A Tribute to our Young Women

They are friends, daughters, sisters, and one day many will become mothers. They are students, and will one day become teachers, nurses, lawyers, doctors, artists. We believe in our young women and empowering them to be themselves, to believe in themselves!

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Our NPH Dominican Republic Chicas Poderosas group. Photo by Jaime Fernández.

Chicas Poderosas, ‘Powerful Girls’, is a Family Services core program that creates a safe environment for our young women to ask questions about life, and discuss the challenges that come with being a girl in today’s society and also in communities where machismo is alive and present. Especially in their teenage years, girls have a million questions, and we want them to keep asking.

The program in each home looks a little different, but what matters to us is that they keep meeting, talking and supporting each other in female fellowship.

Last year, the average number of girls involved in a Chicas program was: Mexico: 28, Guatemala: 50, DR: 25, Nicaragua: 30, Honduras: 132.

That means in 2016, 265 girls were growing, learning and leaning on each other through the program.

Hear from them.

Lisseth*, 19, from Nicaragua 

What does it mean to you to be a woman? “For me, it means to be someone capable of lissethgirlsaccomplishing what she wants, to fight for good with integrity, to feel worthy of oneself and value oneself…”

What hopes do you have for the girls of NPH? “I believe they are very intelligent and that they have a lot to offer. I hope they graduate in their careers, support each other and their biological families, since pequeñas don’t forget where they came from, and keep the humility that God has given them.”  Read on.

Jacqueline*, 19, from the DR
NPH Dominican_2016_Children_226“Even though I do not have any sisters of my own, I view every pequeña as my sister…Through Chicas Poderosas I have learned to believe in myself and my abilities; I have learned my prowess and how to defend my rights as a woman and as a person. The challenges I face and even the ones I have yet to defeat have made me stronger than I was before. I am now ready to help others do the same.” Read on.

 

Aracely*, 17, from Honduras

NPH Honduras_2017_Children_201“I think me and other girls my age here,” Aracely explains, “are examples by showing our maturity, and also things like why sharing or compassion are important…I remember when I was little and looked up to girls who were as old as I am now. People would always tell me, ‘Oh, when you are in 9th grade, you’ll see.'” Read on.

 

Marisela*, 19, from Mexico

chiki1“I always try to remind my peers that the bad in life can change for the better. I know this is true because it already has been for me…I look forward to going to Chicas Poderosas because it helps me realize who I am as a person and how I can achieve my highest potential.”  Read on.

 

 

This International Women’s Day, we honor all of our young women –  what they have been through, what they stand for, who they are and all they are becoming.

We are #ProudofOurChicas!

Have a wonderful International Women’s Day this March 8th, 2017.

The NPHI Family Services Team

 

*Names changed for privacy purposes.

2016 In Review

The NPH International Family Services Team achieved many milestones in 2016. Every one of our nine homes received at least one onsite visit from one of our international team members. We provided oversight and support to our National Directors and their local teams throughout the year, and we listened and responded to urgent home needs with onsite support as well. We consistently checked in with the staff to evaluate progress on the 23 Core Programs required for each NPH home, programs whose goals range from fostering youth development to training our childcare staff. These Core Programs were developed directly from the NPHI Family Services Childcare Manual (2006) and our Child Care Policy (2014) in order to ensure high standards, prevention, protection and formational opportunities for children, youth and staff. These programs are at the heart of our NPH work, both for the homes and our NPHI Family Services team.

IMPLEMENTING OUR 23 CORE PROGRAMS

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Local Family Service Coordinators help improve the care of our children in the homes. They work directly with our NPH International Family Services Team to evaluate the 23 Core Programs so that our local childcare staff is able to continue providing quality care and better implement our NPH luzfsannualreportmission: helping our NPH youth to reach their potential, to become good and caring adults, and to be productive members of their respective communities with hearts to serve. We are thrilled to share that two of our newest local Family Services Coordinators are Hermanas Mayores and graduates from the iLEAP and Seattle Institute programs, both Family Services programs designed to prepare our youth and staff for leadership opportunities such as these.

Photos above: Left: Dora Lemus, Hermana Mayor, Graduate of iLEAP and Seattle Institute, Family Service Coordinator of NPH Honduras. Right: Luz de Maria, Hermana Mayor, graduate of iLeap, Family Service Coordinator of NPH El Salvador.

CARE of Children and Youth 

With the creative and dedicated work of over 378 caregivers, the support of Year of Service
youth and volunteers, our children receive high quality care. We currently have 66% of thenph-dominican_2016_employees_38 desired childcare staff in place in our homes. We continue to strive to meet the full child to caregiver ratio compliance level advised by the Family Services Team. In 2016, all 378 childcare staff received at least 10 trainings, empowering them to provide better care. Annual trainings for our childcare staff are one of our focused Core Programs. The trainings center on themes such as positive discipline, sexual education and abuse prevention. We know that with sufficient childcare ratios and well-trained caregivers, our children and youth will be in good hands!

DEVELOPMENT Professional and Leadership 

circleyouthThis past year the Family Services team organized and facilitated over 10 local and international workshops, including the 7th Youth Development Workshop in Guatemala where over 45 youth from nine countries gathered for inspiration to carry our NPH legacy forward. Two Hermanos Mayores, both past participants of the Seattle Institute Leadership Program, helped facilitate this workshop. This is one shining example of our success in providing a continuum of developmental opportunities for growth and leadership. Our 8th workshop will be in Honduras in January 2017. There are 45 total participants, 27 of these youths will be first time participants. Providing youth development opportunities is a major focus for our team and is one of the Core Programs in our homes.

fullsizerender1Our Seattle Leadership Institute, Preparing Lives for Service, celebrated the graduations of six participants from the Class of 2016 to reach a total of 26 graduates since the founding of the program in 2011! Of the past 26 graduates of the Seattle Institute, 16 are studying at the university level with some working along the way as well, 12 have full-time jobs, eight of whom are currently NPH employees. And all who are able to support NPH have found a variety of ways to give back and care for their brothers and sisters This past September we welcomed six more participants, and we look forward to seeing their growth throughout the year. We continue collaboration with iLeap (www.iLeap.org) as part of our professional development offering for our Hermanos Mayores and home employees. Our goal of this program is to help foster strong leadership skills focused on sustainability, collaboration, entrepreneurship and personal development, essential for leaders in today’s changing world. In 2016, we welcomed 21 total participants, to make 31 total graduates from the program since we began partnering with iLEAP in 2015.

In June 2017, we look forward to welcoming our 4th group of 10 students.

nph-honduras_2016_volunteers_41_fspostIn 2016 we saw an increase in the number of volunteers who applied from countries without a fundraising office, especially from Latin America. This enriches the diversity in our homes and our volunteer community. We welcomed volunteers from Venezuela, Costa Rica, Honduras, Argentina, Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, Sweden and the United Kingdom to serve our homes and our children.   Our International Volunteer Coordinator worked closely with the local volunteer coordinators in both the NPH homes and fundraising offices to create a more cohesive, international volunteer program. In addition, a new evaluation system and emergency and safety document was created for all homes.

Introducing Our NPH International Family Services Team!

  • Donna Egge: Family Services Director
  • Markus Streit: Family Services Coordinator, Administration, Core Programs, Alternative Care Programs, Child Welfare Interviews, Europe Liaison, Education Initiative
  • Avriel Burlot: Family Services Coordinator, International Volunteers, CPI, Haiti FS, International Youth Conference
  • Nelly Fernandez: Coordinator, Mental and Reproductive Health, Alternative Care Programs
  • Jacqueline Shrader: new Coordinator, Seattle International Leadership Institute

Donna Egge, NPHI Family Services Director

8th Annual Youth Development Conference in Honduras

The 8th Annual NPHI Youth Development Conference is currently in session!

There are 37 NPH youths from 8 different countries who traveled to the Ranch in NPH Honduras to be part of this workshop. Led by the NPHI Family Services team, they have been participating in a full week of learning sessions, activities, games and presentations. They are learning, growing and also having a blast during this unique experience with their fellow peers.

Enjoy these photos below!

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Dr. Maccoby during his presentation with one of our exceptional young women from NPH Mexico.

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A group of participants. This year we had 37 participants from eight countries.

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The participants have a full week of presentations, learning session, activities and games! They are learning a lot and having a blast at the 8th Annual Youth Development Conference.

Christmas Reminds Us of Hope for the Future

The fact that Christmas is almost upon us reminds us of the way in which God entered the world: born of the Virgin Mary like all children are born, wrapped in swaddling clothes, cradled in a mother’s arms. Jesus was raised in a loving family.

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Children reenacting the Christmas story in NPH Bolivia (photo by Jamila Noeprick)

In every culture and every country, the family is the foundation of society because they protect the wellbeing of children. When the stresses of poverty, drugs, violence, illness or death are placed upon any family, their lives and futures are endangered. Families in crisis put children at risk.

In cases where a child has no family, we build a strong family structure to promote their healthy development and a better future. As their second family, we help children build relationships with their peers through play, empower them by nurturing self-confidence and provide spiritual formation that’s grounded in moral values.

On the front lines of this family environment are the tíos and tías who serve as caregivers to the children making sure that they are well fed, do their chores, get to school, grow up with strong examples to emulate, and provide whatever else a parent passes on to their children in a loving family.

Our tías and tíos provide parental love without the direct ties: “Treat the children as your own!“ says caregiver Elda from NPFS Haiti “Be flexible. Build a great friendship with them and show them that you are not just a caregiver but their family.”

 

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Tía Ramona from NPH Dominican Republic who works with the girls reflects: “My care is based on the needs of each child…I try to get to know each girl, their behaviors, what they like, and what they don’t. I love to share with my girls and support them when they need me.”

Tío Miguel has been a caregiver for so long, he directly sees the impact, and he is part of creating the day-to-day of the family experience provided by the ranch in NPH Honduras. “It’s not direct family, but it creates an equally supportive environment for kids to grow up in. (…) Like a father would, I try to positively influence them through my example. Working hard, encouraging them to study and helping them with their school work. I try my best to teach them different values – respect, responsibility, the importance of work – through both words and my own actions.”

Like Elda, Ramona and Miguel, we have many childcare workers who pay personal attention to our children, and who are focused on our values and Fr. Wasson’s philosophy. While the caregivers can never replace the parents of the pequeñas and pequeños, they provide the stability of family: Thanks to all of them we are family! Thanks to all of them we provide hope for the future.

Christmas Blessings to All Families,

The NPHI Family Service Team

Visit the http://www.nph.org website to read more about Tío Miguel: Twenty Years Strong at NPH and Elda: Treating the Children as Your Own.

 

“The most important thing is that we teach our children to practice charity.”

After Hurricane Matthew swept through Haiti and took many lives, it also left thousands upon thousands of people homeless, and families without the means to provide bread each day for their children. Charity is needed!

Click here to donate now.

Many of our staff have been affected, either they have been personally or through their relatives, by this devastating storm. We stand in solidarity with the victims, the people, our brothers and sisters in Haiti. Our staff, grand frères and sœurs and pequeñ@s, are doing an outstanding job under impossible circumstances to provide food, water and healthcare to those in need.

Father Wasson once said: “The most important thing is that we teach our children to practice charity.  Because if they love, they will be loved.”  See for yourself how our youth, the Pequeñ@s in Haiti, put the principles of this philosophy into practice.

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In solidarity,

The Family Service team

26 New Volunteers

Photos and Article by Avriel Burlot

The volunteers are a valuable and active part of our NPH family. They work directly with our children in all areas. They tutor in school, they care for them in their homes, they treat them in the clinic and fill many and all roles in between. Volunteers have been working with NPH since our first day and Fr. Wasson relied on volunteers from the beginning, just as much as we do now.

Each January and July we welcome new volunteers in our homes. This July, 26 new volunteers arrived to our homes in Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. Avriel Burlot, the International Volunteer Coordinator, had the opportunity to visit the four homes for the volunteer orientations and meet the new volunteers. She said, “I love when new volunteers start working with us! They bring an energy, new ideas, new spirit and they love the kids so much! The more people that love and care for our kids the better.”

Currently we have 68 volunteers, representing 17 countries, in all of our homes. They work hard, play soccer, serve food, put our kids to bed and love them with all of their heart. We cannot thank them enough for their dedication and love.

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Welcome Jacqueline Shrader, the New Seattle Institute Program Director

We are so excited to introduce you to our next Seattle Institute Program Director: Jacqueline Shrader!  Jacqueline is a graduate of Seattle University, former Jesuit Volunteer Corp international volunteer and brings a background in ministry, service, and accompaniment to this role.

As a part of Jacqueline’s orientation and training process, she had the opportunity to travel to our NPH home in Honduras to learn more about the organization, work with Donna Egge, Director of NPHI Family Services, and meet past participants from the Seattle Institute.

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Jacqueline (far left) spending time with past and future Seattle Institute graduates at the NPH Honduras Home

Jacqueline and Donna met with four past Seattle Institute graduates, a handful of past iLeap participants and also Saravia, who will be a part of the 2016-2017 class in the Seattle Institute while in Honduras. The group talked about the past five years of the program, the best parts of the graduates’ year in Seattle, what they learned and what important lessons they brought back to Honduras. Jacqueline was able to learn from the graduates themselves about their hopes for the future of the program.

Jacqueline said, “I am deeply humbled and very excited for this opportunity to journey with the Seattle Institute and all of you who make this community possible.”

We feel confident and grateful as we pass this beautiful and meaningful work to her.

We also want to take this opportunity to thank Kara King who helped build this inspirational program that has helped developed 26 graduates over five years in the NPH Seattle Institute. We are overwhelmed by the many great things that Kara has accomplished over the past 15 years with NPH and we wish her the best of luck in her next adventure!

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Jacqueline (left) and one of the recent Seattle Institute graduates.

Photos and article by Avriel Burlot