My name is Suzanne Mages and I am a relatively new volunteer at the Friends of the Orphans office in St. Paul, MN. I originally got involved with Friends of the Orphans after visiting the Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos site in the Dominican Republic in July 2012, where my older sister, Kristen, has been volunteering for over a year now. This past January, I was fortunate enough to make a second visit to N.P.H, but this time, my whole family went down as well as two of friends!
Being that Michelle, my younger sister, Becca, my best friend, and I were on break from college for the entire month of January, we ventured down a week before my parents, giving us a full two weeks in the Dominican Republic. In that first week of the trip, we spent the majority of our days at N.P.H., developing friendships with kids of all ages.
Becca and me with some of the girls!
Before we knew it, the week had passed and it was time to pick up my parents and Kristen’s high school friend, Abby, from the Santo Domingo airport. We spent the first couple days after their arrival at a nearby resort, giving Kristen a chance to relax after the busyness of the holiday season. We then headed back to N.P.H., where our family of 7 (at this point we considered Becca and Abby a part of the family, with my dad calling them his “second daughters”) was warmly welcomed by the N.P.H family of over 200, uniting our two families together as one.
Our ever-expanding family!
It was so fun to watch some of our new friends perform in the program- they did a great job!
Amidst the blaring music, little Saul managed to fall asleep in Kristen’s arms!
Michelle and Dad having a grand ol’ time with some of the younger boys!
Dad and Wilson!
Mom getting her nails done by Anita.
Little did I know before leaving that this trip to the Dominican Republic would have such a great impact on me. Spending time at N.P.H. has not only brought about many new friendships and cherished memories, but it has provided me with inspiration to love more fully and be of greater service to those around me. And for that, I am forever grateful!
Family photo :)