Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A look back at 2013 for the International Volunteer Program

2013 was a great year for our International Volunteer Program. Seven new volunteers joined the NPH community in January 2013. In July, another 32 committed to serving for a year at NPH, and three served for the summer in the Dominican Republic. A total of 68 volunteers served at some point during the year. That includes those who finished service in early 2013, and those who have extended their service from previous years.

Our volunteers work long hard hours each day at NPH and show tremendous dedication to and love for the NPH family. In appreciation of their hard work, we support them as best we can.
For the first time, we hosted two “Re-Entry” retreats for volunteers who have completed their service. It’s a safe space for volunteers to reflect on the experience, share stories from their time at NPH, and process the difficult aspects of service. We hosted and facilitated weekend long retreats in Minnesota and Washington for 16 former volunteers. Kara King and Joe Cotton, both former volunteers themselves, helped plan and facilitate. We plan to host two retreats each year going forward as they were very well received!

We have dedicated funds to assist in the cost of international medical insurance starting in 2014. This should help all our volunteers purchase high quality medical insurance in case they are injured or ill while serving at NPH.
Our International Volunteer Coordinator again visited two homes to see our volunteers in action, spoil them with some homemade food and treats, and learn more about the volunteer program in each home. This helps us choose the right home for the right volunteer, as well as building important connections to our volunteers.

We again welcomed two Hightower Kloos Legacy Fund recipients in 2013 - Avriel Burlot and Amber Moore. These volunteers also received some additional support for their time in Haiti. They help us keep the memory of Ryan Kloos and Molly Hightower alive, as well as the legacy of Erin Kloos in action. We will forever mourn the loss of Molly and Ryan as we celebrate the contributions of our current Haiti volunteers. 
To learn more about our International Volunteer Program, click here! You can also meet our current volunteers here!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Highlights from 2013 at NPH USA!

2013 has been another wonderful year at NPH USA. Our family of dedicated supporters and happy, healthy children continues to grow and flourish. Thank you to all of our friends who have supported our cause to nurture this family over the year. 

Check out some highlights from each of the regions from the previous year; highlights YOU helped to make possible! 

In the Northwest region we welcomed the third annual cohort of six young leaders from NPH for a year-long program of study and leadership development. We also celebrated 25 years in the Northwest, having raised over $11 million from more than 10,000 supporters all across our region! As part of our Gala celebration, we gave Silver Circle awards to our closest and most generous supporters from the past 25 years and welcomed guest speaker, former NPH Mexico student, Aurora Zacarias. We had 10 volunteers from the Northwest who lived and served at one of the NPH homes this past year, while we also mourned the passing of key supporters, including Sr. Virginia McMonagle, who was a committed supporter of NPH in Haiti, and Fr. Lee Hightower, who sponsored 6 children in Mexico and Haiti, and left a significant legacy gift of more than $80,000 to NPH. Our Associate Board for young professionals ended its second year with a bang, raising more than $40,000 for NPH and sponsoring a variety of fun and successful events and campaigns in Seattle and Portland. To top it all off, we raised more than $1.25 million from NW supporters, the most ever and 70% more than we had raised just four years ago! We also welcomed more than 100 new sponsors in our region.

In the Southwest region we were all thrilled to have 315 new sponsorships this past year! We hosted four mission trips to Mexico and Guatemala with teens and young adults to our NPH homes abroad. We welcomed 16 children from the home in Nicaragua to the States. They performed at fiestas, liturgies and our Gala in both Arizona and California. In Arizona the children were at fiestas at Our Lady of Perpetual Help-Scottsdale and Our Lady of Perpetual Help-Glendale. The students from the Diocese of Phoenix schools participated in the 14th Annual Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos Mass and Cultural Exchange Day. The culmination of the events in Arizona was our Faces of Hope Gala that raised $175,000! For the first time, we visited Palmdale, California and were hosted by two schools in the Palmdale area where many new relationships were formed. We then moved onto to Danville, California where the community of St. Isidore’s and Father Frank’s kids hosted us for the seventh year. The children performed at a school mass, a fiesta and the weekend masses and at De La Salle High School. This year we also had several third party fundraisers where our supporters hosted events to support NPH USA, including a Crazy Hat Party, a dinner, and a Men’s Poker Night. Our first annual golf tournament was held in September and was very well attended raising $16,000 to support the children. We also continued our wonderful partnership with the Brophy school that has been sponsoring children for over a decade, and we were so pleased to welcome the new Home Director at NPH Guatemala this past year, a former Brophy student!  

Upper Midwest
2013 was a wonderful year for the Upper Midwest region. The annual Celebrando a los Ninos Gala was yet again a great success. We raised more money and had more attendees than any previous year and had a great program with fantastic speakers!  In addition, the Gala had a new $100,000 fund-a-need match that helped tremendously with our fundraising efforts. Our region's volunteer power was enormous this past year. The University of St. Thomas has many students who have made NPH USA their mission and their help and support has been phenomenal. More sponsors from the UPM were able to meet their sponsored NPH kids by joining one of the trips to our various homes this past year as well. Our region was proud to host trips to Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and El Salvador in 2013!

Throughout 2013 the Midwest Young Professionals Board, which was launched in February with a simple informational gathering, has truly flourished. Beginning with a group of just 20, fast forward to December – the YP Board now has a Chair and other leadership positions, various involved committee members, and numerous applicants for board membership consideration for 2014. Ashley Spataro, a child sponsor and capable and experienced fundraiser, has hit the ground running as the very first Midwest Young Professionals Board Chair. With her enthusiasm and leadership, the YP Board has hosted a series of networking happy hours called “Cheers for Children”, a successful bar crawl throughout Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood, a pumpkin carving party with pequeños from NPH El Salvador, and most recently a holiday gathering that raised over $5,000 in donations! 2013 was a wonderful year for Midwest child sponsorship with a total of 269 new godparents joining the NPH family – the highest number of new sponsors in one year that the Midwest has ever seen! We ran five mission trips to various NPH homes, giving several sponsors the opportunity to meet their ajihados for the first time. We also had several amazing events in the Midwest this past year. In August we gathered for our first annual Football Legends Classic, where 19 football legends, including NFL Hall of Famers and former Chicago Bears players, teamed up with our supporters for a great day of golf and fundraising making over $173,000 to support NPH! A few weeks later we hosted our annual Gala, where attendees heard the story of Merlin Antunez, one of the first pequeños at NPH Honduras, participated in raffle games and a live auction, danced the night away, and helped raise over $145,000 for the pequeños. The Gala also honored the region’s first Unsung Hero Award recipients: Chris Ambroso, Scott and Mary Lane, and Ellie O’Connor were all recognized for their contributions for the children of NPH. In October, five individuals ran the Bank of America Chicago Marathon with Team NPH USA. These dedicated individuals gave back to NPH with 26.2 miles and raised over $17,000. The year ended with 10 children from NPH El Salvador visiting Chicagoland for the annual Pequeño Tour. The children were hosted by parishioners from Holy Cross in Batavia, IL, and they visited donors and sponsors all over the Chicago area. 

The Mid-Atlantic/Northeast region would like to thank each and every one of our loyal donors, incredible sponsors, dedicated volunteers, and passionate friends who joined our team to go above and beyond for the children of NPH in 2013. We are honored and privileged to announce that our region raised $1.8 million last year in unrestricted funding to help support the basic needs of the 3,300 children in our homes! The amazing generosity of the Flatley Foundation, which made a $1 million gift, and also is matching 1:1 the more than $800,000 we raised, will bring us to an astounding total of approximately $2.6 million! In addition, our donors have helped us to obtain 140 new child sponsorships, welcome 905 new donors, and partner with Puma in donating over 700 soccer balls, cleats, sneakers, and mixed products to our homes. We also wish to send a special thank you to our new and current international volunteers who are at the NPH homes giving a year or more of their time for our children. 

2013 was an incredible year for the Southeast region. In March, we celebrated our fabulous Equestrian event, with scores of people turning up to support our special needs programs in Haiti, raising over $20,000. Our annual Faces of Hope luncheon brought together almost 300 people, with our largest child sponsorship sign up to date, numbering 25 new godparents. NPH Mexico National Director, Rafael Bermudez, spoke passionately about the impact sponsorship has on the children at our homes. NPH Haiti Pequeño, Billy Jean, brought his first-hand experience of growing up in our home in Kenscoff to a festive house party at the home of NPH USA SE Regional Board Member Tomas Hauff. Billy shared his powerful story of success and how NPH changed his life. He is now studying law in Port-au-Prince, so that he can bring legal counsel to less fortunate Haitians in his home country. World renowned Haitian photographer Carl Juste was on hand to talk about the outstanding work NPH is doing on the ground in Latin America and the Caribbean. (Check out an awesome article about it here!) The summer was smoking in Miami as we held our first collaborative yoga event with Equinox gyms, and had a packed class of yogis, raising thousands of dollars for the children of NPH. The end of the year brought a priceless gift; Fed Ex Latin America sponsored several scholarships for women studying business in Latin America. We were also listed as one of Miami’s preferred charities for the Holiday Season. Our family also got bigger, bringing on a new Regional Director, Leah Stern, and several new regional board members, Theresa Rice, Maria Shojaee, Dr. Ingrid Vesiliu Feltes, Dr. Robert Jacobson, and John Price. We are excited for 2014 when we will start the year off with a Haitian Shabbat dinner. Stay tuned for an August trip to our home in the Dominican Republic!