Tuesday, December 17, 2013


After visiting their godchild at NPH El Salvador, great supporters Jan and Stu shared about their experience.

We had an outstanding and a life-changing experience. What they are doing at NPH in El Salvador is the handiwork of God. We met our godchild and got to be there for her Quinceañera, the 15 year old coming out party. We played with the little ones, had dinner with the University students, toured some of the country. Being with the group was great also, and spending time with Chuck and Frank (NPH USA staff). We plan on going again next year! We are also starting to plan an event for St. Thomas the Apostle some time in January or February. God Bless, Jan & Stu

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I will never be whole again as part of me remains at Rancho Santa Fe...

The below post is written by wonderful friend and supporter, Jenna Bishop, who recently visited NPH Honduras. 

I'm not sure how a single trip can simultaneously blow my mind and break my heart, but my recent trip to Honduras accomplished just that. Traveling to NPH Honduras was eye-opening, challenging, incredible, and unforgettable. I will never be whole again as part of me remains at Rancho Santa Fe... 

Though I wouldn't call it a "vacation" (unless you traditionally spend part of vacation in a henhouse or shoveling bunny turds), I can say without a doubt that it was a meaningful getaway. Away from some modern luxuries, I discovered a different pace of life, was given new opportunities to experience joy, and witnessed what hard work really looks like. The staff did [and continues to do] so much with relatively so little, and yet they are raising beautifully strong children on a daily basis. Their overall work ethic was humbling to say the least, and the sense of family/community present on the ranch was equally awe-inspiring. NPH's dedication and commitment to children is almost tangible; what a gift that I was able to see it firsthand.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Meeting Father Rick Frechette

Below is a post from Cheyenne, a student from Random Everglades School in South Florida.
(Cheyenne is pictured second over from the left.)

The man, the myth, the living legend, Father Rick Frechette, had been a mystery man for months. At the end of my junior year, me and a group of friends decided that we truly wanted to make an impact in our community. Our goal was to convince our school, Ransom Everglades School, to launch a school-wide global initiative. We planned to do this by adopting an orphanage located in Kenscoff, Haiti. The global initiative is about more than providing supplies collected during a drive or check sent from funds raised at bake sales - it is about a sustainable partnership between Ransom Everglades School and St. Helene orphanage and providing resources through campus-wide engagement. The final step in establishing the Ransom Everglades Haiti Initiative proved to be the most difficult; meeting the man who runs the St. Helene orphanage we planned to adopt, Father Rick.

When I first came in contact with Father Rick through email he expressed his gratitude but explained that traveling for him was difficult and often short noticed. I quickly realized that Father Rick did not just run the orphanage he also got his hands dirty with the daily mundane tasks of the orphanage. Although I wanted to meet with Father Rick and discuss the Haiti Initiative in detail that meant pulling him away from the children I wanted to help. We proceeded with the hopes of meeting him down the line.

Ransom Everglades School launched its first initiative and was able to raise over 750 sheets between both the lower and upper campuses. It was shortly after the first container of sheets shipped that I received an email from Father Rick stating that he planned to be in Miami. I was more than thrilled about the possibility of meeting the man I had only been able to view on video. On December 3rd, I had the pleasure of meeting Father Rick. During his school-wide address he stated that the difference between the children in Haiti and the students at Ransom Everglades was simply the structures of our lives were different. Father Rick, in less than 10 words, shed light on the need for our initiative.

One of the main principals of the Ransom Everglades School is to give to the community more than you have received from it. St. Helene and Ransom Everglades Schools are hundreds of miles apart and we share a similar commitment to community. Just as Ransom alum often come full circle to give back to the institution that gave them so much, children from St. Helene often return to the orphanage to help and contribute to the program that gave them so much.

Having the opportunity to meet Father Rick was truly remarkable. Father Rick has such a passion for his life’s work. Even in the face of disaster and peril, his spirit is one of resilience. His visit today has inspired me and the other members of the Haiti Initiative Committee to do the work that Father Rick so desperately needs help with. This marks the beginning of true sustainable partnership between Ransom Everglades and Father Rick that will contribute to his amazing legacy.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Global Grandmothers Supports NPH USA!

Below is a wonderful letter from our friends over at Global Grandmothers letting their members know about our work. Check it out! Thank you for the support GG!

Dear Friend,

Today we want to introduce you to NPH USA, the newest GG-recommended charity. NPH USA, previously called Friends of the Orphans, supports the programs of Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos (NPH). We think you'll agree that supporting NPH USA is a perfect way to get Thanksgiving off to a running start.

Keep Their Hope Alive

Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos (Our Little Brothers and Sisters) provides a home for 3,342 abandoned and disadvantaged children in 9 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean - Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru.

Each home has a clinic, a school, a workshop (carpentry or welding), and a garden. Since its beginning in 1954, NPH has raised more than 17,000 children. Miguel Venegas, raised at NPH Mexico, is now Executive Director of NPH International.

We were especially drawn to NPH USA because: 
NPH instills the values of caring and sharing so that the children give back to their communities when they are grown. All children raised in NPH homes give a year of service back to the home when they graduate from high school or higher education. 
NPH encourages child sponsorship and organizes donor trips so sponsors can meet their sponsored children and visit the homes. This seems like a wonderful opportunity for linked giving with a grandchild - with the future possibility of visiting the child whom you had sponsored together. Click here to see how you and your grandchild can sponsor an NPH child.

Transform a child's life through sponsorship

When the GG Board met earlier this year for our annual review of charities, we thought NPH USA was a great choice for Global Grandmothers. Like all GG-recommended charities, NPH USA has earned a Charity Navigator 4-star rating, in addition to meeting other criteria.

Thank you for joining us to make the world a better place for kids!

Diana McDonough President Global Grandmothers

Monday, November 11, 2013

It has been a joy from the very beginning...

Below is a blog post by great supporter and godparent, Marcy Diehl, reflecting on some of the wonderful pequenos at NPH.

It has been a joy from the very beginning when I first began my relationship with little 10-year-old Dokendia at NPFS Haiti. The communication we share is truly special and even receiving her report card is fun. I try to write about 4 times a year. (I understand that the children really enjoy getting mail -- don't we all? - - so that has spurred me on!) I always remember to pick up lots of stickers and other bright flat objects to send off to her when I write, and they meet with much approval. I sent her pictures of my little dog and me once, and she was pleased about that as well. You have to be a big person to enjoy a picture of a little old lady and her tiny dog!

It was a real pleasure to meet Ronel, another pequeno, in San Diego last year. I think we provided him with his first public speaking engagement, but he was so poised that one would think he was a seasoned fundraiser! I did not think of him as a "fundraiser" but he turned into one because the audience could see where their donations were going and how successful they really were. He is so unassuming for all of his accomplishments, and it was a surprise to discover that he is a very talented artist along with being a medical student and just 30 years old! 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Shirts for NPH USA!

Alex Peck is a great supporter of NPH USA who has a strong passion for NPH Guatemala. Read more about the special way he's helping the children in our homes! 

My name is Alex Peck, owner and designer of clothing line called Peace Action Apparel, which helps raise money for deserving organizations around the world. When my older sister volunteered to move to Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH) Guatemala location for a year I knew it was a special cause. Since my first visit, I was inspired to lead a project to support and spread the word of NPH.

I wanted the designs to be as organic as possible and therefore chose to use hand drawn sketches done by NPH community members themselves. In May 2013, the orphanage held a design contest in which two were chosen from hundreds of drawings to be used for the front designs. On the back is the official NPH logo of founder Fr. William Wasson holding hands with children of the community.

By purchasing a shirt, you donate all proceeds to the organization. But above all, when you choose to wear the shirt, you are potentially sparking the interest of others who may be willing to donate, volunteer, and even sponsor a child directly benefiting these children’s lives and allowing for a bright and inspiring future.

Artists: Diana Elizabeth Sánchez Camargo, Cesar Geovany Gonzalez Arriaza 
Fabric: 50% Polyester, 25% Cotton, 25% Rayon

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Creative Writing Contest at NPH Honduras

Every year NPH Honduras celebrates the anniversary of Padre Wasson's passing with a special Mass followed by a weekend of celebration. This time of year is a special one as it encourages many at NPH Honduras to reflect about their home and the founder who made it possible. This year volunteer tutor and music teacher Douglas Orofino organized a creative writing contest to showcase the children's talents, and help them further reflect on what they value most about NPH. The following are three winning poems and stories from the contest, which due to their creativity and description, stood out among the rest.

"My Home" by Estefano, 10
From the prettiest rose, from the aroma that gives life, NPH gives life like a caring mother. A mother that treats each child with much love and care and who does not follow the wrong path, but walks to God as their end. Even though I was not born here this is my home because in all of my time here, I grew thankful to NPH for its grand love. When the moon goes away, the sun shines and there is something that only the Ranch has: security, love, and respect. And in addition, nourishment.

"NPH, my home" by Marleny, 11
Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos is my family and my refuge. Here they have given me love. For me, NPH is a change in my life. I want to thank my teachers, caregivers, and directors for creating a special life for me. Because of them, I am in this beautiful and kind home. Thanks to Padre Wasson, NPH is a family of many children where we have a beautiful heart full of happiness. I have grown in this loving family.
Love is a value that Padre Wasson always practiced. Padre Wasson loved every one of his children equally. He always had a thought that I know I will never forget, “I want my children to come to God by serving and loving others.” He also said, "Don't treat me like a stepfather. I want you to treat me like a real dad." At the end of this thought he invited us to imitate this idea and message of peace and glory that he sends to his sons and daughters.

"My inspiration, my home, NPH" by Viviana, 9
Of all that the Ranch has given me, what am I grateful for most? I am grateful for a nice school and a home to live. In school, I learn to write, read, subtract, add and multiply but as well, I am grateful for a home that they have given me NPH. I’m grateful because it feeds me and gives me strength to live well in my home and school.
When I lived outside NPH, I was sad because my mother and father did not take care of me well. They had to work every day, and then one night they brought me to a family called NPH. When I came I was with the youngest girls, which I liked because they cared for me well.
I remember when I arrived at NPH. I was young, but one day I grew up and passed to a new home with the girls. In this house, we are friends and play together all the time with games. They teach me to finish my homework and do it quickly!
I want to thank NPH for the things that have given me like shoes, socks, clothes, food. Especially, I want to thank Father Wasson for a house that he gave us to live in peace with my friends. I am grateful to God as well for the days that he has given me. For this, I always pray in church or in the morning, afternoon and night. Thanks to God and Padre Wasson, we can live in happiness and harmony. Thank you Padre Wasson!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

International Volunteer Update from Amber Moore!

I cannot believe two months have already passed since I have been here. At the same time, I feel like I have been here much longer. School started up here in Kenscoff so the orphanage is much busier now and everyone is on a schedule. I work with two local teachers in the special needs classroom which is called L’arche de Noé (Noah’s ark). Its name comes from the fact there is a beautiful mural of Noah’s Ark right on the outside of the building that a previous volunteer painted.

Each month we have a teacher training down in Tabarre with all the teachers from the special needs school at Kay St. Germaine. We learn about the different disabilities that affect our students and methods to teach and engage them. We practice teaching lessons in front of each other and learn about creative ways to incorporate art into the day. There are themes for every month and for October we were will be focusing on water and geography!
Last month’s theme was tout bagay sou mwen (everything about me) and we had fun doing activities on the kid’s names, where they live, how old they are and what are their favorite foods, clothes and games. We do cooking with the older girls each week and try to incorporate many other life skills into the lessons.
A big part of my time here so far has included learning creole and getting adjusted to the culture. I have begun to speak the language more fluidly and feel more comfortable in daily Haitian life. I still have many blank stares and miscommunications but I am gaining confidence. Building relationships has also been a big part of the last couple of months. I have absolutely loved getting to know all the kids in Kay Christine as well as the other kids in the orphanage. During the weekends I have been playing sports or going on hikes with the kids. Overall the transition has been fairly smooth and things that at first seemed foreign are becoming more and more familiar to me. I thoroughly enjoy getting to spend so much time with the kids and am constantly learning new things about life here. I also have days that are challenging too, but I would not trade them to be anywhere else.

Thank you so much for helping with this great opportunity! I am excited about the next several months and how we can make this job in the long run help NPFS more.

Amber is one of the 2013 award recipients of the Hightower Kloos Legacy Fund. Learn more about the fund here!

International Volunteer Update from Avriel Burlot!

I’ve been in Haiti for exactly a month and what a month it has been. I feel really lucky that I was able to visit Haiti several times during my two years in the Dominican Republic because the adjustment period now was much easier than I expected. So far I have really enjoyed the job and the transition period is nearing its end so Denso and I can find a set routine very soon. However, in addition to the work, I have been keeping very busy too, getting to know all of the programs, children and really get my bearings in Haiti.

The Communications Team has been good so far. I am working closely with Denso as he transitions into the full-time Communications Officer. I know he will do a great job because he is organized and extremely motivated. However, I see where I am of use in creating a new structure and system as to how the job is done. Since I arrived, I have met everyone that you might have contact with as the Communications Officer. We have responded to many requests and emails together and even began developing several stories. Also, I have been able to take many pictures, which is probably one of the best parts of the job. Denso’s motivation to do the job well only enhances my motivation to be the bet support to him as possible.

Outside of the job I have been spending as much time as possible with the kids. I have been doing somewhat of a rotation in Tabbare between St. Damien, FWAL and Don Bosco. This has been great for my Creole as well as building trust and a relationship with the children. Also, any chance I get to go up to Kenscoff I take because one of the main objectives of the job is to put Kay Elen a bit more in the spotlight, not to mention the kids up there are the best. Great things are happening all around NPFS and I am just happy to be a part of it.

Thank you so much for helping with this great opportunity! I am excited about the next several months and how we can make this job in the long run help NPFS more.

Avriel is an award recipient of the 2013 Hightower Kloos Legacy Fund, which you can learn more about here!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Inspiring One Family's Legacy

On May 7, 2013, NPH lost a dear friend to all of our children. Fr. O. L. (Lee) Hightower was a longtime friend and supporter of NPH for more than 20 years. He was an intelligent and caring person and pastor, who received both a Masters (in Linguistics) and Doctorate (in Philosophy and Theology). He was an accomplished teacher and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the army as a military chaplain. Fr. Lee also served as pastor of St. John Bosco Church in Lakewood, Washington for ten years and recently celebrated 50 years as a priest. Through the years, Fr. Lee supported many of our children as a godparent, most recently sponsoring 3 children in Mexico and 3 in Haiti. In addition, Fr. Lee helped his family start a longtime connection to NPH that has grown through the years. His niece Christina spent a year volunteering at our home in Honduras, and his nephew Craig (who later became a Jesuit priest and active ambassador of NPH) volunteered as our school principal in Haiti. Fr. Lee was even able to travel to visit the home in Haiti in 1993. Most recently, Fr. Lee’s great-niece Molly was a volunteer working with children with disabilities and special needs in Haiti, when she was killed during the 2010 earthquake. Many of Fr. Lee’s family members, including his brother, his nieces and nephews, and his great-nieces and nephews have continued the Hightower family’s commitment and generosity toward NPH and our children. After his death, NPH learned that Fr. Lee had included NPH in his will, and we recently received his contribution of more than $80,000! Fr. Lee’s ongoing sponsorship of our children and his generous legacy gift is a profound example of what one person can do to transform the lives of children in need. Because of his support, hundreds of children who have been orphaned or abandoned have been fed, clothed, and received the health care and education they needed to become healthy, happy, and successful in life. We are so grateful to Fr. Lee and the rest of the Hightower family for their friendship, love and support through the years.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Photo Update from NPH El Salvador!

Wonderful volunteer, Ashley (pictured on the left in the first picture below), is spending a year helping out and smiling with the children at NPH El Salvador. Ashley has snapped some amazing shots in her time there. Check them out!


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Billy Jean In Miami

On August 27th, NPH USA Raised over $10,000 for scholarships for college students at NPH Haiti. Billy Jean, a recipient, spoke about how he plans on using his education to give back to his country by providing free legal counsel to underprivileged Haitians. He has been volunteering for two years at the home where he was raised since two years of age and is helping NPH USA raise the money it needs to enable the 600 children currently at the home in Haiti the opportunity to go to college just as he did. The event also featured the photography of award-winning Haitian-born photojournalist Carl Philippe Juste, whose politically active family was forced to flee its homeland in 1965. Settling in Miami, Carl has served the Haitian community since 1991 through his work at the Miami Herald capturing the struggles of Haitians in the United States, the Caribbean and Latin America. Carl’s father, Viter Juste, who recently passed away at the age of 87, was the founder and creator of Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood. 

Child Sponsorship table materials at the home of NPH USA Board Member Tomas Hauff 

From left to right: Guest 1 – Vivi Santisteban Guest 2 – Jaime Escandon Guest 3 – Marisa Chauvet 

From left to right: Guest 1 – Lourdes Martinez Guest 2 – Alfredo Benetiz Guest 3 – Monica Ledanzo 

From left to right: Guest 1- Sherman Humphrey Guest 2 – Daniela Humphrey Guest 3- Kristina Fueyo – Child Sponsorship Manager 

Bacardi, an NPH USA corporate sponsor 

From left to right: Guest 1- Theresa Rice – Board Member Guest 2 – Agueda Pol Guest 3 – Guillermo Pol 

Left to right:  Guest 1 – Tomas Hauff – Board Member and Host Guest 2 – Leah Stern – Regional Director Guest 3 – Gloria Burns Guest 4 – William Burdette 

Left to right: Guest 1 -  Kristina Fueyo – Child Sponsorship manager Guest 2 – Charles Webber & Guest 

From left to right: Guest 1 – Art Massolo – Chair of SE Regional Board for NPH USA Guest 2 – Kristina Fueyo – Regional Manager of Child Sponsorship Guest 3 – Leah Stern – Regional Director 

Left to right: Guest 1 – Maritza Jacobson Guest 2 – Rocio Pellerano – Vice Consul at General Consulate of the Dominican Republic, Miami Guest 3 –Ana Oliveira 

Artist Carl Juste with William Burdette who purchased --- "Legacy" shot in Havana, Cuba in 1996: What was once a prestigious private school for the elite now houses a state run day care for infants and toddlers. Toddlers take a look at the outside world through the vintage ironwork of the old and decaying building. 

Billy Jean takes a comedic respite following an emotional speech 

Guests sit outside of Pinecrest Estate listen as Billy Jean delivers an empowering speech about how NPH has saved his life and given hope to thousands of children in Haiti and in Central America, South America and the Caribbean. 

Carl Juste with one of his most famous pieces in the background, “The Mask” and holding “I am a Man,” shot in Memphis, TN. 

Artist Carl Juste with CJ and Madelyn Occhipinti who purchased --- "Leg Up" shot in Port-au-Prince Haiti, 2010: The Athletic Soccer player Wilfred Macena, 25, does a hand stand in jubilation after learning how to walk and kick a soccer ball again using his new prosthetic leg after several hours of being fitted. Guest 1 – Madelyn Occhipinti Guest 2 – Carl Juste Guest 3 – CJ Occhipiniti – Board Member 

From Left to right:  Guest 1 – Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes – Board Member Guest 2 – Edison Sabala Guest 3 – Frank Donaghue – CEO of NPH USA Guest 4 – Olti Mollaymeri Guest 5 – Stephanie Hirschenson Guest 6 – Shawn Rosen - Holtzman

Monday, September 16, 2013

Visiting Guatemala

Below is an excerpt from a blog post created by ABDO Sphere, who interviewed one of their employees, Grace, an NPH USA Godparent who recently visited NPH Guatemala!

ABDO: What was the best part of this trip? Would you go again if given the opportunity? 

It’s hard to choose a best part! The overall experience was awesome and enlightening. I can’t say that it completely changed me at my core, but it did give me a new perspective. The trip made me thankful for what I have, but at the same time, “things” don’t have the same value anymore. With any experience like this, you’ll learn that being with the people you love, enjoying the outdoors, and trying something new are important. I would go back in a heartbeat, and I hope to next year.

Read the full blog post on ABDO's site here!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

An open letter to a special pequeño ...

Taylor Costas recently had the opportunity to travel to NPH Guatemala and meet her godchild.  She had a wonderful visit!  After spending one week getting to know her godchild, Taylor wrote him the following letter.  See what Taylor wrote to her godchild!

My dear, darling Clemente,

It was my ENORMOUS pleasure to spend a week with you at your home at NPH Guatemala. I consider myself blessed to have such an intelligent, hardworking, and most of all kind godchild in my life and to have been able to see where you live, play, and learn every day. Already I miss you deeply, but I look forward to writing you many more of these letters (they won’t all be posted online, I promise) and to having the privilege of seeing you grow up to do wonderful things. But for now, Clemente, would you mind if I share a bit of what we did with our friends on the NPH blog? I hope you will not be embarrassed… It is only because I am bursting to tell everyone of our time together.

I knew I loved you long before I met you. Four months, to be exact. My friends ventured to NPH Guatemala this past spring and chose you to be my ahijado and me, they hoped, your madrina. From your broad smile and bright eyes in the pictures they brought home, I imagined what your laughter would sound like. What I could not have predicted was the warmth with which you would welcome me, the patience with which you would greet my non-existent Spanish skills, or the trust you would offer as willingly as you would place your hand in mine. I guessed (correctly) that you would love whoopee cushions and Hot Wheels cars… but I could never have known that you would share them so freely and gracefully at your young age. (Difficult as it may be to imagine, children where I come from are not always so generous.) I looked forward to meeting your friends… but I could never have dreamed that Kevin, Damián, and Brando would be such funny or such caring “brothers” for you. And while I knew you’d be getting a top-notch education, I could never have foreseen that you would be so clever and responsible. I may be biased, Clemente, but I am impressed. It isn’t hard to see that you have won my heart, and even more quickly and completely than I ever knew possible. I’m so grateful to NPH for welcoming me into the family, and to you for sharing your world with me.

Until next time…

All my love ~ Taylor

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I felt so blessed to be a part of this trip...

Below is a testimonial from Teresa Turner who recently visited the NPH home in Mexico with her friends who are godparents to children there. Check out what she had to say about her visit!

In July, I traveled to Cuernavaca with my friend Emma, her family and a small group of other Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos supporters. Emma had told me about the great work done by NPH and I was anxious to gain my own perspective. We planned a short trip, Wednesday to Sunday. But we timed the trip so as to be in Mexico to attend the school graduations. 

The graduations took place on Friday. On Thursday we were able to visit the home in Miacatlan where the children live as well as go to school. Walking into the grounds of the NPH home we met children who knew no strangers, only friends. These children were so happy to have visitors and made us feel welcome in their home. Emma, who had been to the home previously, gave me a tour around the grounds so that I could see where the children slept, went to school, ate, and played. Throughout the tour there were children hard at work completing their chores in anticipation of graduation day. Their attitude was positive and inspiring. I was left with the impression that they were part of one big united family. It was a very different scene than the one that I had pictured. I had incorrectly thought that children separated from their parents could not live a happy life. However, I saw a place where a solid community was founded and consequently a loving environment was provided to these children. 

Friday, we eagerly bused back out to Miacatlan in the morning for the graduation ceremony. The graduation day was wonderful. We sat outside on concrete bleachers that overlooked a sport court. The decorations were perfectly festive. I felt honored as I sat there amongst so many proud parents, supporters, and friends of the gorgeous children graduating. We watched and cheered as the Kindergarten, 6th grade and 9th graders preformed a graduation dance in beautiful authentic Mexican wear. It was a very emotional day for most of the children as they were called individually to accept their diploma from the head of school and each child had their picture taken. One could see from the expressions on the faces of these children’s how special they felt at that moment. The staff and supporters of NPH made this an unforgettable day for these children. 

After the graduation ceremony we preceded to the chapel where mass was celebrated. The mass was beautiful with the children’s choir offering enthusiastic songs. After mass we all shared a meal together and we were again made to feel as though we were part of their family. I felt so blessed to be a part of this trip. I went on the trip thinking I would be seeing things like a tourist but I came away realizing that these children need much more than that from us, they need loving friends. The distance between us is not as great as it may appear on a map.