Thursday, June 28, 2012

Welcome Elzer!

Jose Elzer Sabillón came to NPH Honduras with his older sister at the age of four. Since graduating from university and receiving his teaching certificate, Elzer has been working hard and gaining experience teaching in Tegucigalpa. Knowing Elzer, his love and dedication to NPH and the rest of his younger brothers and sisters, he was approached to help us in two key areas; projects and visitors. 

Jose Elzer is incredibly bright and dedicated. He is fluent in English and has the unique perspective of having grown up on the Ranch at NPH Honduras. He has had the opportunity to travel, visit other NPH homes, speak at fundraising events and assist Friends' initiatives in the US. This experience, his personality and work ethic, along with his heartfelt desire to serve his NPH family, makes him uniquely qualified to take on these roles. 

As Projects and Visitor Coordinator, Elzer will help to provide visitors, offices, and the entire international community direct access, based in personal experience, to the realities of life in our home. It is our hope that this perspective will help make more tangible still, the work that we are all together striving to accomplish for our children. So please welcome Jose Elzer to his new role! We are so proud of him and grateful to have him as part of our family. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"The organization means a lot to me in that it has transformed thousands of children’s lives, and in return, they have transformed my life, too!"

Below is an article from the Featured News of Blue Cross Blue Shield Association about one of our very own Sponsors! 

Finance employee finds fulfillment in supporting disadvantaged youth 
During a visit at a neighbor's home, photos of international children taped to the refrigerator door sparked the interest of James Williamson, Finance. Deeply intrigued, Williamson peppered his neighbor with questions about the children. It turned out that the children were abandoned, disadvantaged, or orphaned, and Williamson’s neighbor sponsored them through an organization called Friends of the Orphans. Williamson was very moved. “I decided that [sponsoring] was something I wanted to do for the children in need,” he said. 

That was 12 years ago. Williamson was soon paired with nine-year-old Juan Manuel, his first “godson.” Juan Manuel, like Williamson, is deaf. Through the organization’s financial support, Juan Manuel was able to attend a private high school that specializes in educating special-needs students. 

“I had my proudest moment in 12 years by attending Juan Manuel’s graduation in Mexico last July,” Williamson said. “It was a very poignant experience.” 

Williamson currently sponsors four godsons in Mexico—Juan Manuel, Brandon, Luis and Miguel—as well as two godsons in Nicaragua, Noel and Yader. He recently began sponsoring another godson in Guatemala named Jimmy. Williamson knows conversational Spanish and is able to communicate with the children by email. Additionally, he frequently video-chats with them through a bilingual sign language interpreter. He tries to meet all his godsons in person. 

Friends of the Orphans is dedicated to improving the lives of orphaned, abandoned and disadvantaged children through the support of Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos (NPH), an international network of orphanages in nine Latin America countries and the Caribbean. (Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos translates to“Our Little Brothers and Sisters.”) Friends of the Orphans contributes to NPH through volunteering, sponsorship and fundraising efforts. Currently, more than 3,500 children live at the NPH homes. In addition, NPH’s community outreach programs assist more than 90,000 children and adults annually. NPH also has special external programs that assist over 2,000 students. Since its founding in 1954, NPH has helped over 17,000 children. 

A sponsor, recognized as a “godparent,” provides the child with financial support via monthly donations to Friends of the Orphans, as well as emotional support by establishing a personal relationship with the child. NPH provides the child a home, education, health care, food, clean water and clothing. NPH’s goal is to prepare its children to become productive and caring members of society. In return, the child is expected to give back one year of service to NPH after completing his or her high school education. For children who want to attend university, they must provide at least two years of service. NPH pays for their entire university education. 

At the end of June, Williamson plans to visit the NPH Mexico home to meet Luis and Brandon, whom he has recently begun sponsoring. Both boys are 14. “I look very much forward to it,” Williamson says. 

Williamson reflects on his 12 years of sponsorship with Friends of the Orphans and his dedication to his godsons. “The organization means a lot to me in that it has transformed thousands of children’s lives, and in return, they have transformed my life, too!” 

 James Williamson traveled to Mexico last summer to attend Juan Manual's high school graduation. Williamson calls it his "proudest moment in 12 years" of sponsorship.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Let's Read! World Book Day celebrated at NPH Dominican Republic!

This past April, El Día del Libro (World Book Day) was celebrated at our NPH Dominican Republic home. This day celebrated reading through a variety of activities that encouraged our children to enjoy reading. We reinforced this in the several weeks following with many events and programs that fostered the children's imaginations and improved their reading skills. 

Our volunteers have read stories in the park to large groups of our younger children, and they all gather around and listen intently as the volunteers share their favorite childhood stories and also read from current popular books. 

For our older children, our Activities Coordinator came up with a great competition. She asked our older children (5th grade and above) to read their favorite books and turn in a book report. In all 33 were completed and turned in. The most creative, thoughtful and informational reports won a prize, and all who participated got a small gift as well. The children are still writing book reports hoping another contest will soon be announced. 

During this time all our children also took field trips with their classes to the Santo Domingo International Book Fair. This event, located in the heart of the capital, was an excellent experience for everyone. They heard readings by popular national and international authors and had free time to explore and browse through hundreds and hundreds of books. 

We've definitely noticed in the past weeks, the children are asking their volunteers and caregivers to read to them more and more. Volunteers have also commented that their children have made vast improvements in their reading skills! 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Alicia Magdalena: A story of success!

My name is Alicia Magdalena. I am the daughter of a Salvadorian mother who fled the civil war in her country and a Mexican father who is originally from the Mexican state of Chiapas. My parents separated because of financial problems as well as problems related to illness and alcoholism. My mother found herself alone, sick, and caring for four children. 

Before my mother passed away from breast cancer, determined that her children would not be left in destitution, she met with members of her religious community. They told her about Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, a place where her children would not be separated or adopted, and where they would receive their education and, above all, she could be sure that they would receive love. 

My siblings and I came to NPH and it was true, my mother made the best decision for our lives. I was six years old when I came to NPH, and I still remember the warm welcome I received from Yolanda, director for the girls, and her big smile. All of the love and support that I received helped strengthen my perseverance to succeed. 

I graduated from high school with honors, which helped me to earn a full scholarship to the prestigious University of Monterrey (UDEM) in Monterrey, Mexico. I earned my bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance. Not only did I enjoy my classes and had great professors, but it was also a time when I was able to grow personally. I participated in mission trips to serve the poor of Mexico, and I did social service work as a high school teacher in a school for children from families with few resources. I also spent a semester as an exchange student in Arizona in the United States, where I studied international accounting laws and helped fundraise for NPH with Friends of the Orphans. 

Today I work as a business risk accountant at an important financial consulting firm in Monterrey. I am grateful for how blessed I have been and before continuing on my career path in finance, I want to help give back part of all that I was given. I have the opportunity to help at NPFS in Haiti and work on projects that they are developing there. I will always be thankful for the love and support I received!