An Evening with Sonia Nazario

By: Nelson Alvarez Hernandez

(written in English by Nelson!)

What can I say? This experience started in one of our leadership meetings.  I said something about an article that I read on Univision, and it talks about a social issue, migration.  I was surprised by this article because this media shows quite relevant numbers about migration especially highlighting the children that every year cross the borders to find their mother that left them when they were 5 years old or less.  So when Kara asked me if I wanted introduce a writer, the main question that I had in my mind was “who is Sonia Nazario?”

And immediately I said yes.

Then my host family gave me a brief biography on Sonia Nazario.  A few days later my host family bought me “Enrique’s Journey”.  When I started reading the book I did not want to stop reading this wonderful book. My experience reading Enrique’s Journey has been one of the most important in my life because this book talks about a reality that we are living now in our Central American countries, where thousands of children are traveling every year, crossing the borders to find their mother in the US, and we see that our governments do not do anything for these people, but I know that people from other countries are working hard for us.

December 4th, 2014: I will never forget this day because it was when I met Sonia Nazario.  When I met her I remember that I was reading my speech and she came in front of me and I said “I cannot believe it”.  I could not believe what was happening in this moment because it was all so fast, but then I realized that I was talking with Sonia Nazario. Something that I always remember is a question that she asked me when we were talking before the conference, the question was: “Are you orphan?”.  And at the beginning I was laughing because of the directness of her question.  But my answer for her was, so I do not have mother and father, but I found a new family and this family is NPH. I think that NPH is my family because it always has supported me, always been there in my difficult and in my happy moments, and given me so many opportunities.

When I was in the podium introducing her, my first three minutes I felt nervous but then I felt comfortable because meeting her before the conference helped me a lot.

This experience for me is one of the most important in my life, because I met a brave, courageous woman who is fighting for the people who do not have A VOICE IN THIS SYSTEM and the poorest people and I realize that there are people working for those people.

The experience of reading “Enrique’s Journey” definitely changed my way of thinking about this social problem, and I realized the poorest people who do not have a lot are often the people who share the little that they have with each other.

This book connects to my life in many ways, first because the boy who she talks about is Honduran. Second because since he was a little boy his father abandoned him besides his mother and in my case was the same my father abandoned me and my mother died when I was two years old, so both of us were abandoned by our fathers. It is why I say I, like Enrique, could have been one of the thousands children traveling every year crossing the borders.

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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Dinner and a Documentary

This weekend, we had the opportunity to view the documentary MissRepresentation and have a conversation about gender, sexism, and violence against women both in the United States and other countries around the world.

The film focuses on the (US) media’s limited and often disparaging portrayal of women and girls.  It is difficult to watch, but an important film for any future leader to see.  We are grateful to Dr. Serena Cosgrove (Seattle University) for her hospitality and for leading us in a conversation about gender roles and violence.


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From the MissRepresentation website: “In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message that our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader. While women have made great strides in leadership over the past few decades, the United States is still 90th in the world for women in national legislatures, women hold only 3% of clout positions in mainstream media, and 65% of women and girls have disordered eating behaviors.”.

We were challenged to engage this material critically and to continue asking questions.  The students were able to share their own observations about gender and sexism in the United States and how that is similar or different than in their home countries.  Over the next few weeks, the students will be able to discuss the topic further with their mentors.



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