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.