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 NoĆ© (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