Regional Director’s Message
Greetings to all of our NPH supporters throughout the Northwest!
As I write this message I am reflecting on my wonderful week visiting the pequeños at NPH Nicaragua in July. As those who have visited NPH before know well, it is difficult to sum up such a rich experience in just a few words. Although Nicaragua is the fifth NPH home I have visited, it was my first time there – and it was so refreshing to see an NPH home through new eyes again. I was buoyed by the energy, excitement, authenticity, and diversity of our group of donors and godparents from the Northwest and California – what an amazing group to share this experience with. I was reminded of how alive the mission of NPH and Fr. Wasson is at our homes, and how special our children, staff and volunteers are. And as usual, I left feeling that I’d gained far more than I’d given.
Here are a few of my favorite memories:
· Walking across the lush and peaceful campus to the sounds of grass blowing in the wind, roosters calling, and children playing in the distance.
· Celebrating “Family Day,” where the staff and youth leaders at the home organized games, prizes, and a special meal as a treat for all of the pequeños.
· Playing fútbol (soccer) with several of the teenage boys, and as one visitor so keenly observed, witnessing their competitive spirit and their humility on the court.
· Visiting the primary and secondary school, and meeting with some of NPH Nicaragua’s 60 university students, whose personal ambition and dedication to giving back is truly impressive.
· Catching up with the many pequeños and NPH staff who have visited the Northwest to dance, share their music, or develop their leadership. How wonderful to visit them in their own country and home!
I’ve run out of space to share more here, but I’d love to connect with you soon to share photos and stories from our visit. I feel very privileged to have spent a week at NPH Nicaragua and more inspired than ever to continue sharing NPH’s special family and programs with an even wider audience throughout the Northwest. Special thanks to Edgar Avila, Marlon Velasquez, Donna Egge, and everyone who supported our visit – and to the students and teachers at Eastside Catholic School, who also took a mission trip to NPH Nicaragua in June!
This summer we also celebrated two important graduations. First, the ten staff members from different NPH homes (many of whom are “hermanos mayores,” older brothers and sisters who grew up at NPH), graduated from their month-long leadership training program with our partner organization, iLEAP. During their time in Seattle we loved welcoming them to one of our Board meetings and hearing more about their work and creative ideas for positive change. On July 3, we also celebrated the graduation of the six Seattle Institute students who have been living in Seattle for the past ten months, attending classes at Seattle Central College, and learning about leadership. We are very proud of all of them and thankful for the NPH supporters who opened their homes, mentored the participants, and supported these NPH staff and students during their time in Seattle. We also want to bid a very special farewell to Kara King, the founding Program Director of the Seattle Institute, whose creativity, passion, and dedication has immeasurably enriched the lives of the 26 students who have graduated from this program thus far. Kara’s hard work has resulted in a valuable and successful program whose impact will be felt for many years to come, and you can read about the program’s impact in this booklet, which profiles the graduates of the program thus far. We are grateful for Kara’s leadership and commitment and wish her all the best as she opens her own counseling practice. Meanwhile, I am very excited to share that her successor, Jacqueline Shrader, started last month and has hit the ground running! Jacqueline is a graduate of Seattle University and spent two years in Peru with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. She brings great heart and expertise to her new role with NPH and we look forward to working with her in the months and years ahead.
As the corner turns to fall, we hope you will join us in welcoming the sixth annual class of the Seattle Institute, whose members will arrive in the Northwest just after Labor Day. In September, we will introduce these incredible young emerging leaders to you. And please join us for our annual Gala on Saturday, November 5 at the Golf Club at Newcastle! We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Edwin Vallecillo Betancourth and Dr. Pilar Silverman to share their work providing health care for our children. Dr. Edwin will also share his inspiring story of growing up at NPH and becoming a doctor, running our internal medical clinic in Honduras. It will be a special and fun evening filled with dinner, dancing, games, a fabulous auction and raffle, and your support will make a huge impact at NPH. Please host a table, sign up as a corporate sponsor, donate a dessert or auction item, and register today!
With gratitude for all you do, and best wishes for a wonderful and restful end of summer,
Northwest Regional Director