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

Homes of Peace, Homes of Mercy

One of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 is to ‘promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies’.

In a world where peace and inclusion can feel so far away, creating this kind of society may at times seem like a lofty ideal. But as individuals who form part of the NPH community, every day we have the chance to rise to that ideal and promote peace in all of those places we call home.

Father Alberto, our NPH Nicaragua chaplain, leads us in a reflection on finding peace in our homes.

HOMES OF PEACE, HOMES OF MERCY

Written by Father Alberto Cisneros Izquierdo, NPH Nicaragua (Original Spanish text below). English translations by Janet Chavez, NPHI

“We can breathe joy and peace around this home, from the first moment, we feel as part of the family!” This is the sentiment expressed by many of the people who visit us throughout the year. How do we achieve this? I think the key is what Father Wasson lived: “In my life, I found out that if you want to change the world you have to start with the children. Not only by changing the children, but by changing their hearts. If we are to change the world I think we should start with the children. We must start by changing their hearts.”

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Many of our children arrive with deep wounds, marked by hatred and resentment. These feelings generate violence and kill peace. If we want our children to be happy we must begin by helping them find the peace they have lost. For this reason Father Wasson always asked in his prayer “May God guide children to a life of mercy rather than of justice, teaching them to be merciful to one another.” Justice can restore the violated rights but only mercy can bring peace and joy to the heart. When our children discover God’s mercy, when they discover the joy to forgive and be forgiven, fruit of the resurrection of Jesus, then they become witnesses of God’s love.

And in the end love always wins. Maybe not immediately, but in the end love is stronger than hatred. At our homes we teach universal brotherhood. Who is my brother? Everyone is your brother. “We all care for each other. We have to work for one another if we ever want to make this world a peaceful world.”

Love instead of violence, has been key in Father Wasson’s life, inspired by the Holy Scriptures, especially in the Sermon on the Mount, and sometimes by good deeds of contemporary icons.

NPH Nicaragua_2016_Children_147“The biggest event of the last century, in my mind, was Mohandas Gandhi’s movement. He accepted an active non-violence. There is a difference between non-violence and active non-violence. People who are non-violent are people that hide and do nothing. But active non-violence means that you have it there, and do good things, while other people do evil things.”

Our goal is that our children respond to violence with love and by doing good deeds, because only love will change the world. If our children do not change their heart of rancor to a heart of mercy, then they will follow the same path of violence and neglect in their lives, and they won’t be agents of change in this society that seems to have lost the meaning of life.

“How happy are those who never stop

making this world a world of peace:

they travel where the brave have walked.

They shall be called children of God!

How happy the one preparing a plan

to be shalom between man and man

when hatred was destroyed and your victory won

this man of peace shall be son of God!”

From the book: Sermon on the Mount by Father Wasson

~ Father Alberto Cisneros Izquierdo

From Spain originally, Father Alberto is a Diocesan Priest from the Osma-Soria Diocese and was the priest of a pastoral unit of Almazán and a delegate of youth pastoral care before he arrived at NPH in 2011. 

 


HOGARES DE PAZ, HOGARES DE MISERICORDIA

Escrito por Padre Alberto Cisneros Izquierdo, NPH Nicaragua

“¡Qué alegría y paz se respira en este hogar, uno se siente desde el primer momento en familia!” Así me expresan muchas de las personas que nos visitan a lo largo del año. ¿Cómo lo conseguimos? Creo que la clave está en lo que el padre Wasson vivió: “Yo descubrí en mi vida que si quieres cambiar el mundo tienes que empezar por los niños. No ha sido solo cambiar a los niños, sino cambiar su corazón. Si vamos a cambiar el mundo creo que debemos comenzar con los niños. Debemos de empezar con cambiar su corazón”.

Nuestros hijos llegan muchos de ellos con profundas heridas, marcados por el odio y el rencor. Sentimientos que engendran violencia y matan la paz. Si queremos que nuestros hijos sean felices tenemos que empezar por ayudarles a encontrar la paz perdida. Por eso Padre Wasson pedía siempre en su oración “Que Dios guie a los niños a una vida de misericordia mas que de justicia. Que les enseñe a ser misericordiosos unos con otros”. Y es que la justicia puede restituir los derechos violentados pero solo la misericordia es capaz de devolver la paz y la alegría al corazón. Cuando nuestros hijos se encuentran con la misericordia de Dios, cuando descubren la alegría de perdonar y ser perdonados, fruto de la resurrección de Jesús, entonces se convierten en testigos del amor de Dios.

Y es que al final el amor siempre ganará. Quizá no de inmediato, pero al final el amor es más fuerte que el odio. Y en nuestros hogares educamos en la fraternidad universal. ¿Quién es mi hermano? Todos son tus hermanos. “Todos debemos cuidarnos unos a otros. Tenemos que trabajar unos para los otros si alguna vez vamos a llevar al mundo a algo cerca de ser un mundo en paz”.

Amor en lugar de violencia, ha sido una clave en la vida del padre Wasson, inspirado en las Sagradas Escrituras, especialmente en el Sermón de la Montaña,  y algunas veces por las buenas obras de iconos contemporáneos.

“El mas grande evento del siglo pasado, en mi mente, fue la aparición de Mohandas Ghandi. El aceptó  una no-violencia activa. Hay una diferencia entre la no violencia y la no violencia activa. La gente que es no violenta es gente que se esconde y no hace nada. Pero la no-violencia activa significa que la tienes allí, y haces el bien, mientras que otra gente hace el mal”.

Este es nuestro empeño, llevar a nuestros hijos a responder ante la violencia con amor y haciendo el bien, porque solo el amor cambiará el mundo. Si nuestros hijos no cambian su corazón de rencor en un corazón de misericordia, entonces seguirá la misma cadena de violencia y abandono en sus vidas, y no podrán ser agentes de cambio en esta sociedad que parece haber perdido el sentido de la vida.

“Qué dichoso son aquellos que nunca cesan

de hacer de este mundo una tierra de paz:

ellos viajan donde los valientes han pisado.

¡Ellos serán llamados los hijos de Dios!

Qué dichoso será el que forma un plan

de ser shalom entre hombre y hombre;

cuando el odio destruyo y tu victoria gano.

¡Este hombre de paz será hijo de Dios!”

Del libro El sermón de la montaña del P. Wasson

~ Padre Alberto Cisneros Izquierdo

Origin de España, Padre Alberto es Sacerdote Diocesano de la Diócesis de Osma-Soria (España). Antes de llegar a NPH en 2011, era sacerdote de la unidad pastoral de Almazán (Soria) y  delegado de pastoral juvenil de su diócesis. 

 

*Photo Credit to Mark Robinson (1st) and Anne Bergfeld (2nd), NPH Nicaragua