Preparing for
Lives of Service

The Seattle Institute

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The Seattle Institute is a program of NPH International which began in the Fall of 2011 with a charter class of five Pequeños/as from four NPH homes. Currently, the Institute welcomes a class of six Pequeños/as each September for a 10-month personal formation and study program.

The mission of this program is to continue Father Wasson’s legacy by developing a future generation of leaders for our NPH homes. Our curriculum is based on principles of servant leadership and grounded in our NPH philosophy. The small size of the program offers the capacity to engage in challenging and rigorous personal and group work, as well as the ability to adapt to the needs of each student.

Each student lives with a host family, works with an intergenerational mentor, participates in job-shadowing experiences, and studies intense English at a local community college. Additionally, the students participate in weekly leadership courses, weekend workshops, service activities, and several longer retreats during the year. They are coached in their personal growth by the program director and others who support the program in Seattle. The participants learn about and support the fundraising efforts of the local NPH USA office in Bellevue (near Seattle), learning to tell the NPH story and share our work with donors. Projects throughout the year offer the opportunity to practice their growing skillset, reflect on mistakes, and try out new ideas. A partnership with another local nonprofit, iLEAP, provides intensive training in global leadership throughout the year.

In all we do, we keep our NPH family central. As we widen our perspectives and learn new ideas, we wonder how they could be implemented at NPH or how they may help us be a more effective leaders within NPH. We do not seek perfection, but rather a form of leadership in which the pequeños/as try new things, stumble, explore, make mistakes, learn from them, learn to receive and give feedback, and then try again. It is a style of teaching that means the program must adapt each year in order to attend to the unique needs of each participant – while at the same time holding to the core values and beliefs of the NPH family. It is a path that leads to more authentic leadership as we help each other, grow together, and work for the good of our NPH family. Each year, the students in the program leave their mark in Seattle – helping the program grow and evolve and remain focused on our vision and objectives.

Click to read Celebrating Five Years of The Seattle InstituteOur vision is to continue to grow a community of diverse, creative, well-prepared leaders for the future of our NPH family.

The work we do together throughout the year comes together in five integrated areas. By engaging in a wide-variety of learning experiences and opportunities accompanied by individual and group reflections, the participants work towards growth in the following five areas: (“TRACK”):

1. Teamwork: Leaders work together.
2. Results: Leaders take initiative to get results.
3. Self-Awareness: Leaders know who they are.
4. Communication: Leaders are listeners. Leaders are able to clearly communicate their ideas.
5. Knowledge: Leaders understand how organizations function.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor or have ideas for community involvement, please email

Host an NPH Student in Seattle This Year

NPH is looking for homestay families for our 2017-2018 Seattle Institute! You can provide a home for a university-age NPH student and have a life-changing experience along the way. Each year, six NPH students spend ten months in Seattle studying English and developing their leadership skills. And each year, local NPH supporters open their homes to welcome the NPH students into their families from September through June. Staying with a local family is a central part of the experience and learning for our students. It’s also an enriching and valuable experience for the families who participate. Click here for more information about homestay requirements. To find out more, call (425) 646-3935 or email


In more detail:

Teamwork: Leaders work together.

  • Our participants will increase their ability to collaborate with others who are different from themselves. They work to improve their relational/interpersonal skills, facilitation skills, listening skills, and problem solving skills. They learn to give and receive feedback, and to engage conflict in ways that move a group forward.
  • This goal is worked on through: mentoring, group work/projects and meetings, living with host families, support from former NPH volunteers, collaboration with NPH USA staff and boards, community gatherings, faith practices, individual leadership coaching, collaboration with iLEAP, service projects, workshops, and retreats.

Results: Leaders take initiative to get results.

  • Our participants grow in their ability to take initiative, to be creative problem-solvers, and to be agents of positive change for their communities/NPH family. They will learn to ask questions/listen, to be curious, to observe/analyze, and to claim their own power to notice and then respond to the needs and injustices they encounter. Our participants also learn how to be engaged, life-long learners.
  • This goal is worked on through: living with host families, mentoring, group projects, service projects in response to needs they see in the Seattle community during their time here, their proposals for projects within their NPH home, engagement in leaving their mark on this program, collaboration with iLEAP, goal setting practices, and individual leadership coaching.

Self-Awareness: Leaders know who they are.

  • Our participants will engage the following questions during their time in Seattle in order to grow in their self-awareness: Who am I?, Who am I becoming as a leader?, What am I uniquely gifted to offer the world?, What are my strengths, weaknesses?, What is my story, where am I from, where am I going?, How can I use my experiences for the good of others?, What am I interested in personally and professionally and how am I growing in those areas?, What do I believe about myself, my community, NPH, the world, God?, What is my cultural lens through which I see the world? (among other questions that come up in the course of their work!).
  • This goal is worked on through retreats, Healing Arts Toolkit workshops, cultural immersion, job-shadow experiences, mentoring, host family stay, individual and group reflection, giving/receiving feedback, individual presentations/study, collaboration with iLEAP, 1:1 coaching with program director, workshops, mental health care, independent study, cultural immersion, pastoral care with program chaplain, etc.

Communication: Leaders are listeners. Leaders are able to clearly communicate their ideas.

  • Our participants will learn English and inter-cultural communication skills. Additionally, they will increase their skills in public speaking, telling the NPH story, and using technology.
  • This goal is work on through workshops, collaboration with iLEAP, work with NPH-USA, individual speech coaching, courses at Seattle Central College, host family stay, mentoring, individual presentations, and group work.

Knowledge: Leaders understand how organizations function.

  • Our participants will increase their business knowledge and grow in their understanding of how NPH functions from an international perspective. They will learn about decision making, other nonprofits, financials, technology, goal setting, planning, motivation, and being inquisitive. Additionally, they will grow in their management skills, crisis intervention skills, and scheduling abilities.
  • This goal is worked on through college-level coursework, workshops, job-shadowing, mentoring, host families, collaboration with iLEAP, work with NPH USA, attendance at events/panels, Leadership Challenge book study, business site visits, and CPI training.

Some of our Seattle Institute graduates return to NPH and begin working for us immediately. Other Seattle Institute alumnae can be found pursuing university degrees in areas such as social work, international business, psychology, and education. Others are working in their communities, raising children, and finding unique and creative ways to share their love and knowledge with others wherever they are. Wherever they end up, our hope is always that they will remain part of our NPH family and live out Father Wasson’s vision of his grown children caring for future generations of children in need. At the Seattle Institute, we understand they are many ways to do that and embrace walking with our alumni as they find their unique way in this big NPH family.

Class of 2019 – 2020


Abigail, Nicaragua

“Earlier in 2019, I graduated from university with a degree in Sustainable Tourism. I am from the Island of Ometepe, which led me to finding my cause in protecting the environment and educating others on how they can as well. I am excited to be in Seattle because I want to grow spiritually and professionally, and get to know a new culture, language and people. Being part of this program is the best thing that
has happened to me this year.”


Alexis, Guatemala

“I am in my third year studying in university to be an English teacher so that I can better support and teach my brothers and sisters at NPH, and provide them with new tools to practice their English. I am excited to be part of the Seattle program because it’s an incredible opportunity to improve my skills, meet new people and learn from another culture. It fills with me with great pride to share my NPH experience and represent my country while I am there.”


David, Mexico

“I graduated from high school with a specialization in public accounting, and then served the NPH Mexico home for two years in different capacities while supporting our youth development group. After my year in Seattle I will begin my university studies in Mexico and work toward a Business Administration degree. I am happy to be part of the Seattle Institute program because I am excited to learn new things and step outside my comfort zone, while learning to be a competent leader so that I can help NPH in the future and where I am needed.”


Jazmín, El Salvador

“I am in my fourth year of university, studying International Business and Marketing. Before arriving in Seattle, I was the representative and go-to support for the NPH El Salvador university women. I am so thankful to God and to NPH for this incredible opportunity, and excited for the challenge, all that I will learn, and the entire experience. I hope to return to my home country as a different person in respect to service and leadership, to continue supporting NPH.”

DonateHow to Help

For the first four years of the program, primary funding was provided by a seed grant from a generous NPH supporter in Chicago. Starting in 2015-16, the Northwest Region of NPH USA is funding the Institute through special events and generous contributions from our donors. Here is how you can help:

  • $10,000 will provide all tuition for one of our students at Seattle Central College. You will be able to meet the student and we will provide ongoing updates on his/her progress.
  • $5,000 will cover all local transportation for the students throughout their year in Seattle. Our students take the bus everywhere – to school every day, to events and meetings, and we provide bus passes so that they may affordably and independently get around Seattle.
  • $2,500 will provide health insurance and all medical costs for one of our students this year. While they are in Seattle, we purchase health insurance for our students so that they may stay healthy and take care of pressing health concerns.
  • Become a godparent to one of our students. Older students at NPH, including our leadership students, do not have many sponsors. With a recommended donation of $50/month or more, you can give one of our students the support s/he needs.
  • Gifts of any size are welcome and will help support our important leadership development work!

Related Information:
The Seattle Institute Blog
The Seattle Institute: Celebrating Five Years
Leadership Institute Program Video
Youth Development Video
NEWS: Fundación MAPFRE Renews Partnership to Help Develop Global Leaders, October 19, 2018
NEWS: Fundación MAPFRE Partnership Helps Develop Global Leaders, September 14, 2017