news from NPHI Family Services
Dear Friends and members of the NPH Family, I am proud to share with you five successful family services programs. As read on, you will hear about the joys and challenges of our work. As everybody else in NPH, we wished we could do even more but due to financial restraints, we need to focus on some areas more than on others. Working with our children, staff and volunteers continues to be a source of joy for our Family Service Team. As our Family Service team members work in the various homes, we observe with satisfaction how some of the elements and standards we’ve worked on closely with the homes (such as the integration process for new children entering the home, more programs to assist them as they leave the home, the grievance poster, the leadership groups among others) have become an integral part of the childcare services the homes provide. There are many examples how these processes and programs have a positive impact but one example stands out in my mind. Through our “Hermanos Mayores” programs we continue to reach out to the Pequeños and Pequeñas who have left our homes. It’s still hard for us to collect data on how our Hermanos Mayores are doing once they leave our homes as contact with them is intermittent and addresses and cell phone numbers change constantly. But they know where to find us. Recently, one of our Hermanos Mayores, Juan, who left over 15 years ago, visited his former home in Honduras, Rancho Santa Fe. Juan is a construction worker and a father of three children. His oldest daughter Ruth is adopted. She is also an outstanding student. Because of the current financial difficulties, Juan did not have great hopes when he asked NPH for help to pay for Ruth’s studies to become a teacher. He felt though that he had nothing to lose, since he could not afford her education from his meager income, which is just enough to feed his family. NPH Honduras contacted Juan’s former Godparent and asked if he could help. The amount needed was a bit too much for his former Padrino and his family, but they went out and recruited another family and between both families they now help Juan’s daughter Ruth to make her dream come true. This example shows how NPH remains a family beyond the time the children stay with us and it also shows, what a big difference we can make in children’s lives. I am already dreaming of the difference Ruth will be making in other children’s lives in the future. To all of you who support us through prayers, volunteer service and contributions a big thank you, from the Family Service Team and the wonderful NPH Family we serve. Sincerely,
Reinhart Koehler, Director – NPHI Family Services
Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos™ International
Donna Egge, center, with participants.
Focusing on Follow-up Leadership Development Offering support and developing the potential of current young leaders is a lofty goal for any organization! This past November we took Leadership Formation and Development to another level. We invited 10 Hermanos Mayores (adults who have grown up in our homes) who are currently serving in key staff (leadership positions) in a variety of our homes and invited them to Leadership Development Workshop. We also invited 10 other young adult Pequeños and Pequeñas who are in university and have interest and potential in serving in the NPH family. In many cases these youths are already serving in leadership roles during weekends and vacations. We had representatives from our NPH homes in Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Bolivia and Peru. Because of the support of a generous donor, who places a high value on leadership development, we were able to embark on this new adventure, always with the goal of keeping Fr. Wasson’s vision at the heart of our work. “It is my wish that my older boys and girls will always care for their younger brothers and sisters.” This workshop differs from our International Youth Development Conference, held each January. As with all our workshops, it is often the interchange and synergy of the extended family, the sharing of prayer, play and meals, even more than the content itself that offers the inspiration and motivation for participants to return to their home countries with new ideas and enthusiasm to serve their brothers and sisters! During this small, more individualized workshop, we were able to prioritize on key topics such as case studies, conflict resolution, team work, communication and evaluating staff. One activity that was extremely valuable was the opportunity to ask specific questions about leadership to key personnel. We also added a new pilot program to NPH, mentoring. This component will enable the current staff (who are hermano mayores) who participated in this workshop, to connect, set goals and receive support from an NPH International staff member on a regular basis.
Story Highlights • Follow-up Leadership for key staff who are hermanos mayores and young adult pequeño/as. • Six NPH countries participated. • Mentoring program was developed. • NPH International leaders and Friends of the Orphans leaders and supporters provided expertise.
“Leadership should be born out of the understanding of the needs of those who would be affected by it.” - Marian Anderson
We were also excited to have special guests from Friends of the Orphans US, join us to share their expertise and to observe this workshop. We continue to explore available partnerships with our dedicated supporters in the effort that our young leaders can explore global opportunities and continue to develop their potential. It is amazing to see the spirit and the passion of Fr. Wasson at work in our young leaders. With the ongoing support, encouragement, mentorship and opportunities for continued personal growth and training, the future of NPH is in capable hands. Donna Egge, Associate Director – NPHI Family Services
Miguel Venegas, center, with hermanos mayores.
The Spirit Was Present! NPH International Spiritual Formation Workshop In November of this past year, the International Family Services Team facilitated the FIRST EVER NPH INTERNATIONAL Spiritual Formation Workshop! The idea was born a few years ago, when the religion department in one of our homes, asked if it would be possible to share ideas about religion programs with departments in other NPH homes. They challenged us with the question, “if faith is at the root of our NPH family and the basis of all that we do, not to mention that we exist from the faith of our founder Fr. Wasson, shouldn’t we gather and share our programs, challenges and strengths?” We took their question to heart and looked for funds to provide a platform for sharing programs and ideas. An additional goal was to develop a curriculum guide for our religious and spiritual formation programs. We invited religion department teams from our Central American homes as well as from our flagship home, Mexico. We were energized and motivated by these dedicated catechists and priests! Other participants also included Fr. Phil Cleary, President of NPHI, Marlon Velasquez, National Director of NPH Nicaragua and third year of service Pequeño, Olmer Elvir, who has given two of his three years of service in the Religion Department of NPH Honduras. Together we shared materials, best practices, and general strategies on how to structure and better the work in our religion departments. During the week we addressed specific topics that included stages of faith development, tenets of our catholic faith, and the challenges of inspiring youth in their faith development. We clarified that it is important for our religion and faith formation programs to participate in the sexual education of our NPH family, so that our Catholic Christian values and morals are always at the forefront. We explored concepts of spiritual development as quoted here by Paul Heidebrecht, “... we cannot give our adult faith directly to our small children, because they are not yet ready for it. Spiritual development--like physical, emotional, and intellectual development-
-is a gradual process with definite stages. We can most effectively guide our children to Jesus if we understand how the stages of spiritual development work.” We also explored the shared challenges we face in working with our older youth and proposed programs and components, which would include retreats, youth ministers, pastoral care and Life Teen. In addition we have a plan to begin development of stronger programs for youth ministry in some of our homes in 2103. Understanding the developmental stage of spiritual development of teenagers, that includes a strong questioning and searching period, is difficult not only for us in NPH, but for many Christian parents to face as well.
Story Highlights • First Spiritual Formation week long workshop for sharing and collaboration. • Central American and Mexico countries participated. • Group consisted of fourteen staff including three priests. • Mission statement and curriculum guide was developed.
Our days included the celebration of mass each day, presided by either Fr. Reynaldo Galindo, NPH Honduras or Fr. Alberto Cisneros, NPH Nicaragua or by Fr. Phil Cleary. Each mass and daily prayer was prepared by different teams from our NPH homes. Through our shared worship of Eucharist, reflections, homilies, and song our bonds and dedication to our mission was greatly strengthened. Continued next page...
On the final day, their hard work concluded with a presentation of a mission statement and curriculum guide/ plan to Fr. Phil that will be used as an outline in all of our NPH Homes. This will ensure that all of our children and staff receive strong spiritual formation with both programmatic and pastoral components.
Our week was filled with amazing hard work, creativity and new insights, inspiration and dedicated participants. The week motivated us to be better shepherds for our NPH children and staff and gave fruits to higher expectations and dreams of new programs to put into practice. We look forward to the possibility of a follow up workshop in 2013 to share progress and to continue the momentum of the spirit at work! A big thank you to Fr. Phil, our special guest; and our host, NPH Honduras; as well as our service group of NPH Honduras Youth who served and supported us during our week-long workshop! Your welcome and generosity nourished us with your model of service and humility.
This mission states: We are a religion department that works in conjunction with the other departments of the NPH family which seeks to be light and hope for each of our pequeños and pequeñas, while providing a comprehensive education in the faith. We are a department that extracts the principles of our father and founder, Father William Wasson, and promotes an encounter of falling in love with God and following Christ. We strive to help raise Catholic Christians to be good members of our family and good citizens of their countries.
Donna Egge, Associate Director – NPHI Family Services
The curriculum guide included four components that must be present in a strong faith/spiritual formation program for NPH. These components include Catechism, Service, Worship and Community. Within each of these components were listed the needs of each development stage and programs that corresponded with this age.
“I hope that each day my sons and daughters grow closer to God and learn to love others so that they will also be loved.” Father Wasson
International Education Workshop On February 8th and 9th, Casa Padre Wasson hosted a two day seminar for 40 teachers of primary and secondary school from the homes in Honduras and Nicaragua. The workshop, organized by NPH International, gave the school personnel an opportunity to be ready for the imminent start of the new scholastic year. The participants followed special team building activities, training and they exchanged their past experiences, sharing their knowledge about their role in the NPH schools. Included in this group were volunteers that are part of the educational team. Honduran, Nicaraguan and volunteer teachers working together.
Besides the importance of the workshop itself, it has been a great moment to learn more about the different homes (Nicaragua and Honduras) and their teaching methods. The teachers worked together both individually and in groups, discussing their strategies and increasing their collaboration and team building skills with various activities and games. The presence of the directors was extremely important to communicate the meaning of teaching at an NPH school, and the vision of Father Wasson. Stefano Mietto Communication Officer, NPH Nicaragua
Dr. Maccoby in discussion with Pequeños/as.
Honduras hosts the 4th Annual Youth Development Workshop Eight countries come together for a week of leadership and service workshops. Nine flags hung on the posts of the middle school auditorium, dangling overhead as a colorful reminder of how far the NPH family extends. The flags of Peru, Bolivia, Haiti, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua were all present because for one week, Pequeños from each of these countries joined the Honduran family. It was the end of the fourth annual Youth Development Workshop and the participants were wrapping up their week with a cultural night for all of NPH Honduras to enjoy. One by one, groups of teenage boys and girls dressed in traditional costumes walked into the center of the room, ready to perform and show off their country’s culture through dances and skits. Honduras ended the presentation; our girls and boys dressed in blue and white, the flag’s colors, and moved their hips and feet to the beat, dancing the punta, a traditional dance originating from the Garifuna people and now popularized in Honduras. At the end of January, leaders from El Salvador (above) and Haiti eight of our nine NPH homes traveled folkfloric dancers. to Honduras to participate in a week of leadership education and team building. Every day, the 48 attendees met with each other, discussing the pillars of NPH philosophy and the values of founder, Fr. William Wasson. The goal of the Youth Development Workshop, now in its fourth year, was to better equip our kids with the ability to resolve conflicts, make decisions, work in a group and to motivate and inspire our young people to lives of service and faith. Some may have a desire to work at NPH in the future and in this way, or in their years of service, they are able to continue Father Wasson’s vision, one of older children caring for the next generation of children in need. Dennis, a 15-year-old at NPH Honduras, meets every Tuesday and Thursday with our leadership group and was excited to get to know the Pequeños from outside Rancho Santa Fe. “I got to know more about the other houses and our differences,” he says. “But by the Continued next page...
Story Highlights • 48 attendees participated in the week-long conference. • Eight NPH countries represented. • Topics discussed, resolving conflicts, making decisions and collaboration in group settings. • Goal is to inspire youths to live life of service and faith.
end, they were like my brothers and sisters.” His favorite part of the week was learning more about Fr. Wasson and hearing from Dr. Michael Maccoby, a psychoanalyst and friend of Fr. Wasson. “They are a big part of the NPH family so it was beneficial to learn more about them,” says Dennis.
Pequeños/as help with elderly during their stay.
The days were long for the young leaders; between workshops, they spent their afternoons helping out around the Ranch and each evening, they visited the children in different homes. But throughout the week, the energy from having guests from seven other countries was felt around the Ranch. It was a special week, one that NPH would like to thank all who made it possible. As a continuation of the Youth Development Workshop, the youths who participated also have the opportunity to apply for a scholarship to study both English and leadership in Seattle, Washington for a year. A wonderful and rare opportunity, this will ensure that NPH pequeños/as can continue a life of education and service. After the week had passed, 15-year-old Dennis looks back on his experience fondly. “The workshop made me a better leader because it caused me to reflect and change many things,” says Dennis. “I think it’s good because if I can help myself then I can help others.” Sally Weigel Communications Officer, NPH Honduras
All attendees of the workshop.
International Leadership Institute in Seattle Five months into our second year, we are still learning and developing the Leadership Institute in Seattle. This year’s group: Doris (El Salvador), Rodolfo (Honduras), Celson (Nicaragua), and Jacinto (Guatemala) are making good progress. It is about this time of year that we begin to see huge growth in their English capabilities, and they are beginning to give short presentations about NPH in a variety of venues. They are wonderful representatives of our family. In March, they will join Marlon Velasquez as Visit our blog at: leadershipprogram.nph.org speakers for the Northwest Faces of Hope Fundraisers. At the same time, each Pequeño/a is showing immense personal development as they learn more about service, communication, strengths/gifts, and areas for growth. They each have their own goals that they are working on with the support of their mentors and host families. This fall (September 2013), we will be able to offer places for six Pequeños/as to study in the Leadership Institute. Those applications are due by March 1st, 2013. The vision of this program is long-term. Our hope is that in the future, the graduates of this program will serve their NPH family in many ways. And, they will do so having had the preparation, growth, and transformation necessary to be servant leaders, and to serve in the ways God calls them, ways that are beyond our imagining today. Kara King, NPHI Institute Program Coordinator
Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos™ International www.nph.org • email@example.com