals and achieve success, we must work hard, be prepared and learn from our mistakes.  Thank you!

“Si quieres cambiar el mundo, cámbiate a ti mismo”

“If you want to change the world, begin with yourself”

Mahatma Gandhi

The Heart-Work of Fundraising

By Lucrecia, NPH Nicaragua (in her own English!!)

In these four months here in Seattle, as a leaders group, we have had activities that have helped us more integrated in to NPH and understand better the work that NPH USA does here.

En estos cuatro meses de estancia en Seattle, como grupo de líderes, hemos tenido actividades que nos han ayudado a estar un poco mas involucrados y comprender mejor la labor de NPH desde aquí.

During my 18 years with the NPH family, I know that as “Pequeña” I never lacked for anything. I always had food, clothing, educations, medicine… in short all the basics for living.

Durante estos 18 años dentro de la familia de NPH me doy cuenta que como pequeña nunca me faltó nada, siempre tuve: comida, vestimenta, estudio, medicina… en fin todo lo básico para vivir.

When one is a child, one never wonders our parents provide all that we needs, we just have everything and we are happy (I think this was my best phase, carefree). As we grow and difficulties arise, we see more and more all that parents do to continue to satisfy our needs. Then the question arises: how do they do it?

Cuando uno es pequeño nunca se pregunta cómo hacen las madres o padres para proveernos de todo; simplemente sabemos que tenemos todo y somos felices (creo que esta fue mi mejor etapa, libres de preocupaciones). A lo largo que  crecemos vemos como van surguiendo  las dificultades y como se esfuerzan los padres para seguir satisfaciendo nuestras necesidades; entonces  surgen las preguntas:  Cómo lo hacen?, Qué hecen?.

Since I am in the NPH family, I know that we survive because of the noble hearts of many people (godparents, volunteers, benefactors…) but, How do you reach these people?

Desde que entré a la familia de NPH se que sobrevivimos de los nobles corazones de mucha gente ( padrinos, voluntarios, bienechores…etc) pero, Cómo se llega a estas personas?.

This is the point where I want to emphasize. I had the opportunity to participate in some of the many activities by people supported in the NPH family, here in the Unites States. And in my experience the work of fundraising is not easy! This work requires patience, dedication and lots of love.  It is satisfying for me, to help in the work that benefits my brothers and sisters and myself. I could see the hard work that these people do every day to make NPH possible. They work with the love that they would give to support their own children. It is rare to find people who work with such faith and love for others. The people in the NPH office are a great inspiration to me.

Y es ahí el punto donde quiero empatizar, he tenido la oportunidad de participar en algunas  actividades de las tantas que realizan las personas que buscan el apoyo a la familia de NPH aquí en los Estados Unidos ; y según mi experiencia no es nada fácil, se require de mucha paciencia, entrega y sobre todo amor. Aunque fue satisfactorio para mi apoyar en el trabajo que beneficia a mis hermanos y a mi misma. Pude ver el trabajo arduo que hacen día a día estas personas para hacer possible esta causa. Trabajan con el amor que trabajarían si buscaran el sustento de sus propios hijos; dificilmente encontramos personas que trabajen con esa fé y  con ese amor hacia los demás.

Thanks to this effort, children, teens and young have received formation and preparations for their lives. While we can not pay monetarily, we are grateful and are called to serve others. We thank God for those people who have made such a difference in the lives of so many.

Gracias a ese esfuerzo, nos hemos formado: niños, jovenes y adultos en personas de bien. y que si bien no podemos pagar monetariamente, tarde o temprano nos sentimos llamados a servir a los demás y dar gracias a Dios por esas personas que puso en nuestro camino y hacen la diferencia.

 

Thank you!