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

The Easter Journey: the Next 50 Days

Dear NPH Family,

As we celebrate once again God’s amazing love for us, journeying through this past Holy Week and now this Resurrection, we are filled with hope for new life and new beginnings. The Easter season is 50 days! From now till Pentecost how do we delve deeper into the mystery of God’s love? How do we LIVE the Easter miracle, the Easter signs of hope and lived faith? HOW can we make sure these 50 days are different than any other 50 days?

NPH Honduras_2015_Religion_1We can see with new eyes! Every morning wherever we are in our NPH Global community we can use words of hope and faith and love. Of smiles and solutions, and kindness. We can feel with compassion in this year of Mercy. We can above all live in gratefulness for all we have, including our legacy of Fr. Wasson’s miracle to care for vulnerable children! To give concrete thanks for the hundreds of childcare staff and volunteers we have who care for our children. To LIVE as if Easter REALLY happened! That Resurrection is possible EVERY DAY in the lives of our children and youth, and first and foremost in ourselves. Let us challenge ourselves in these next 50 days of Easter to live as if there REALLY IS an Eastertime, filled with hope, compassion, love and mercy. Then the spirit of Pentecost will fuel us in unknown ways to continue to serve our NPH family!

“God loves EACH of us as if there were only ONE of us!” St. Augustine

Donna Egge, NPHI Board Mission Ministry Chair & Director of Family Services

*photo credit: Hunter Johnson