Just the Beginning
Seattle Institute participants graduate from the program and return to their countries to embark on a new chapter
Reported by Erin Stuckey
Director of Communications, NPH International
July 10, 2018
Imagine that as you step off the plane onto foreign ground, you are actively stepping outside of your comfort zone. All that is familiar has seemed to vanish into the autumn air. You are in a new country, with a new language, and a new family.
This is a glimpse of how the NPHI Seattle Institute participants felt 10 months ago. But on June 30, 2018, they stood tall, surrounded by their Homestay families and a community who cares about them, speaking in a language that doesn’t feel quite as new anymore, and in a city that has become their second home. They have grown here, both personally and professionally; they have learned about service leadership, teamwork, and they have discovered more about themselves.
After many days of practicing with their peers at iLEAP, each of the six graduates give their speech. There is a sense of pride and confidence in the air. They have worked hard, and this is now their moment.
Darlyn, a physical therapist from NPH Guatemala, shares her honest reflection, “The experience of being outside of my country and far from the people who’ve supported me has been very difficult, and, at the same time very constructive. Having this kind of experience has made me wiser and stronger to continue on, which will help me for the rest of my life.”
Farid, who grew up in the NPH Honduras home and has now returned to run the Hermano Mayor program, addresses his fellow cohort members as he encourages them, “This is when we have to become brave, follow our curiosity, be ambitious and not abandon our dreams…because in this moment the world needs us the most.”
Maria, from NPH Honduras, will return to university classes this fall. She shares her eye-opening realization from the year, “Until now, I didn’t realize that the kind of leader I want to be is the one that fights and works for women’s rights.”
Rafael Bermúdez, National Director of NPH Mexico, flew in from Mexico to attend the graduation and shared inspiring words of encouragement with the students. Rafael grew up in the Mexico home, and years ago he was also given the opportunity to study in the U.S. by Father Wasson, founder of NPH.
The day began with a beautiful, intimate mass, and ended with photos, cake, gifts, and the feeling that this community has somehow managed to become family. Immense gratitude was shared by all of the speakers, for the Homestays, program mentors, MAPFRE, iLEAP, other program supporters, Donna Egge, and Jacqueline Shrader, who has led the program for the past two years and has served the NPH family with all of her heart.
Congratulations to the six graduates of the Seattle Institute program: Darich, Darlyn, Ever, Farid, Maria and Yomara!
While this incredible time has come to a close, as Darlyn said it best, “This might feel like the end, but it’s really the beginning.”
The Seattle Institute is generously supported by Fundación MAPFRE. Read about our partnership here.
About Fundación MAPFRE
Fundación MAPFRE is a non-profit organization created by MAPFRE Insurance in 1975, which performs its activity in 29 countries and whose main objective is to promote the well-being of society and citizens across the company’s footprint. It is the insurance company’s majority shareholder, thus helping to ensure the firm’s independence and shareholding stability. For more information, please visit https://www.fundacionmapfre.org/fundacion/en
• The Seattle Institute
• NEWS: Fundación MAPFRE Partnership Helps Develop Global Leaders, September 14, 2017
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Photo above: Regional/National NPH USA Board Member Pat McCormick of AAA, Darich, Darlyn, Ever, Yomara, Maria, Farid, and Rick Staten of MAPFRE with thank you messages for MAPFRE from the students; Photo below: The Seattle Institute graduation gathering!