Graduation and Beyond

Five emerging young leaders from the Seattle Institute program – Fany, Liamar, Moy, Rafa and Ricky – graduated on June 23, 2019. The NPH community gathered at Bishop Blanchet and spent a joyous yet tear-filled afternoon together, celebrating Mass with Fr. Natch Ohno and then feasting in the cafeteria on delicious pulled pork and fried chicken, catered by the Staten family.

Miguel Venegas, Executive Director of NPH International, was a special guest, and he shared words of comfort and encouragement to each of the students, who followed him by stepping up to the podium and sharing some of their highlights from the past year, along with gratitude for their homestays and all who helped make this possible.

One of the program’s partners received a special mention – the MAPFRE Foundation – as their generosity literally makes the students’ dreams of living in the U.S. to learn about service leadership and to grow personally and professionally, a reality.

Erin Egge, the Program Director, completed her first year of leading the Seattle Institute and shared her gratitude to the community and those who worked tirelessly to bring it to where it is today:

“All along the way, the students’ homestays, mentors and the Seattle Institute Family have taken the form of a nourishing community – I am actually reminded of a beautifully diverse, safe, caring and loving village with bridges rather than walls, where people look out for each other. This community here today literally runs the program. And I have been a very gracious beneficiary of that. I have you all to thank, and Kara and Jacqueline, for building the community and this program.”

The past year fulfilled a dream for each of the students and they are returning to their countries more equipped to serve, lead and to make a positive impact on NPH and the surrounding communities. They leave with a sense of accomplishment, new goals and a powerful vision for their future.

Fany has always said that she wants to be the “pilot of her own life.” The students each stepped onto a plane and returned to their countries of the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru on July 2nd, where they continue to study, work, serve NPH and become the pilots of their own lives.

 

 

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We Are the Pilots of Our Lives

Fany shared the following message at the NPH Seattle Institute Graduation, in her very own English…

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Hello! My name is Fany Martinez and I’m from Honduras. Thank you for coming to our graduation and for supporting us.

I am very, very grateful to be part of the Seattle Institute along with the other students. This year I grew in knowledge, as a member of an incredible team, and I became part of a wonderful family.

Over this past year, I learned about leadership and about myself, and how to be an NPH ambassador. I learned more about my strengths. I’m creative, empathetic, caring, strong, and entrepreneurial.

When I return to my country, I will use these strengths and my new knowledge to support in an area where NPH Honduras needs me, because serving others is important to me. I will continue in university and in preparing to be a professional so that I can give back to NPH.

My plan is to support the youth group that I was part of as a young girl, planning workshops and being part of their lives. Helping NPH, being a strong and good leader, growing professionally, and being in control of my life have been dreams that I have had since I was little. And I am achieving those dreams, little by little.

I am very grateful to the program and to all those who make it possible: homestays, mentors, sponsors, MAPFRE, Seattle Central College Teachers, our financial supporters, the NPH office team and our dear and excellent coordinator, Erin.

But I want to give a special thanks to my host family: Annie, Mary, Teresa, my little Brigid, Jeff, Molly, and Mr.MiloMan. I want to tell you my dear family that I love you and you will always be in my heart. You know why? Because you have made me a tattoo on my heart; it is not with Chinese ink, it is with love ink. You have given me an excellent year. We have had moments of joy, fun, sadness, but most importantly, you have given me unconditional love. Thank you for welcoming me in to your family. I love you so much.

Now that we are in our last few days of the program, I leave with a big smile, I am grateful for this time, for the new things I learned, for the places I went, the people I met, amazing teachers, and now I leave with new friends like Liamar, Ricky, Rafa and Moy. We had beautiful moments, and thanks for everything.

Blessings and many thanks.

Fany’s TRUTH: FANY MI VERDAD (1)

Keep Smiling

Ricky shared the following speech at the Seattle Institute Graduation, in his original English…

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Good afternoon everyone!

My name is Ricky and I am from NPH Dominican Republic. I appreciate the Seattle Institute for giving me the opportunity to be here. These 10 months ended quickly, but I have improved my English a lot and I have learned a ton about leadership and teamwork.

I learned that when you help others to be better people, you feel a sense of peace. A wonderful example of helping others is seen through my family here in Seattle – Annika and Lee Grever. They always helped me with a smile on their face. They taught me to take a little of my time to do exercises every day. I even ran a half marathon with Lee a few weeks ago!

When I return to the D.R, I plan to continue studying medicine to become a doctor. I will give educational talks about leadership to children in the NPH home, because my greatest wish is that all the children of NPH Dominican Republic learn and know more about how they can be the best versions of themselves.

This is important for me, because at a very young age I became involved in leadership activities, and that changed my life in an incredible way. I want to share my knowledge with the children and young people of NPH DR.

I want to thank everyone who came into my life here in Seattle. There are so many names, that if I start now, it would take at least 3 hours to mention everyone. But from the bottom of my heart, thanks to my family here in Seattle – Annika, Lee, Lucia, Zack and Stela, you have a very special place in my life. Thanks also to Don and Ann Connolly for spending valuable moments with me. Thank you to NPH USA, both in the Northwest and Arizona. Ross and team, you have helped us so much. And when I shared my story in Phoenix, Martha and Xavier made it a wonderful experience for me. And to finish, Thanks to my 3 mentors: Kyle, Anna and Roanne. Thank you to Mapfre, and thank you to each of you for being here and supporting us. Fany, Liamar, Rafa, and Moy – Over the past 10 months you have been a family to me. I will carry you with me in my heart.

Now the program has finished for me, but the impact is great. I will carry all that I have learned, the relationships I have made, the experiences and places I have visited, with me, to build myself a very bright future.

Thank you! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Ricky’s TRUTH:

Mi Verdad_Ricky

No Obstacle Is Bigger Than My Goals

Rafa shared the following message at the NPH Seattle Institute Graduation, in his original English…

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Hello, my name is Rafael Llamoga, and I am from Peru.

I have greatly enjoyed this year in Seattle, and I have had new experiences that have made me see the world from another perspective. A few of my favorite experiences have been meeting many people, living with an incredible family and enjoying this beautiful country.

Over the past 10 months, I have learned that I am a humble and servant leader. Some of my areas of strength are being a visionary, entrepreneur, perseverant, responsible and resilient.

I believe that our strengths should be used to serve others, and that is exactly how I intend to use mine. I want to leave my mark by serving others in need.

To me, leadership means using strength to benefit others and help others achieve their goals and work together toward a common purpose. I think a good leader is a person who is always available to help his neighbor in the most difficult of situations.

When I go home, I want to serve the NPH family. This is important to me because I want thank the NPH family for all of the opportunities NPH has given me. These opportunities have changed me to be a better person. NPH was there for me when I needed family the most, and has continued to support me through university. I am a proud university graduate of Business Administration.

When faced with challenges in the future, I want to remember the challenges that I have gone through in my life and that I am a survivor. No obstacle is bigger than my goal, and no problem is bigger than the universe or my NPH family.

I am very grateful to all the people involved with NPH and the Seattle institute program. Thank you MAPFRE for making this program possible. I want to give a special thanks to my Homestay: Scott, Barbara, Claire and Peter. You are incredible people, and I will never forget living as a family in your home. You will always be in my heart.

I am so happy to have been part of a united and collaborative team – Fany, Liamar, Ricky and Moy – you have helped me grow and learn from each of you.

Thank you so so so so….. much Erin, for the emotional and intellectual support you have given me during last 10 months, for the retreats and the workshops – you have given me very productive and wise workshops.

Thanks to my mentors for joining me during this year. Especially Douglas and Lizzy for all the years you have supported the NPH family, and thank you for spending pleasant moments with me and with the team.

I am grateful for this opportunity because this helped me to develop my leadership, to know myself and to learn English. This program not only helps us; when I go home I will share it with hundreds of my brothers.

Thanks!, thanks!, thanks!, thanks!!!!!!!!!!!

Rafa’s TRUTH:

My truth RAFA june 18 2019

Focus on Your Strengths

Liamar shared the following speech at the Seattle Institute Graduation, in her very own English.

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My name is Liamar Fajardo, and I am from NPH Nicaragua. I am so grateful and excited to be here speaking in front of you because this means that I am ready to go back to my community and put into practice everything I learned during my time as a part of the Leadership Program.

During my time in Seattle, I have had wonderful experiences, and I have learned a lot about leadership, about myself, and about serving others. I think that everyone is a leader in their own lives. Here, I realized that I am a democratic, strategic, servant, and empowering leader because I am attentive to the needs of others, I try to find creative ways of solving a problem, I prefer to act instead of talk, and I share my knowledge with others and apply it to my life.

I also learned more about my strengths, how I can apply them to my life as a leader, and that I should focus on my strengths and not on my weaknesses. It is because of that when I go back to my country, I want to implement a program focused on young people who are preparing to attend college. This program could help prepare them in the transition from NPH to leading their own independent lives, while learning to manage their money, and choose the ideal career for them.

That is important to me because I wish the best for my brothers and sisters in NPH, and I want them to have the necessary tools to be able to overcome obstacles and adversities, and I also want them to choose the most suitable career for them. Many are sometimes not sure what they want to do in the future, and they feel frustrated when choosing a professional career; I will encourage them to study something that they are passionate about, something related to their strengths and abilities.

This is also important for NPH because we will be preparing the youth to be more independent, courageous, and with goals and purpose in their lives. This will allow them to be productive members within NPH and society.

I am grateful to all who support the Seattle Institute Program and the NPH family such as MAPFRE, all of you here today, and I want to especially thank my host family, my mentors, and the team of Seattle Institute Leadership.

Anne Marie, Clay, Nathan, and Alexandra, I am so happy to be part of your wonderful family and thank you for making me feel part of it. I have learned a lot from each one of you; the value and love of family, the importance of communication, trust, and service to others, hard work, and how to take care of myself. I think that in all this time you have known me better than myself. Thank you for making me see that no matter how long it takes me, I can achieve what I set out to do and recognize qualities that I did not know about myself. Thanks for the delicious food you make. I will always hold you in my heart.

Kay and Karen, my mentors, thank you for sharing your time, knowledge and life experiences with me. I really enjoyed every moment together, and I learned a lot from each one of you. Thank you for motivating me to practice my English, to encourage me to think about my future, and for each lived adventure.

Fany, Moy, Rafa, and Ricky all you helped me to grow within the group, and each one contributed in a very special way in the program. I enjoyed all this time shared with you. Thank you for filling my days with smiles. You made every adventure unique. I will miss you.

This program not only helps us, but when I go home, I will share what I learned with my brothers and sisters at NPH because as a leader, I must enable others to act, inspire and motivate them to use their skills and strengths to serve their communities, and be leaders of their own lives.

If I had the opportunity to live again, I would choose the same life because every experience I have had here has been unique and special!!

Thanks!

Liamar’s TRUTH:

Liamar's Truth Final

If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It

Moy shared the following speech at the Seattle Institute Graduation, in his very own English.

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My name is Moises Chavez, I’m from NPH Guatemala.

I just want to say to you that I’m so grateful to the NPH Seattle Institute for the tremendous opportunity to be part of this amazing program. I learned a lot throughout this year, and I had the privilege to meet many wonderful people.

I learned that being a good leader means listening well and practicing empathy. It can mean following as well, and include failure – but failing is a part of learning and growing. I learned that the foundation of my leadership is knowing myself, understanding my emotions and feelings. I worked hard on that this past year.

In a few days, I’m going back to my country. I have mixed emotions, because now I have friends and family here and I will miss them very much. But I have a lot to go back to – I will continue studying psychology at university, I want to give back to NPH, and continue achieving the many goals I have set for myself. When I go back to NPH Guatemala, my vision is finding ways to include our youth with disabilities in all activities, even more than they already are.

As I mentioned previously, I am so grateful to all the wonderful people who are involved in this amazing program of Seattle institute. You have made me feel part of this Northwest family since I arrived here on my first day.

To my host family the Soreys, you are such a wonderful people and you can’t imagine how grateful I am to you, every day your big smiles made all the difference, your patience with my broke English was so helpful at the beginning. You guys made these ten months so enjoyable and easy for me. I have no words to describe all that you mean for me but I can say that you will always be in my heart.

To my mentors Devon and Cathy, you were also part of my incredible time here, I really appreciate your time, the moments that we spent together I just can say that were unforgettable, I learned a lot from you.

So many of you impacted me during my time here. You make the dreams of thousands and thousands of my brothers and sisters around the NPH homes and programs possible.

I had many dreams as a child in NPH, now I can say one of those became a reality. The NPH Seattle Institute, Seattle Central College, donors, MAPFRE, my host family, friends, and all the NPH staff has been a part of this. We are finishing the program and we are leaving in a few days to continue our dreams and be part of the change in our societies and in the NPH family.

I would not like to end my talk without giving a huge thank you to my unique and amazing Seattle crew: Ricky, Liamar, Fany, Rafa, you guys made this adventure so special and of course our dear coordinator Erin, I learned a lot from you, your humble, kindness, advice and workshops were so essential in my personal growth.

I don’t want to say goodbye, so let’s just say that this is not goodbye, but see you later.

Thanks so much.

Moy’s TRUTH: 

projectMytruth_moy_ENGLISH

 

 

Thoughts on Learning and Leadership

Congratulations to our Seattle Institute Team of 2019-2020!

Fany, Liamar, Moy, Rafa and Ricky are now officially young graduates of the Seattle Institute program. They each completed a courageous, 10-month journey full of self-discovery, eye-opening moments, learning and growth. I am personally motivated and inspired by each of them, and excited to cheer them on as they return to their countries and put into practice all that they learned here in Seattle. Below are a few of their own thoughts on their personal leadership and takeaways during their time in Seattle.

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Liamar IMG_2017

During my time in Seattle, I have had wonderful experiences, and I have learned a lot about leadership, about myself, and about serving others. I think that everyone is a leader in their own lives. Here, I realized that I am a democratic, strategic, servant, and empowering leader because I am attentive to the needs of others, I try to find creative ways of solving a problem, I prefer to act instead of talk, and I share my knowledge with others and apply it to my life. I also learned more about my strengths, how can apply them to my life as a leader, and that I should focus on my strengths and not on my weaknesses.

 

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Ricky

I learned that when you help others to be better people, you feel a sense of peace. When I return to the D.R., I will give educational talks about leadership to children in the NPH home, because my greatest wish is that all the children of NPH Dominican Republic learn and know more about how they can be the best versions of themselves. This is important for me, because at a very young age I became involved in leadership activities, and that changed my life in an incredible way. I want to share my knowledge with the children and young people of NPH DR.

 

Fany IMG_2025

Over this past year, I learned about leadership and about myself, and how to be an NPH ambassador. I learned more about my strengths. I’m creative, empathetic, caring, strong, and entrepreneurial. When I return to my country, I will use these strengths and my new knowledge to support in an area where NPH Honduras needs me, because serving others is important to me. I will continue in university and preparing to be a professional, so that I can give back to NPH.

 

Moy IMG_1182

I learned that being a good leader means listening well and practicing empathy. It can mean following as well, and include failure – but failing is a part of learning and growing. I learned that the foundation of my leadership is knowing myself, understanding my emotions and feelings. I worked hard on that this past year.

I had many dreams as a child in NPH, now I can say one of those became a reality. The NPH Seattle Institute, Seattle Central College, donors, MAPFRE, my homestay, friends, and all the NPH staff has been a part of this. We are finishing the program and we are leaving in a few days to continue our dreams and be part of the change in our societies and in the NPH family.  

 

Rafa img_1179.jpg

Over the past 10 months, I have learned that I am a humble and servant leader. Some of my areas of strength are being a visionary, entrepreneurial, perseverant, responsible and resilient. I believe that our strengths should be used to serve others, and that is exactly how I intend to use mine. I want to leave my mark by serving others in need. To me, leadership means using strength to benefit others and help others achieve their goals and work together toward a common purpose. I think a good leader is a person who is always available to help his neighbor in the most difficult of situations.

 

 

My Experience in Canada!

Written by Rafa Llamoga Raico, translated by Erin Egge. Original Spanish below.

From the first moment that I arrived to the USA, many extraordinary things have happened. In the Miami airport, I saw a past volunteer that just so happened to be traveling to Seattle on the same plane as me. It was like God’s plan to make this new experience a marvelous adventure.

A few weeks after I had been in Seattle, Traci contacted me, a friend from Canada who travels to Peru each year. She belongs to Georgian Shores United Church, a church in Ontario, Canada, that sponsors me. She wanted to see if I could visit Ontario to get to know the other parishioners and share my story.

20181206_160426 (1).jpgThe trip to Canada was tiring and cold, but it is one of the most extraordinary experiences that I have ever had. Traci had an action-packed agenda that week so that I could experience many things for the first time: see snow, build my first snowman, we went to a Spanish class, a farm (everything was automatic), I finally went ICE SKATING (the skill of hockey players surprises me, because it is difficult even to just walk on ice!). Words can’t express the joy of doing things for the first time.

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One day we got together with a group of Canadians that had traveled to Peru each year, and something that they said has remained in my mind since then: “We are very happy because we had the luck of watching the growth and development of the home from zero, and had the opportunity to be part of this great work. Every year that we visited, there was something new, and it made us happy seeing that the kids were living in a wonderful home.” This is actually the first memory that I have of my friends from Canada, when they helped us build the second NPH Peru home!

20181209_110643 (1)That Sunday at mass I shared my story with the parish, and it was wonderful because I also had the opportunity to thank everyone for all that they have done for us, and tell them that NPH has given us the opportunity to change our stories. The NPH family teaches us that no matter our past, we are important to society. NPH gives me the opportunity to be what I had never imagined I could be. The best gift from NPH is the opportunity to be children: to feel wanted and loved, sure of ourselves and to be able to enjoy childhood.

NPH gives us the tools that we need to overcome challenges and adversities in our lives, and there is nothing more satisfying than seeing the results of what you have fought for.

I want to thank all of the people who are involved with NPH, a marvelous community of people that dedicate themselves to bringing opportunities to children in need, helping them to become happy and productive citizens.

Thank you for all of the support and love that you show us!

Thank you for being lights of hope!

Thank you Traci and family, and Georgian Shores United Church, for the opportunity to spend time in your country and your home!

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~~~~~

Original Spanish below by Rafa Llamoga Raico.

¡Mi experiencia en Canadá!

Desde el primer momento en que llegue a USA, han ocurrido cosas extraordinarias, en el aeropuerto de Miami me encontré con un ex voluntario que viajaba a Seattle y en el mismo avión que yo, fue con un designio de Dios para hacer esta nueva experiencia en una aventura maravillosa.

Unas semas que estuve en Seattle me contacto Traci, ella a viaja a Perú con el grupo de canadienses cada año, ella pertenece a una iglesia en Canadá, Georgian Shores United Church, y ellos son mis padrinos. El viaje a Canadá fue cansado y con mucho frio, pero es una de las experiencias más extraordinaria que he realizado, Traci tenía la agenda muy ocupada en la semana en la que yo estaría en Canadá, pude conocer muchas cosas por primera vez: ver Nieve y tener la oportunidad de hacer mi primer muñeco de nieve, fuimos a una tienda donde había muchos animales disecados, fuimos a una clase de español, también fuimos a una granja (allí todo es automático), pude ir al ICE SKATING, me sorprende la destreza de los jugadores de hockey, porque tan solo poder caminar es muy difícil.

Un día nos reunimos con un grupo de canadienses que han viajado a Perú cada año, Se me quedo algo grabado en mi mente cuando ellos mencionaron: “estamos muy felices porque tuvimos la suerte de ver el crecientito y desarrollo de la casa desde cero y tener la oportunidad de ser parte de esta gran obra, cada año que viajábamos había algo nuevo, eso nos ponía muy felices ya que veíamos a los niños están en un mejor lugar para vivir”.

El domingo en la misa fue cuando tuve la oportunidad de contar mi historia, fue algo maravilloso ya que tenía la oportunidad de agradecerles a todas las personas por todas las cosa que han realizado por nosotros y que NPH nos da la oportunidad de cambiar nuestra historia. Es la familia de NPH la que nos enseña que, independientemente de nuestro pasado, nosotros somos importante para la sociedad. NPH me da la oportunidad de ser más de lo que nunca habíamos imaginado. El mejor regalo de NPH es darnos la oportunidad de ser niños: sentirse querido y amado, seguro de sí mismo y poder disfrutar de la infancia. NPH nos da las herramientas que necesitamos para superar los desafíos y las adversidades de nuestras vidas. No hay nada más satisfactorio ver los resultados por aquello que has luchado.

Agradezco a todas las personas que están involucradas con NPH, una comunidad maravillosa de personas que se dedican a brindar oportunidades a los niños necesitados, ayudarlos a convertirse en ciudadanos felices y productivos.

¡Gracias por todo el apoyo y el amor que nos muestran!

¡Gracias por esa luz de esperanza¡

¡Gracias a Traci y familia, y Georgian Shores United Church, por la oportunidad de estar en su país y en su casa!

 

 

Happy New Year!

liamar

Liamar is from NPH Nicaragua and has been a participant of the NPHI Seattle Institute Leadership program since September 2018. She shares her reflection on the past year with us! Her reflection was translated to English and her original Spanish is below.

“I am infinitely grateful to God for 2018, a year that has been full of blessings and incredible experiences.

I am very happy that I have learned so much this past year. Every goal that I have achieved has been a life experience, and the goals that I haven’t yet fully accomplished help me put more effort and desire to achieve them in the year ahead.

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In the Seattle Institute program I have learned a lot about myself, and how to put my abilities as a leader into practice. It has made a major impact on me. Every one of the people who support our NPH Family has taught me more about serving others, especially our Homestays, who support us unconditionally and make us feel like part of their families.

I am excited to begin the new year that will be full of challenges, new experiences and learnings.

I bid farewell to 2018 with immense satisfaction in my heart, for all of the blessings and experiences, and welcome 2019 with enthusiasm, faith and courage.

Happy New Year!

Liamar

——————————–

In Liamar’s original Spanish. 

Doy infinitamente gracias a Dios por el año (2018) que estuvo lleno de bendiciones y grandiosas experiencias.

Me siento muy feliz por haber aprendido tanto en este año que culminó. Cada reto logrado ha sido una experiencia de vida, y los objetivos que no pude cumplir me ayudan para poner más esfuerzo y ganas para lograrlo en este año que comienza.

En el programa Seattle Institute he aprendido mucho sobre mí y cómo poner en práctica mis habilidades como líder. Me ha impactado mucho y he aprendido sobre el servicio a los demás a través de cada una de las personas que apoya a nuestra familia de NPH. En especial nuestros Homestays, quienes nos apoyan incondicionalmente y nos hacen sentir parte de sus familias.

Estoy ansiosa por comenzar un nuevo año lleno de retos, nuevas experiencias y conocimientos.

Me despido del 2018 con una inmensa satisfacción en mi corazón por tantas bendiciones recibidas y experiencias vividas, y recibido al 2019 con entusiasmo, fe y coraje.

¡¡Feliz Año Nuevo!!

Liamar

 

Grateful

Written by Ricardo, from NPH Dominican Republic 

ricky

I am very grateful to NPH for giving me the opportunity to be part of this leadership program in Seattle. I have met many people who are supporting me every day with my emotional and spiritual development. Over the past two months, I have greatly improved my English skills, and I am thankful for all of the people who have been at my side making this possible.

At the beginning, nothing is easy. But since I arrived to the U.S., there have been marvelous people who have accompanied me and helped make things easier. Everything good takes time and dedication. If I give it my all at the beginning, the future will bear fruit!

There are thousands of ways to fit in when you are new, and one that works for me quite well is smiling. When I smile everything seems clearer! and things seem to go much better.

Life is also better with good friends that stick by you for life. When you have long-lasting friendships, you could go years not seeing them, and when you do see them you pick up right where you left off, as if nothing ever changed. I am grateful for that as well!

En español 

Estoy muy agradecido con NPH por haberme concedido la oportunidad de ser parte de este programa de liderazgo en Seattle. He conocido muchas personas que me están ayudando cada día con mi desempeño emocional y espiritual. A lo largo de estos dos meses he mejorado bastante en mi aprendizaje de inglés, y agradezco mucho a todos aquellos que de una otro manera me ha ayudado.

Al principio nada es fácil, pero hay tantas personas maravillosas que me han acompañado para que sea mas fácil. Como todo lo bueno toma tiempo y dedicación para que de frutos en el futuro desde ahora pongo el máximo en todo.

Hay miles de formas de encajar en un lugar cuando eres nuevo y una que me funciona mucho es sonreír, cuando sonrío todo se ve mas claro te va mejor en la vida y mejor aún haces muy buenas amigos que te duran para toda la vida. Cuando tienes amigos así, luego que pasas años sin saber nadas de ellos, cuando lo vez nuevamente es como si nunca se dejaron de ver. Estoy muy agradecido por ellos también.