Below is a speech by Saravia, a young woman from NPH Honduras who is currently in the Seattle Leadership Institute and is goddaughter to our Northwest Regional Director, Katie Hultquist! Saravia gave this speech recently at a friend and fundraising event in Portland! Check it out!
Hi everyone! My name is Saravia and I am from Honduras. I want to tell you a little bit about my experience with NPH.
When I was 8 years old, my mom died. Bad…. YES. But it really had no effect on me. She had not been in the picture in years, because she had gone to the United States. In the U.S. she had another daughter, and only returned to see me and my sister a few times each year. My Father was not around either, at least not yet, not until I turned 16.
I was raised by my stepfather, then my aunt Emoly. When Emoly died, my grandmother came down from the United States to take care of me, my sister Maria and 2 cousins, Allan and Johana.
Eventually, my grandmother returned to the United States to take care of my younger sister.
Now, all my family lives in the US, except for the 4 of us.
After my grandmother left, the government stepped in and placed us in NPH.
I was 12 at the time.
NPH…, Not my family.
At first, NPH looked like a place to take advantage of. Anything and everything I could put to my use was for me.
However, this attitude I had eventually drove me to escape. This place was way too confining, too many rules. So I finally… ran away.
Lucky for me my father took me in for a couple months. I did anything and everything I wanted. No rules. That is what I thought I wanted.
Now I was truly on my own, and I thought this was good – being free. No studying, No responsibilities. Awesome.
But the reality was different. Sometimes freedom meant danger, and sometimes it meant there was no direction and no opportunity.
One day I woke up and I asked myself, what am I doing with my life? Is this it?
No, I needed more.
I wanted more.
Those 4 years being at NPH DID change me.
I’ve seen what you can achieve.
There is a lot more to life.
I picked up the phone and called a social worker at NPH.
They told me I could return to NPH if I spoke with the directors of the house. Not just the National Director of Honduras, but also the directors of all the boys’ and girls’ houses.
Lucky for me, they took me back.
I am thankful that I had the guts to call that social worker and ask to come back.
From that day forward, I changed.
I started attending leadership meetings. My house, Hijas del Pilar, ended up choosing me to represent them at these meetings.
But…, it’s not the way you would think.
I was chosen because I represented something different.
I had run away.
I was a taker.
I was a negative leader.
Now there’s a term for you, a negative leader.
How did I feel about this?
At first I was disappointed. Then I realized this was the person all my brothers and sisters knew.
They did not know the NEW… me. They could not relate to me, but I would let them know through my actions and my words that I had changed.
That I was one of them.
That I belonged.
That this was my family and my home.
Sure, I had my biological family, but now NPH was my family also.
The leadership group changed me.
I started to look at life differently.
I began to take on more responsibilities.
I became aware of the role I play in NPH and in our greater society.
I never could have dreamed it would happen, but I graduated from high school.
This is one of the greatest celebrations of my life.
I felt proud.
Everyone I cared for was there to see it.
My future was looking up.
Maria Teresa, my sister, got her High school degree and moved out of NPH. My two cousins left NPH and started their own family.
Only myself still in NPH.
After seeing what happened with my sister and cousins, both leaving NPH, I was going to stay with NPH.
I could see that people who leave often don’t realize their own potential.
I realized what I wanted, where I want to go, and NPH would help me with that journey.
When I finish my year here in Seattle, I plan to move onto my next dream, university and an advanced degree. My interests are criminology, electrical engineering or even going to Haiti to learn about disaster relief. Right now, I can’t decide so I’ll just figure it out next year when I go home.
In addition, I want to find a way to return my services to NPH.
I have been blessed with the opportunity of a lifetime, maybe even 2 lifetimes… given my situation. The understanding and willingness shown to me only reinforces in me the NPH way.
To all of you, from me,
and on behalf of my fellow leadership students and all my brothers and sisters in NPH,
thank you for your support.
You make all this possible.
If you have any questions, feel free to talk with me or one of the leadership students.
We would love to answer any questions for you.