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

 

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.

 

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!!!

 

 

Our Group

By: Mirna Sotelo, NPH Nicaragua (translated by Kara…Mirna’s next post will be in English!)

“Llegar juntos es el principio. Mantenerse juntos, es el progreso. Trabajar juntos es el éxito”.

Coming together is the beginning.  Staying together is progress.  Working together is success.

Antes de todo quiero compartirles un poco de mi experiencia con el grupo,  aunque no tengo palabras para expresar lo bonito he importante que es para mi este grupo, por que de ellos he aprendido muchas cosas positivas que  han llenado mi vida de fortalezas como por ejemplo la firmeza de ser valiente y  tener seguridad en mis capacidades.  En algunas ocasiones se nos ha hecho difícil tomar decisiones pero siempre encontramos la solución al problema, se que no es fácil enfrentarlos,  pero si llegan hay que desafiarlos y es exactamente lo que hemos hecho como grupo atacar el problema y no a las personas. Espero que sigamos así confiando uno en el otro y ayudándonos como hemos hecho hasta el día de hoy.

Before anything else, I want to share a Little bit of my experience with this group.  I don’t really have the adequate words to describe how beautiful and important this group is to me, because from them I have already learned many positive things that have filled my life with strength.  For example, I have learned to be brave and have confidence in my capabilities.  There have been a few occasions when it has been hard for us to come to a group decision, but we have always found the solution to the problem.  It is not easy to confront problems, but when they come we have to face them, and that is what we have done as a group – to attack the problem, not the person!  I hope we will continue like this, trusting each other and helping each other like we have done so far. 

Hay 6 cosas importantes y fundamentales que nos permiten estar tomados de la mano:

There are six important and fundamental things that permit us to hold each other by the hand:

1-El trabajo en equipo: Hemos logrado trabajar mutuamente, no somos individualista a pesar de nuestros errores, temores y dificultades no hacemos más, ni menos, el trabajo ni los pensamientos de nadie, todos somos iguales siempre hay una buena conexión, en el equipo. Aceptamos la responsabilidad; pero el mérito se le atribuye al equipo.

1 – Teamwork: We have been able to work together, we are not individualistic in spite of our errors, fears and difficulties, we are neither better nor worse than the work or thoughts of others.  We are all equal, there is a good connection between us.  We all accept responsibility, but the success goes to the group.

2-La unión: Nos unimos, no para estar juntos, sino para hacer o resolver algo juntos, somos como una cadena de acero, pero algo muy importante y que no se nos olvide nunca es que tenemos que aprender a tener un balance en nuestras decisiones ante cualquier situación.

2-Union: We come together not just to be together, but to solve something as a group, we are like a metal chain.  We need to remember to always keep a good balance in our decision making.

3-El crecimiento: Todos tenemos un proyecto o un plan para nuestras vidas, estamos conscientes que tendremos días difíciles y que en cualquier momento caeremos, pero nos levantaremos y seguiremos adelante para llenarnos de conocimientos positivos y satisfacciones, no es fácil es una jornada larga y difícil, pero estoy segura que buscaremos soluciones y superaremos el problema.

3-Growth: Each of us has a plan for our lives, and we are conscious that there will be hard days and that we can always stumble – but we will get up and keep going.  It is not easy, but rather a long and difficult journey, but I am sure that we will find solutions and overcome problems.

4-Confianza: Esa confianza mutua que nos tenemos unos a otros me da la plena seguridad que todos lograremos nuestras metas y propósitos.

4-Trust: The mutual trust we have gives me confidence that we will achieve our objectives and goals.

5-La Motivación: Me llena de alegría escucharlos cuando se motivan unos a otros sigamos así, porque con motivación estaremos dispuestos a correr riesgos y tomar decisiones que la mayoría de personas no harían por miedo.

5-Motivation: I am filled with happiness when I hear the group motivating each other, for with that motivation we will be able to take risks, and make decisions that many people don’t take because of fear.

6-El Respeto: Es importante que siempre sigamos respetando las decisiones, opiniones, y pensamientos de los demás no perdamos este valor tan importante y fundamental dentro del grupo.

7-Respect: It is important that we continue to respect the decisions, opinions, and thoughts of each other.  We should not lose that important value in our group.

Gracias Irene, Suyapa, Alberto, Julio y Jonathan, ustedes son los mejores y recuerden que el talento depende de la inspiración e el esfuerzo depende de cada uno de nosotros.

Thank you, Irene, Suyapa, Alberto, Julio and Jonathan – You are the best! Remember that talent depends upon the inspiration and efforts of each of us.

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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…

Growth and Change in The Seattle Institute

By Kara King, Program Director

“Seattle changes people, doesn’t it?” – the question came from one of the students (pequeños/as) during our closing retreat this year.  As the rest of the group nodded quietly in agreement, it became a statement rather than a question: “The Seattle Institute changes people”.  This program creates change.  Not in a way that the students become someone they are not, but rather in a way that invites them to really ponder who they are and encourages them to become more of who God uniquely created them to be.  To uncover the gifts that they have to offer a world in need, and to learn to set fear and insecurity aside long enough to take the risk to serve and love others well.  To be bold and courageous in their service and work and relationships.  They are able to step into this growth and change because of the roots they have formed in our NPH family.  With feet firmly planted in our philosophy, the students are able do the challenging work this program demands of them; increasing their self-awareness, emotional intelligence, communication skills, and interpersonal skills, along with other important leadership skills.

Father Wasson left us this reminder, “Everyone needs attention and deserves it.  Individual attention, concern for each individual child in their uniqueness, when actively applied is what allows us to maintain a balance between our four principles: security, sharing, work, and responsibility” (Quien Verá Por Los Niños/as).  The program in Seattle gives us the beautiful opportunity to do deeply transformative work with each individual student.  Though they are now adults, they are certainly still in need of this wisdom that Father Wasson left us; they need to be seen, heard, and understood.  We work with them, offering this love and attention, offering comfort and challenge, and hoping they will return home better able to offer it to their younger brothers and sisters in NPH.

In his homily at our graduation Mass this year, Father Jack Walmesley urged us not to put limits on God’s power.  To have deep faith.  That is what Father Wasson had when he began to form this family so many years ago, now it is up to us to carry on his work.  To have faith, to keep growing and adapting, to act in love with the faces of our children and young adults in mind.  In fact, Father Wasson once said, “Things are provided for us as we grow. And our home, like any family, is a living organization. And as soon as it stops growing, or stops living, it begins to die. Trust in God. God will take care of us”.  We have seen that time and time again in this work in Seattle.  The Spirit has worked to connect the right mentor at the right time, or help us make a mutually transformative match for a host family placement, or brought financial backing to ensure the future of the program.  The list goes on and on.  The work of God is present and stunning in the life of this program.

“The Seattle Institute changes people”.  I am aware it is a statement that can stir fear or concern….Change can be scary and it requires those of us in positions of power to loosen our grip, let go a little of control, and to hold our work with open hands.  It is something I am in a process of learning, and those of you who work closely with me know it is not easy for me!  But, my teachers are the pequeños/as who have shown me again and again that if I can let go of my need for control, they will do amazing things.  And that is not to be confused with some idealized version of growth or perfection in leadership, but they will do amazing things in that they will try new ideas, they will stumble, explore, make mistakes, learn from them, learn to receive and use feedback, and try again.  If I will just journey with them, comforting and challenging as best I can, instead of pushing too hard in a certain direction, they will go so much further.  It is harder, and much messier, but I believe now it is a better path and a better way towards leadership.  We will help each other, grow together, and work for the good of our NPH family together.

“The Seattle Institute changes people”.  I hope so!  If not, what is the point of all this work, all the tears, struggles, all this investment, all these resources?  We seek change, growth, personal transformation.  We hope the students will realize that their circle of influence is bigger than they think, that we need them to step up and take initiative rather than waiting to be told what to do.  We believe that they can have an impact for good on their world.  We need them to understand and believe that their NPH family needs them.

“Seattle changes people”.  In a way that allows the students to make courageous and insightful statements such as these made by this year’s graduates:

“I used to think I had to do everything alone, now I have learned how to work in a group” (Luisa).

“I never used to think I could be a leader, but now I know that I am – not perfect, but willing to serve” (Lucre).

“I wonder if another world is possible…I will try to understand the suffering of others” (Nelson).

“I have found the goodness in my difficult story, and it will allow me to listen to my younger brothers and sisters in NPH like I have been listened to here” (Magda).

“Brothers and Sisters might fight, but when a difficulty or problem comes, they work together to find a solution and to stand with you in your battle.  It feels like I am writing a new story about me and NPH family” (Florine).

“I understand now that I can integrate what I learned about survival before coming to NPH, what I learned about service in my NPH family, and what I learned about myself in Seattle in order to be a better person” (Samy).   

So yes, The Seattle Institute changes people.  In ways that are obvious and quantifiable such as learning English, new hairstyles, or a degree change: this year alone two students identified social work and psychology as areas of study they are interested in primarily because it will help them care for more people.  A third is discerning a degree change to nursing.  And then there are the changes that are not so easily seen: less fear, more self-confidence, more hope, an even deeper connection to the worldwide NPH family, a widening and global perspective on leadership, an openness of mind and heart.  I believe both kinds are important.

Of course one change leads to another and they are all interconnected, they do not come easily and can be fragile.  It is my hope that we will encourage these young people in their continuing journeys.  I know I am honored to be a co-traveler with each of the 20 students who has graduated from this program over the past four years, and eagerly anticipate the goodness, hope, and love they will bring to our family and our world.

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Cinema de los Cuates: A Lesson in Unconditional Love

By Kara King (Program Director) & Florine St. Eloi (Haiti, Class of 2015)

About a month ago, we were at a leadership workshop as a group.  The task at hand was to bring a worry or concern to the group in order to receive feedback, to hear questions, and to perhaps find new ways to approach a problem.  As each shared, the group interacted and provided feedback to each other.

When it was Florine’s turn to share, I watched her struggle to give words to her concerns.  As she did, she honored herself and the group by being deeply honest about what she was facing.  She painted for us a picture of her mother’s current living situation: dangerous, unhealthy, and desperate.  Her description reminded me of what we called in teaching “first hour needs”.  How could I expect her to focus on leadership training when constant on her mind is that her mom is living in a violent neighborhood, breathing in fumes from the burning garbage of the city dump, and unable to stay dry in any storm?  No, these are “first hour” needs that must be heard if Florine is to be able to grow and develop into the strong woman and servant leader that God has created her to be.

And yet, we live in a complex and unjust world.  NPH cannot buy everyone a house.  We don’t have the resources, nor is that our stated mission.

As we sat there with our sister, Florine, I felt grief and despair and anger.  I feel proud of the group for staying with her in her worry, for praying with her, hugging her, and not offering ridiculous and empty words like “it will be okay”.  No, these are young adults who know all too well that is not always true.  Their ability to accompany her in her grief is beautiful.

It was Nelson who eventually spoke into that space wondering aloud: ‘can’t we do something?’.  None of us really knew what we could do, we didn’t know in that moment that if we worked together we would be able to help Florine and her family of origin.  But the group committed to try to do something – even knowing it might not work out.

And do something, they did.  As I write this, they have raised more than enough money for Florine’s mom and siblings to move into a safe and healthy home and pay the rent for one year.  It is a life changing gift and came about because six young people, who grew up in our NPH homes refused to ignore a sister in trouble.

When we teach our children at NPH to serve others, when we give them the opportunity to see how much they have to offer the world, we instill in them the idea that they are not victims but rather people who have much to offer their communities.  We empower them to be creative problem-solvers.  And they learn that in combining their efforts, they can make good happen.  They are living out our mission and vision, and it is a delight to witness.

I asked Florine to reflect on what the experience was like for her, and this is what she said:

“What would have happened if Kara did not ask us about what was bothering us?  This movie night turned into a successful event. Yes, that is what it means to me. Nelson, Luisa, Samy, Magda, Lucre and Kara’s participation to help my family and I was quite a powerful story. From them, I learned how it is important to work as a team. Of course they are part of my life because of NPH, but now it becomes stonger.

Do not hesitate when it comes to help others; that is also another lesson that I learned from this group after all the struggles that we have been through.  I did not have any solutions, but they found out what needed to be done.

Isn’t that the “unconditional love” that Father Wasson has left to us? There’s no other name for it. They acted as leaders, friends, brothers, and sisters. The supporters also made it possible. Thank you so much for coming and supporting, thanks a lot for those who could not make it but helped in different ways.

Words cannot express how grateful I am…thank you for everything that you all did for my family and I. Thank you for helping to find a place where my family can live normally, somewhere they can call “home”!  Good memories stay forever, and this movie night was one of the best that I ever had. Thank you to all of you who made it possible, I will never forget it.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you, gracias and may God always bless and protect you!”

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Father Rick Frechette Visits Seattle

By Samuel, NPH Mexico (Class of 2015)

I remember since I came to NPH, almost everyone talking about “Father Rick”, I was always curious about him. Then, years later, in one of our NPH international meetings I met him, well!  Well, I just met him by sight, at least it was something but that was not enough for me, I promise myself that someday I would meet him, not just sight, also talk and share with him and hear his stories and experiences about his life.

Now, after years of waiting, he was here, in front of me, I need to admit I was a kind of nervous, then he said me “so you are the guy who is going to sing, I hear you can play a lot of instruments, I can play mandolin and guitar as well!” these words increased my confidence and I started to talk with him.

That day, also, we had a diner with him and some sponsors, I will tell you, that house where we had the diner was huge and something I liked about It was that it had a room with a huge collection of guitars (some of these were autographed by celebrities), I felt like a kid in a candy store.  Anyways, that day Father Rick shared with us some of his experiences in his life and actually about the work he is doing in Haiti, I realized that Father Rick has always a busy agenda, he don’t have enough time for himself, he is used to working 24/7, something that is hard to do for me!  I complain just because I have school and I don’t need to work, and I feel like I am doing a lot.

Then, the next day we had a Mass and he also shared another story. From Father Rick I learned that it is not about trying to do our best, no, we need to do, share and give the best. Because if we just try, it may not be sufficient, but giving the best thing is the key to achieve, inspire and succeed.

Now, I’m really glad to have met Father Rick, he has been one of our gold coins in NPH; he has been a good model for people, kids and also for me, I hope he will continue working for our brothers and sisters in Haiti and keep teaching us that everything is possible.

Thank you for all Father Rick, It was an honor to meet you. 

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Thank you for all Father Rick, It was an honor to meet you.

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!