Story Retreat

By Irene, Class of 2016 

It is true that we cannot forget the past, but we can overcome it.  Life is not only filled with failures, and not everyone around us will hurt us.  In order to move forward we must first fall and learn to rise up again, we learn to work hard for what we want and also to take advantage and value life.

The weekend of our “Story and Servant Leadership” retreat was definitely hard for all of us.  It is difficult or remember the things that hurt or shame us.  But we learned that as we bring these things – that for many years we have carried alone and that have hurt us – into the light we feel like a new person.  We also found that we really are brothers and sisters, the fact that we don’t share the same parents or blood does not indicate that we aren’t.  NPH is a family and we support each other, knowing we can count on one another.  Now, we have more confidence in ourselves and each other, and we know that we can overcome our pasts and achieve our goals.   

We often think that we are the only people suffering in the world, but we are wrong.  Others are also passing through difficult situations, and it helps to put ourselves in their shoes.  NPH has the good fortune to have wonderful people that make the program without doubt one of the best experiences, these people are trained to give us the information and tools that we need to build a better path.  Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos gives us the opportunities and helps us find our path to achieve our goals, it is now up to us to decide to stay on it.  

 

 

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El pasado no lo puedes olvidar es cierto, pero si superar. En la vida no solo fracasamos, y tampoco todas las personas que están a nuestro lado nos lastimas. Para llegar lejos hay que tener que caer primero y aprender a levantarse. Aprender que para lograr lo que deseas debes trabajar muy duro y sudar, de esa manera una aprovecha y valora las cosas de la vida.

El fin de semana que tuvimos el retiro sin duda fue duro para todos, es difícil recordar las cosas que nos duelen o que nos avergüenzan. Pero también aprendimos a que una vez que sacas de tu vida eso que por muchos años te ha lastimado y has cargado a lo largo de los años, te sientes una nueva persona, aprendimos que verdaderamente somos hermanos, el hecho de que no tengamos los mismos padres o misma sangre no quiere decir que no lo somos. NPH somos una sola familia y nos apoyamos unos a otros, sabemos que podemos contar entre nosotros mismos. Tenemos más confianza en cada uno de nosotros, estamos seguros que podemos lograr nuestras metas si verdaderamente lo deseamos y nos esforzamos.

Muchas veces creemos que somos los únicos que están sufriendo en el mundo, pero estamos equivocados. Otras personas han pasado por cosas más duras, uno debe ponerse en los zapatos del otro y asimilar la situación. NPH tiene la fortuna de contar con personas maravillosas que hacen que el programa sea sin duda una de las mejores experiencias por la que pasaras, cuenta con  personas capacitadas para darte la información y las herramientas necesarias para construir el mejor camino. Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos nos dan las mejores oportunidades y el camino que te hará llegar a la meta. Depende de ti si decides seguirlo o cambias de rumbo.

Our Day at Cispus Learning Center

By Alberto, Class of 2016.

Cipsus Learning Center is a place where you can do outdoors leadership activities.

We are six students from NPH: Irene (Mexico), Mirna (Nicaragua), Suyapa (Honduras), Jonathan (Guatemala), Julio (Salvador), and finally me Alberto (Haiti). We enjoyed a long training day at Cipsus. To tell you the truth I personally enjoyed this place and that day.

In this place it is as if you have the truth in front of you, problems to be solved, people who need your help, you must work in teams, and learn how to analyze problems. These are some of the different things we learned during the day.

It was a nice day, it was totally different, because it was experiential, not only sitting and listening.

Karen Skoog and Anna Ricci!!!  These women were our two trainers.  Honestly I have no words to thank you for this beautiful day and access to Cipsus Learning Center.  In this sense, the students and Kara, we say a big THANKS. We appreciate very much and we love you.

I’m sure Gracie (Seattle) learned something too, she was so attentive.

Thank you NPH Family for making all this possible, I love you.

 

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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…

Servant Leadership and Story Retreat

By Florine, NPFS Haiti

Monday 15, 2014: “All students meet Kara at Christ our Hope Church for pickup” said the calendar.  When I arrived in downtown Seattle, I met Magda and Lucre, they were looking at my suitcase and asked me where am I going. Four days and three nights in Whidbey Island, that was my answer. Everyone had a bag, except me, but it was easier for me because I didn’t have to complain about my shoulders. Good strategy!

We took the ferryboat, first time for some of us. We arrived in a nice, and welcoming house at the beach, we arranged everything that we brought.  In the night, before dinner, we had our first subject about servant leadership.

You can be a servant and become a leader, but you can’t be a good leader without being a servant.  These two words are connected. After that, we had dinner, and worked in our masterpiece for tomorrow. Kara asked us to draw something; she gave to us a little circle in rock. Everyone had the pleasure to paint how God created us, which was the idea. I remember when I was in kindergarten, my teacher used to say all the bright colors express happiness and beauty. I have no idea of painting, but I know the result of combine yellow, white, pink, and water green together. We all did a great art piece, which I’m pretty sure, could be in the next NPH gala for auction.

Tuesday, December 16, second day of the retreat. Kara broke all our masterpieces. I was looking at Luisa crying, she is a good artist. Sam was so sad, he painted the blue sky, all about nature, but he had an unbelievable force to break Kara’s piece too, which was a beautiful afternoon, where the sun is get off the sky. Magda painted a brilliant star, Nelson made a nice candle, like these you can see in church, in the Advent. Lucre drew a little house for her family. The interesting part of all of that is, we didn’t know that the broken pieces could be even better in the next activity.

Wednesday, December 17, day 4th. The challenging day, sharing stories. It was so difficult for us. We were looking at each other, who will go first… Fortunately, we didn’t spend all the night by asking ourselves about that. We did it all, a lot of tears, but we survived. We worked on our broken pieces, we made something better. We shared with Donna Egge what we did with our pieces, and she closed the retreat, as perfectly at it could be. Thank you Donna!

Thursday, December 18, we had breakfast, and cleaned everything. We walked by the water, and we took two rocks. One that we bring with us, the second, something that we don’t need anymore, and throw it in the water.

In the end, we had a great retreat. We know now, more about each other, to support each other, love and respect. We’ll make sure to practice everything that we learn about this second retreat, and live better.

Now we have one week free, let’s get it “muchachos”! Sleep, relax, dance, eat healthy food, drink water, and watch TV, listening to music, and sleep again. Our Google Calendar is already full until June!!!