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

 

Site Visit – Starbucks International Headquarters

By: JEAN LOUIS FRECHETTE ALBERTO, NPH-HAITI. CLASS OF 2016.

I want to share with you a great experience we all had in Seattle. A few weeks ago we went to the Starbucks headquarters for a tour and to get a sense of what they do there, what kind of leaders work there, and of course – to have lunch!

It organized by Ed Holtgraves, my mentor in Seattle, who works there along with Chris and Mary who were both volunteers in Nicaragua, and Alana who was a volunteer in Honduras.  We are grateful for their hard work on this day!

We started first by a brief tour of part of the building because we couldn’t walk into the whole building in only one or two hours. After that we went to a room for a coffee taste with Mary where we taste 5 different coffee flavor from five country where my fellow brothers and sisters from such as Mexico, Guatemala, Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. Unfortunately, they don’t have any coffee from Haiti however, I enjoyed the experience and so far I already have a favorite coffee but I won’t tell you which one.

After the coffee taste we went to another room where we had two guest speakers: Craig Russell and Jennie Bowen who work at Starbucks. At this moment Julio from El Salvador explained to them what is the Seattle Institute Program, what we are doing here and explained what is NPH in general.

Let’s see something we learned from each of these leaders.

Craig Russell: As a leader you should care about respect and dignity. When you work as a team one of the things you should have is “TRUST”. As a leader sometimes you will feel alone but no matter what you should not give up. One thing I personally liked in what he said is “OWN YOUR MISTAKES” – if not you will not overcome them and in this case you will fail as a leader. At the end he said “reset yourself and your goals every quarter or every month”. I like that and I think everybody must do that.

Jennie Bowen: As a leader the first thing you need to know is “what you need in your life?”, you should have a vision while you have this vision you should listen and while you are listening you should learn and be who you want to be not who people want you to be. She made a little difference between Boss and Leader… Boss tells you what to do while Leader works with you and you achieve together.

Finally, we end the day with a nice lunch on the 3rd floor of the building with Ed, Kara and Glory from the NPH USA office.

Thank you Ed, Chris, Mary, Alana, Craig, Jennie and Kara for that opportunity and I can tell you we really learned something. Thank you Glory for joined us we really enjoyed it.

 

 

 

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”.

 

Hermanos Mayores in Seattle

A few months ago, we participated in a day-long workshop with the Hermanos Mayores who were here as a part of the iLEAP Global Leadership Program for NPH.  Here Irene reflects on our day together (written in her own English!).

 

By Irene Cruz, Class of 2016

I remember the day when we arrived to iLEAP.  We just were looking for our brothers and sisters from the same country.  We were very happy to see all of them. One by one they were coming, and we began to sit next to each other.

While the meeting started we were talking with them.  The most funny part was that when the meeting began, and we did one dinamica where we needed to talk, but only in English.  So I remember that when they began to try and talk Mirna was looking me, and she coming to me and told me: do you remember when we arrived we were like them?  I just was laughing because it is true.  When we came here and the people told us that we needed to talk in English we did not know how because we were very shy, but the truth is that we really did not know anything, just HELLO AND BYE.  So I saw that we learned a lot these months.

I think that iLEAP really is a very good program. Now I think this because the first months for me was very hard, even boring just because I did not understand nothing in English. iLEAP has a lot of interesting information, and the people that work in iLEAP are prepared to teach us subjects, but not just about leadership also they teach us about the life.

They prepared very well and know how to teach the information to help us when we return our countries. Spending the time with our brothers and sisters all day was very nice. I really appreciate the time because I had the opportunity to know them. The best part was when we take the lunch. Everybody bring food to the table and everyone could take it. Everybody were siting and talking about our families, friends and school. We were joking a lot.

It is interesting when you can see that your house has more leaders, and that many people want the best changes for NPH. That each one has different ideas, but the same purpose DO THE BEST FOR THE CHILDREN.

Our FATHER always wanted that, so we need to work together and try to give the best of ourself.

We are the future of our NPH family, so we join our hands, hearts, and ideas together and we don’t let go until we achieve what Father Wasson wanted: A better life for our little brothers and sisters.

 

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!!!

 

 

iLEAP Days: December 2015

By Mirna, Class of 2016

In her own English (with some help from her NPH brother, Julio).

First of all, I want to thanks all the iLEAP crew, Britt, Izumi, Caitlin and Bao (Bao, we missed you this time!) for all these learning days.  The most important for me is learning of others and reflect about my life, in that way being a better person by serving NPH family and the society.

In iLEAP I have learned about the importance of listening with the mind, the heart, to others and connect with them by listening with the soul.

I also learned to find my leadership style by evaluating my self and evaluating my friends. Doing this evaluation I was surprising for my results, according to them I am an ‘’AUTHENTIC LEADER’’.

I am really surprising for all I have learned, I am surprised of how much my thoughts has grown, and I am surprising how I learned to find myself, because I know all this will help me to be a strong and fighting woman and reach my goals in my life.

During our last sessions we became more active learners when we went to the field. We went to FareStart restaurant. Being there we made a tour and met about the history of the restaurant, about their social work. The idea born with David Lee a person who was interested in help people, and that is what the restaurant does. In this restaurant people who do not have a home, or are living in poverty, became a professional in culinary arts. They go through three phases and at the end they graduate. After the graduation, the non-profit org help them to find job. What I learned of this is that there is amazing people helping others, and that inspires me to be a better person.

I want to finish my article with the next quote: ‘’It is always easy to blame others. You can spend your entire life blaming the world, but your success or failures are entirely your own’’ – Paulo Cohelo.

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An Open Letter to NPH Volunteers from a Grown Pequeño

By Jonathan, Class of 2016 (in his own English!)

Dear Volunteers,

I would like to personally thank all of you for your commitment to NPH.   I truly believe that both the children and the great family of NPH are also grateful for you.

I would also like to express my thanks to Vicky who manages all the volunteers that make NPH feel like a family.  Your ability to recruit people to volunteer in NPH and place them in the appropriate country and house as role models for our children who need to be prepared to live their lives beyond NPH is much appreciated.

Our volunteers have the opportunity to share their talents and knowledge while serving children. Often volunteers are highly trained and skilled individuals whom NPH leverages for our children as nurses, teachers, and therapists working in different areas where the house needs, also including childcare.

Volunteers always bring new ideas and different perspectives in order to help improve our family.  To volunteer with NPH is one of the greatest gifts for our family.  Thank you for the things you do for us.  You spend time with us for protection and love, and sacrifice time away from your family, thank you infinitely, dear volunteers.  I just wish that when it’s my turn to support my neighbors, that it is half of what you were within our family.

No matter how much time passes without a visit, or how far you go, you can be sure that on your return to the family of NPH, I [we] will welcome you with abundant love and hugs.

Congratulations for the great time you shared, the hard work, and thanks because this program would not be possible without your generous support.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Palma, NPH Guatemala

 

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Editor’s Note: In October, Vicky facilitated a workshop called “The NPH Volunteer Experience” with the students, in which they learned about the logistics of the program and spent time thinking about what makes a good volunteer for our family.  It was after that day and re-connecting with many former NPH volunteers here in Seattle that Jonathan decided upon this topic for his blog post.  Former volunteers in the Northwest have made significant contributions to the beginnings of this program as well, and we are so grateful that your love and support continues after you return “home”!

 

 

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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