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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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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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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NPH Mentors

By Irene Cruz, Class of 2016.  Translated by Kara (Irene’s next post will be in English)

Nosotros necesitamos y contamos con ayuda de varias personas, las cuales ahora son muy importantes y forman parte de nuestra vida.

Los mentores son un apoyo muy importante para nuestro crecimiento durante nuestra estancia en Seattle, ellos nos brindan y aportan de su tiempo para poder estar y convivir con nosotros.

Recibimos consejos de cada uno de ellos, sabemos que podemos contar con su apoyo siempre que lo necesitemos. Sé que nunca vamos a estar solos, y que el día que no creamos o que pensemos que ya no podemos seguir, ellos van a estar ahí para darnos la mano y ayudarnos a levantar. Eso hace los mentores por nosotros.

En lo personal Bailey (mentor), me brinda su apoyo cada vez que lo necesito, aun cuando ella no tiene el tiempo suficiente para poder hablar, ya sea que está en el trabajo o aun si está descansando y requiero de ella, nunca dice que no. En este tiempo que lleva como mi mentor ha sido de mucho aprendizaje para mí, ya que es una persona con un gran corazón, responsable y humilde e iré aprendiendo durante el tiempo más de ella lo cual me hará una mejor persona.

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We both need, and have, the help of various people, people who are very important and form part of our lives.

Our mentors are an important support for our growth during our stay in Seattle.  They share their time with us.

They give us advice, and we know we can count on their support whenever we need it.  I know that we will never be alone.  If one day we think that we cannot keep going, they will be there to offer a hand and help us back up.  This is what our mentors do for us.

Personally, my mentor Bailey supports me whenever I need it, even when she doesn’t have enough time to talk, maybe because she is at work or needs to rest – she always makes times for me anyways.  I have learned a lot from her, she is a person with a big heart, responsible, and humble – and I know I will continue learning from her throughout my time here and that will make me a better person.

 

Editor’s Note: This year we have adjusted our mentoring program.  In September each student was paired with a former NPH volunteer.  These mentors help them bridge the cultural gaps, adjust to life in Seattle, and introduce them to friends closer to their own age.  These mentors also speak the students’ native languages which is of much comfort in the beginning months!  Feedback from the students, mentors, and host families indicate this new addition is a success!

Currently, we are working to pair each of the students with a second mentor.  This person will dig even more deeply into the leadership work, self-awareness, exploring career options, goal setting, and working on personal growth with the students.

Both mentors support the students in their work to become more capable leaders.

It is our hope that the time in Seattle might be just the beginning of life-long relationships that are mutually beneficial.  We are so grateful to all our mentors and all you do for our students!

 

 

Climate, Food, and English: Lucre Reflects on her first months in Seattle

By Lucrecia, NPH Nicragua

Translation by Kara (this time only!!)

 

Antes de llegar a Seattle, Seattle era una ciudad desconocida para mi. Tuve la oportunidad de investigar en internet!!! Pero no lo hice. Cual fue la razón?. Simple, no quería las referencias de nadie, sabía que viviría por 10 meses en Seattle y supuse que tendria tiempo suficiente para observer y aprender y tener mi propio concepto. Pues bien, estas son algunas de las observaciones a las que he llegado en mis dos meses de estancia en Seattle.

Before coming to Seattle, I didn’t know anything about it.  I had the opportunity to look it up on the internet, but I didn’t.  Why not?  Simple – I didn’t want others opinions.  I know I would live for 10 months in Seattle and I imagined that I would have lots of time to observe and learn for myself.  Here are some of the things I have observed since I got here.

Seattle es una ciudad de Washinton muy hermosa, tiene enormes edificios , muchas playas, muchos lugares para visitar. Los habitantes de Seattles son personas de todas partes( unos nacidos aqui, otros de otros estados del pais o de otros paises).Las personas suelen parecer muy serios, pero una ves que entablas una conversación con ellos la mayoría suele ser amables y serviciales.

Seattle is a city in Washington State.  It is very beautiful, with huge buildings, many beaches, and many places to visit.  The people who live in Seattle are from all over (some born her, other born in other states, and others in other countries).  The people appear to be very serious, but once you start a conversation with them most of them are kind and hospitable.

Mis puntos debiles en seattle son: el CLIMA, la COMIDA y el IDIOMA. Es lo que lo distinguen de mi pais.!!!

For me, the bad parts about Seattle are: the climate, the food, and the language.  This is what is different from my country!!!

El clima es muy fresco y muchos meses de lluvia ( demaciado fresco para mi gusto,siempre tengo frio) pero a la gente de aqui es lo que mas le facina de Seattle.

The climate is very cold and there are many months of rain (and it is cold rain, I am always cold).  But the people here seem to be fascinated by it.

En cuanto a la comida, es un cambio de 360 grados, no hay gallopinto, ni nacatamales, ni nada de lo que comemos en Nicaragua. Todo es Nuevo y muchas variedades de comidas.Pero es una ventaja porque puedo probar la comida de Seattle y seleccionar la que me gusta.

In regards to the food, it is a 360 degree change.  No gallopinto!  No nacatamales, nor anything else that we eat in Nicaragua.  Everything is new and there are many varieties of food.  But that is an advantage because I can try the food and choose what I like.

Y en cuanto al idima, quiciera hablar con mucha gente pero no puedo comunicarme en ingles con ellas. Asi que seguiré aprendiendo, de cultura, costumbres y sobre todo idioma. My host family (Bill y Katy) me dicen “poco a poco”, y si cada dia aprendo un poco mas.

And in regards to the language, I would like to speak with many people but I can’t communicate in English with them.  So, I will keep learning: about culture, customs, and mostly language.  My host family (Bill and Kathy) tell me “little by little”, and it is true – each day I learn a little more. 

En fin, aunque ha sido un poco difícil adaptarse al idioma,a las costumbres y al clima de Seattle que por sierto, nadie dijo que iba hacer fácil. Me gusta Seattle.

Finally, although it is have been a Little hard to adapt to the language, culture, and climate of Seattle (and certainly no one told me it would be easy), I do like Seattle!

 

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Our Host Families

By Florine St. Eloi, NPFS Haiti

 

I am Florine St Eloi, a leadership student from Haiti. I always had a dream to come to the United States. We were 6 students in NPH Haiti to apply for coming to Seattle in the Leadership program, and studying English at Seattle Central College. After Kara’s “exam” and “interview”, yippeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! I was qualified for 10 months in Seattle. Moreover, my dream came true.

 

This September 11, Lucre, Nelson, Magda, Luisa, Sam and I, we were welcomed by 15 persons, our host families and friends. How blessed we are! Each of us has a family. Lucre has the Collins’, Nelson with the Paulsens, Magda lives at the Goodwins’ place, Luisa stays with the Fittons, Sam is with Jan Siers and John Ittes, and I stay with my famous JoNa, the Fonsecas. It’s wonderful! I am writing about our “Host families” on the “birthday” of one of mine, John Fonseca. Isn’t that interesting…

Happy Birthday John Fonseca!!!

 

Honestly, I prefer “parents” than “host families”. They take care of us, they help us with homework, drive us to church, cook meals and make us laugh. We are so grateful for all of that. They always try to do the best for us. John and Mona always say, “Flo, feel free”. They are wonderful, I really love them.

 

We all love our host families, our parents. We can’t thank you enough for all your kindness and support. You treat us like a member of your family, we are so happy to stay with you and your family. We are very grateful to our host families for opening their home to us to experience the American culture, values and lifestyles.

 

We have many challenges: to become a Leader, to learn English, to be more independent, more confident, while focusing on our plans for the future. Future tense is so funny! That’s my favorite verb tense. Smiling…John always says, “Grammar is like Mathematics. If you know the rules, you’ll always get it right”!

 

I have heard: “If you have a good present, you will have a good future. We have to work hard in our present to have a good future. Our host families, our Mentors and Kara contribute now towards our good future. Thank you so much to all of you! Kara chose well for all of us in pairing the students and host families. However, if she were to choose differently, for example, if I were with the Paulsens, or Magda with the Fonsecas, we would still be happy because our host families want the best for us.

 

In the end, you, host families give to us, the students such an unforgettable experience that would become an invaluable treasure in our life. If you look in our eyes, you would see a light. If you see the light, you would understand our smiles. If you understood our smiles, you would touch our hearts and would know how very much we love and thank you every moment, and every day.

 

 

 

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