9th Annual International Youth Development Conference

Written by Ricardo Klayen, NPH Mexico

We celebrated the 9th Annual NPHI Youth Development Conference this past January 2018, welcoming participants from all nine NPH homes. Our host was NPH El Salvador, a country rich in culture and hospitality, which provided a beautiful and wonderful experience to all our participants.

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There were 46 NPH youths that participated in this event; for 24 of them it was their first time attending, and 22 of them had the opportunity to participate in the past.

The theme of the conference was “Who am I?” The participants answered the following questions throughout the duration of the week: Who am I in my community? Who am I in my faith? Who am I as a person? Who am I within a team? And who am I as a leader?

In addition to the workshop and teaching part of the conference, the youth enthusiastically participated in recreational and cultural activities during the week.  This included games shared by other participants, an excursion to do service in the community, and also a day to visit cultural sites in El Salvador.

The team who led the activities included Donna Egge, Avriel Burlot, and myself, Ricardo Klayen.  We also invited special visitors during the week to present during the conference and share time with the youth.  These visitors included Dr. Michael Maccoby, Reinhart Koehler, Miguel Venegas, Nelly Fernandez, Jacqueline Shrader and staff from NPH El Salvador.

Based on my experience, this conference is a very important opportunity for our NPH youth and family. We strengthen personal growth of our youths, and strengthen the family ties among the members of our great NPH family.

I had the opportunity to participate in this type of workshop years ago and I have seen my personal growth. As an Hermano Mayor (older brother in the NPH family), my wish is to see the growth in each one of my brothers and sisters who are participating today and having these opportunities and experiences.

This year was the third time I helped lead the workshop as part of the planning team. I feel very happy and grateful for all the people that have helped me become a better person and a good example for my NPH brothers and sisters.


iLeap International Fellows Spring Program

The NPHI Family Services team and supporters strive to invest in NPH leaders and provide unique professional development opportunities for them. From this effort arose the idea to partner with iLEAP, a Seattle-based, international organization designed to provide professional development opportunities and inspire leaders to ignite social change around the world.


2018 International Fellows, Spring program

iLEAP has a strong track-record of developing social entrepreneurs from around the world.  Father Wasson was, among many things, an entrepreneur.  He was an innovative leader and inspired the creation of NPH, an organization which continues to thrive in his absence.  We see iLEAP as a resource for helping to develop the next generation of NPH leaders so they can develop into a modern version of the social entrepreneur that Father Wasson was.

Congratulations to NPH staff, Nelly Fernández and Tom Kuiper, as they complete their three-week long journey as iLeap International Fellows this Spring!


Donna Egge, Tom Kuiper, Nelly Fernández

Merry Christmas! from the Seattle Students and Family Services Team

In true NPH Family fashion, the six Seattle Institute students threw a Christmas party to share the season with their community of support in the Northwest.
Inviting past volunteers, mentors, staff, homestays and friends, the Seattle students planned a night of fun, games, and a delicious menu featuring tamales and pupusas, both Latin American specialties. Generously hosted at the Martinez family home in West Seattle, the night began with the traditional singing of the Posadas, inviting all of theguests to reenact Mary and Joseph’s search for a place to rest in Bethlehem. From there, the students led rotating games and activities, from cookie decorating and pin the nose on Rudolf, to floating apple-eating competitions and lime-hop relay races. And it would not have been the same without the homemade Christmas photo booth!
Everyone who gathered was able to see and feel the love, joy and generosity of the season that our NPH Family shares with us so well. Thank you to Darich, Darlyn, Ever, Farid, Maria and Yomara for preparing such a wonderful evening and sharing your traditions and Christmas spirit with us.
Donna Egge, Director of Family Services shares a message from the NPH International Family Services Team, “We wish our global NPH family a true season of Christmas, celebrating the love of family and friends, pequeños and pequeñas, staff in the offices and homes, volunteers and directors, wherever you are! We are ever grateful for each one of you and wish you the deep joy that the birth of Jesus brings to each one of our hearts.”


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Psychologist Workshop – Compassion and Care for the Mental Health of Children and Youth

At NPH Honduras this past November, the NPHI Medical Service and Family Service teams invited 14 psychologists from the NPH homes for a mental health conference.


A week of sharing, listening and learning together produced a unique sense of team spirit and unity among the psychologists. Based on a common therapeutic contract of respect for and trust in each other, all participants engaged in the exchange of ideas and therapeutic techniques.  They also learned new individual and group therapies to support those who have experienced trauma. 

Prevention of sexual abuse and suicide complemented the trauma-related work. The group was also trained to use NPH’s internal Electronic Medical Report system (EMR) and psychological protocols.

The team welcomed guest speaker Nico van Oudenhoven and his wife Rona from the International Child Development Initiatives (ICDI) organization. In his presentation about the mental health situation in Latin America, he focused in on the practical intervention for children and youth of the NPH family and community. By empowering the creativity and abilities of local protagonists, and harnessing the local culture and traditions, we are able to provide a strong antidote against the despair that can accompany mental illness. 

The psychologists appreciated Nico’s contribution. One psychologist shared, “I really like the perspective of Nico: Hope and resources approach problems from a different perspective.”

When asked to comment on the workshop, participants shared:

“I enjoyed getting to know my colleagues, learning new things and sharing knowledge and experiences!”

“I appreciate the fitness and ability of the teams from the NPH homes and the great opportunity to share and participate in this enriching exchange.”

“This workshop enabled us to clarify,  learn and to see the importance of psychological work in NPH!”

Thanks to all participants for their engagement, commitment and contribution to make this workshop a success, and for their dedication to prioritizing the mental health of our children and youth.

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Two years, Four Cohorts Later: the NPH-iLEAP partnership

The NPH-iLEAP partnership began in 2015, in the way that many friendships start – both felt understood by the other and grounded by a common outlook and mission.

NPH is about raising children within a secure and loving family, supporting local families, developing youth to become strong leaders and contribute to their communities. Our staff is the bedrock on which our everyday care is made possible. Many of our staff are also ‘hermanos mayores’ who grew up at NPH and now choose to dedicate their work to caring for their younger brothers and sisters. They have a thorough understanding of their countries’ societal needs, and we see them as the key to making a difference both now and in the future by forming this next generation of leaders.

iLEAP seeks to create a more just and equal world by ‘inspiring social leaders and igniting social change.’ They help transform emerging leaders by encouraging their confidence, creating community, and giving them the tools to become agents of change. They believe in our leaders too.

With the support of the GPD Charitable Trust, the iLEAP-NPH friendship has been able to flourish since 2015.

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Two years and four cohorts later, 40 NPH staff including hermanos mayores, have participated in the iLEAP program traveling from seven different countries. A group of nine staff members completed the program this past June and gave their final presentations on June 29th to a gathering of supporters.

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In his presentation, Edgar, the NPH Nicaragua Visitor Coordinator who grew up in the NPH Mexico home, shared, “I know that being a leader is not easy because all eyes are on us, as role models, but I am willing to do my best for my country when coming back home.”


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And Wendy who grew up at NPH Honduras and is currently finishing her language studies in university, shared “I took time to think about my life – my happiness, my sorrows and my struggles. Through this I discovered that I am stronger than I imagined.” She continued, “I make mistakes as everyone does. But from these mistakes, I can learn.”

Edgar and Wendy are just two of the nine participants who shared reflections on leadership and inspiring ideas to take back to their countries.

Congratulations to the Class of June 2017!: Marvin and Carmina from El Salvador, Ana Maria from Guatemala, Billy Jean from Haiti, Wendy and Ana Karina from Honduras, and Edgar, Celson and Jader from Nicaragua.

NPHI Family Services

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Congratulations, Seattle Graduates!

Our six NPH youth who make up the sixth cohort of the Seattle Institute graduated from the program this past Sunday! We are so proud of the class of 2016-2017: David, Jimmy, Mariela, Roxana, Samuel and Saravia.

At graduation, they each shared a special message to their crowd of supporters, carrying the common theme that this past year was full of personal growth, teamwork, reflecting on what leadership means to them, learning English, gaining new friends and family, and much, much more. It was not always easy, but they leave with beautiful memories, changed hearts and minds, unique goals for the future, and the drive to serve their younger brothers and sisters in the NPH family.

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Donna Egge, NPHI Director of Family Services, shared in her message to the graduates that the psychological, social and adaptive growth has been immeasurable among each of them this past year. She added, “Only you inside can know the depth and the profound growth in your experience here.”

It became clear through the graduates’ speeches that the relationships they formed in Seattle and the support that they felt along the way made an incredible impact on their growth.

Jimmy Garcia, graduate from NPH Nicaragua, shared his gratitude with his homestay family and community of supporters,  “Finally, I want to thank all of you kind people who supported me in my weaknesses, and the people who felt proud of me in my strengths…I definitely appreciate you all, and will carry you with me when I am home in Nicaragua.”

Jacqueline Shrader, director of the program, applauded the graduates for a meaningful, challenging and fruitful year, and thanked the community and homestay families, quoting, “It takes a village.” Donna expressed on behalf of the graduates’ crowd of supporters, “We here in Seattle and in the Northwest, we will always be your second home, or as Samuel said, ‘your family’.”

We are proud of each and every one of our students – for rising to the occasion and giving this opportunity their very best. They will return to their countries, each on a unique path in life, whether it be continuing university or working, or both, all with the desire to support their NPH family.

Father Jack Walmesley led mass prior to the graduation ceremony, and he asked the graduates to hold on to this message: “What you have learned from your host families, what you have learned in your own countries, what you have learned from one another, don’t hide it. Never hide it, never hide it. The world needs to see it.”

To learn more about our Seattle Institute program, visit this blog.

NPHI Family Services

Happy Easter! This Week in 10 Photos.

Holy Week is a special time for our little ones, youth and staff, lending to thoughtful reflection and prayer. And then comes Easter, or the “party for God”, as Martin* described so well! Read our chat with him here. It is a beautiful day in our homes! Here are a few photos we just have to share from this past week.

Can you guess which homes these are from? (Hint: there are 4 featured here.)

Have a wonderful Easter season.

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