Preparing for
Lives of Service

The Seattle Institute

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The Seattle Institute is a program of NPH International which began in the Fall of 2011 with a charter class of five Pequeños/as from four NPH homes. Currently, the Institute welcomes a class of six Pequeños/as each September for a 10-month personal formation and study program.

The mission of this program is to continue Father Wasson’s legacy by developing a future generation of leaders for our NPH homes. Our curriculum is based on principles of servant leadership and grounded in our NPH philosophy. The small size of the program offers the capacity to engage in challenging and rigorous personal and group work, as well as the ability to adapt to the needs of each student.

Each student lives with a host family, works with an intergenerational mentor, participates in job-shadowing experiences, and studies intense English at a local community college. Additionally, the students participate in weekly leadership courses, weekend workshops, service activities, and several longer retreats during the year. They are coached in their personal growth by the program director and others who support the program in Seattle. The participants learn about and support the fundraising efforts of the local NPH USA office in Bellevue (near Seattle), learning to tell the NPH story and share our work with donors. Projects throughout the year offer the opportunity to practice their growing skillset, reflect on mistakes, and try out new ideas. A partnership with another local nonprofit, iLEAP, provides intensive training in global leadership throughout the year.

In all we do, we keep our NPH family central. As we widen our perspectives and learn new ideas, we wonder how they could be implemented at NPH or how they may help us be a more effective leaders within NPH. We do not seek perfection, but rather a form of leadership in which the pequeños/as try new things, stumble, explore, make mistakes, learn from them, learn to receive and give feedback, and then try again. It is a style of teaching that means the program must adapt each year in order to attend to the unique needs of each participant – while at the same time holding to the core values and beliefs of the NPH family. It is a path that leads to more authentic leadership as we help each other, grow together, and work for the good of our NPH family. Each year, the students in the program leave their mark in Seattle – helping the program grow and evolve and remain focused on our vision and objectives.

Click to read Celebrating Five Years of The Seattle InstituteOur vision is to continue to grow a community of diverse, creative, well-prepared leaders for the future of our NPH family.

The work we do together throughout the year comes together in five integrated areas. By engaging in a wide-variety of learning experiences and opportunities accompanied by individual and group reflections, the participants work towards growth in the following five areas: (“TRACK”):

1. Teamwork: Leaders work together.
2. Results: Leaders take initiative to get results.
3. Self-Awareness: Leaders know who they are.
4. Communication: Leaders are listeners. Leaders are able to clearly communicate their ideas.
5. Knowledge: Leaders understand how organizations function.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor or have ideas for community involvement, please email

Host an NPH Student in Seattle This Year

NPH is looking for homestay families for our 2017-2018 Seattle Institute! You can provide a home for a university-age NPH student and have a life-changing experience along the way. Each year, six NPH students spend ten months in Seattle studying English and developing their leadership skills. And each year, local NPH supporters open their homes to welcome the NPH students into their families from September through June. Staying with a local family is a central part of the experience and learning for our students. It’s also an enriching and valuable experience for the families who participate. Click here for more information about homestay requirements. To find out more, call (425) 646-3935 or email


In more detail:

Teamwork: Leaders work together.

  • Our participants will increase their ability to collaborate with others who are different from themselves. They work to improve their relational/interpersonal skills, facilitation skills, listening skills, and problem solving skills. They learn to give and receive feedback, and to engage conflict in ways that move a group forward.
  • This goal is worked on through: mentoring, group work/projects and meetings, living with host families, support from former NPH volunteers, collaboration with NPH USA staff and boards, community gatherings, faith practices, individual leadership coaching, collaboration with iLEAP, service projects, workshops, and retreats.

Results: Leaders take initiative to get results.

  • Our participants grow in their ability to take initiative, to be creative problem-solvers, and to be agents of positive change for their communities/NPH family. They will learn to ask questions/listen, to be curious, to observe/analyze, and to claim their own power to notice and then respond to the needs and injustices they encounter. Our participants also learn how to be engaged, life-long learners.
  • This goal is worked on through: living with host families, mentoring, group projects, service projects in response to needs they see in the Seattle community during their time here, their proposals for projects within their NPH home, engagement in leaving their mark on this program, collaboration with iLEAP, goal setting practices, and individual leadership coaching.

Self-Awareness: Leaders know who they are.

  • Our participants will engage the following questions during their time in Seattle in order to grow in their self-awareness: Who am I?, Who am I becoming as a leader?, What am I uniquely gifted to offer the world?, What are my strengths, weaknesses?, What is my story, where am I from, where am I going?, How can I use my experiences for the good of others?, What am I interested in personally and professionally and how am I growing in those areas?, What do I believe about myself, my community, NPH, the world, God?, What is my cultural lens through which I see the world? (among other questions that come up in the course of their work!).
  • This goal is worked on through retreats, Healing Arts Toolkit workshops, cultural immersion, job-shadow experiences, mentoring, host family stay, individual and group reflection, giving/receiving feedback, individual presentations/study, collaboration with iLEAP, 1:1 coaching with program director, workshops, mental health care, independent study, cultural immersion, pastoral care with program chaplain, etc.

Communication: Leaders are listeners. Leaders are able to clearly communicate their ideas.

  • Our participants will learn English and inter-cultural communication skills. Additionally, they will increase their skills in public speaking, telling the NPH story, and using technology.
  • This goal is work on through workshops, collaboration with iLEAP, work with NPH-USA, individual speech coaching, courses at Seattle Central College, host family stay, mentoring, individual presentations, and group work.

Knowledge: Leaders understand how organizations function.

  • Our participants will increase their business knowledge and grow in their understanding of how NPH functions from an international perspective. They will learn about decision making, other nonprofits, financials, technology, goal setting, planning, motivation, and being inquisitive. Additionally, they will grow in their management skills, crisis intervention skills, and scheduling abilities.
  • This goal is worked on through college-level coursework, workshops, job-shadowing, mentoring, host families, collaboration with iLEAP, work with NPH USA, attendance at events/panels, Leadership Challenge book study, business site visits, and CPI training.

Some of our Seattle Institute graduates return to NPH and begin working for us immediately. Other Seattle Institute alumnae can be found pursuing university degrees in areas such as social work, international business, psychology, and education. Others are working in their communities, raising children, and finding unique and creative ways to share their love and knowledge with others wherever they are. Wherever they end up, our hope is always that they will remain part of our NPH family and live out Father Wasson’s vision of his grown children caring for future generations of children in need. At the Seattle Institute, we understand they are many ways to do that and embrace walking with our alumni as they find their unique way in this big NPH family.

The Seattle Institute is generously supported by:


Class of 2018 – 2019


Ricardo, Dominican Republic

“I am in my third year of university studying medicine. One day I would like to be a doctor in the Dominican Republic. I already have professional work experience as a professor of information technology for one year, and I also worked as the coordinator of an online program that received donations for the NPH home to cover the needs of the children. To me, leadership is finding a way to serve others and positively influence their lives. I am excited to be in the Seattle program to learn more about leadership and to improve my English.”


Moises, Guatemala

“I am in my fourth year studying clinical psychology at university. I have participated in three NPH International youth development workshops; from them I have learned to be a better person to my family, friends and in my work. Before arriving in Seattle, I worked with children with disabilities in the NPH Guatemala home. They learned a lot from me, and me from them. Now in the program I want to know myself better, learn more about leadership and learn English. All of this will help me in my future to be able to help my NPH family, my biological family, and the society that I live in.”


Fany, Honduras

“I am in my second year of university studying nursing. My experience in youth development is extensive; I began in the ‘Jóvenes en Acción’ group in Honduras, and then I went to four NPH International youth development workshops. Each one of these experiences was unforgettable; I learned to be a better person and example to the younger Pequeños. To me, strong leadership means to lead with humility, faith and with a sense of service. I want to be in the program to really know myself, learn English, leadership, service and to spend time with people from another culture and other countries. I am excited to see myself grow, learn and develop in ways that I never thought I would.”


Liamar, Nicaragua

“I am in my fourth year of university studying public accounting and finance, and will finish my studies upon returning to Nicaragua. Over two years I supported my NPH Nicaragua family taking care of my younger sisters. This year, I hope to grow personally as a leader to better serve my NPH family or our community in a positive way, and to make an impact on the lives of other people. I am excited to meet different people, get to know their culture, learn from their life experience, as well as learn English and how I can support NPH upon my return.”


Rafael, Peru

“I graduated this year from university and have my degree in Administration and International Business. One work experience that I have greatly enjoyed was taking care of the boys in the NPH Peru home because I had the opportunity to listen to them, help them through difficulties, and be a guide so that they could become good people in the future. I want to be in this program to develop my leadership abilities and to serve my community, and I am excited to learn and grow as a person and leader this year.”

DonateHow to Help

For the first four years of the program, primary funding was provided by a seed grant from a generous NPH supporter in Chicago. Starting in 2015-16, the Northwest Region of NPH USA is funding the Institute through special events and generous contributions from our donors. Here is how you can help:

  • $10,000 will provide all tuition for one of our students at Seattle Central College. You will be able to meet the student and we will provide ongoing updates on his/her progress.
  • $5,000 will cover all local transportation for the students throughout their year in Seattle. Our students take the bus everywhere – to school every day, to events and meetings, and we provide bus passes so that they may affordably and independently get around Seattle.
  • $2,500 will provide health insurance and all medical costs for one of our students this year. While they are in Seattle, we purchase health insurance for our students so that they may stay healthy and take care of pressing health concerns.
  • Become a godparent to one of our students. Older students at NPH, including our leadership students, do not have many sponsors. With a recommended donation of $50/month or more, you can give one of our students the support s/he needs.
  • Gifts of any size are welcome and will help support our important leadership development work!

Related Information:
The Seattle Institute Blog
The Seattle Institute: Celebrating Five Years
Leadership Institute Program Video
Youth Development Video
NEWS: Fundación MAPFRE Partnership Helps Develop Global Leaders, September 14, 2017

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