Friday, May 27, 2016

NPH has changed my life in so many different ways…

Below is a reflection written by sponsor and Mid-Atlantic/Northeast Junior Board member Gillian Garvey.
I first became involved with NPH during my middle school years at the Glen Urquhart School. We held many fundraisers and sponsored 3 children. I have always been interested in helping my community and trying to make a difference in the world. When I learned about NPH, I was very excited to help. In 8th grade, my class went on a weeklong service trip to the NPH home in the DR. The trip was absolutely eye-opening and life-changing. I had never experienced anything like it and the trip was one of the best weeks of my life. The NPH community was so different than any I had been exposed to in the Boston area.
I loved the culture and feel of NPH. There was so much love and happiness and the children were all so amazing, even though their lives have been so difficult. Although I didn’t speak Spanish very well, the kids didn’t care and would run up to me and give me a hug and hold my hand. Those expressions of affection don’t require words. They were very patient with my terrible Spanish skills and often acted out their words like a game of charades.
Leaving was the hardest part of the whole trip. There were many tears but one thing that I will always remember was the kids saying “No adiós, hasta luego”. I was so moved by the experience and so passionate while explaining the details of my trip to family and friends that my grandmother decided to sponsor one of the children. In order to extend my NPH experience, I immediately joined the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast Junior Board. As a board member, I became aware of additional opportunities to travel to NPH homes. When I saw that a trip was being scheduled over my April school vacation, I jumped at the chance. I wouldn’t have thought it could be possible, but I had an even greater experience and made many more wonderful memories. I also had numerous opportunities to spend quality time with the young girl my grandmother sponsors.
NPH has changed my life in so many different ways. I have come to realize how lucky I am to live where I do and have a family that loves me unconditionally. My NPH experiences remind me of the simple things that are most important in life, such as food, shelter, health, safety, love and happiness.

Monday, May 23, 2016

A godparent's support goes far beyond financial assistance...

This story was reported by Communications Officer Amanda Thomas at NPH Honduras.

Doctor Tuttle first heard of NPH through one of his medical students around five years ago. Doctor Tuttle had been involved with medical missions in La Ceiba, a city on the northern coast of Honduras, but the area had become too dangerous to carry on with the mission trips. When one of his student’s mentioned NPH, he set out to learn more.

When he first visited NPH Honduras, Doctor Tuttle was impressed. "The people are amazing - from the children, to the staff, to the volunteers." Doctor Tuttle now regularly visits the ranch to participate in surgical brigades, which are groups of medical professionals that spend their time and expertise to work for free at the Holy Family Surgery Center. During the brigades, surgeons, doctors, nurses and other medical professionals perform surgeries for the underserved population that live in surrounding areas.

"The patients are so grateful," says Doctor Tuttle. Doctor Tuttle wanted to stay involved with NPH, and so he returned for a second medical brigade. It was during this trip he became a "godparent." An NPH godparent is someone who sponsors a child at one of our NPH homes, develops a bond with them, receives regular updates on their academic and social progress, and exchanges letters and cards with their "godchild."

On a subsequent visit Doctor Tuttle brought his daughter and one of his sons, and each chose a child to sponsor as well. "Now I have five godchildren!" laughs Doctor Tuttle. The relationship that exists between godparents and their godchildren is a very special one. "We bring them small gifts when we visit, and they introduce us to their friends," explains Doctor Tuttle. "They also come to dinner with us while we are on the ranch during the medical brigades. The best part is just spending time together and talking."

Mabel* is the godchild that Doctor Tuttle's son Mitchell began sponsoring during a visit in 2011. Mabel's face lights up when she begins to describe her godparent. "Mitchell writes to me, and I write back," says Mabel. "I tell him how I'm doing in school, about my grades, and the events we have at the home. Mitchell encourages me to do well in school." The importance of her godparent in her life is evident.

A godparent's support goes far beyond financial assistance. Godparents often visit the ranch, attending graduation ceremonies and spending time playing and chatting with their godchildren. Letters they write to their godchildren are treasured and family photos are stuck inside lockers and albums, as our children cherish being part of a family that spans two different countries. Godparents reinforce that NPH is a family, albeit a large, noisy, tangled one, that covers a large part of the globe!

*Name changed for privacy purposes

Monday, May 9, 2016

We have been in their lives and they have been in ours...

Below is a reflection from great supporter Joe Klag on just how the children of NPH have changed his life and how supporters like him surely change their lives.

Good morning friends, I have been asked recently why my family is invested in NPH. It is my wife’s fault!!! You see she went down with the teens from our church for a couple of years. There she met children who came from life circumstances that you and I could not understand.

Two very special girls, Chave (Maria Isabel) and Marisol age 4 and 2. They are two sisters from a family of four sisters. Their mother died after Marisol was born. Their father could not or would not care for them. Thankfully, instead of being forced to live on the streets all four of them found their way to NPH (Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos). We met them and our lives have been changed.

Since then we have been in their lives and they have been in ours. We go down to see them once or twice a year. One of the great benefits of NPH is that we were encouraged to develop a relationship with the kids. They are now 10 and 12 years old and we look forward to making the trip to Mexico to see them as often as we can. I enjoy emailing them too.

The vision of Fr. Wasson when he started NPH was to take children who had been orphaned, abandoned, abused physically, sexually, psychologically and raise them all as one family. That is why we can not adopt the girls and bring them here. These children who call NPH home did not have a “family” before coming to our homes. Now they are nurtured, educated even sent to the university if they have the grades, nourished and loved. Many of these kids have experienced love in their lives only after they came to NPH.

You see, I thought it would be a great thing to go and see these kids and help them. In many ways, they have done more for me than I could ever do for them. A year ago, Chave wrote a letter to us thanking us for being in her life. She could not understand why someone from another country who didn’t know her or Marisol would come and want to be involved in her life. In that letter, she wrote how much it meant to her. Every time I come back from visiting an NPH home, I realized how I benefit from it. These kids give us more than I think we ever do for them. In their world where they have nothing, they have everything. While they are normal kids, they are given the gift of love by all their little brothers and sisters (NPH) in the home and they know they are loved and they share that love.

As Bob Goff wrote in his book, Love Does, love compels us to act. The work NPH does can happen without great people like you. If we don’t help these children, who will?