NPH USA is dedicated to improving the lives of orphaned, disadvantaged, and abandoned children through the support of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos network of homes in Latin America and the Caribbean. NPH USA Southwest regional director Deacon James Hoyt talks about what the organization is doing to help children in these countries.
José Cárdenas: NPH USA is dedicated to improving the lives of abandoned and orphaned children by supporting the Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos homes in Latin America and the Caribbean. Joining me to talk about the NPH USA is James Hoyt, southwest regional director for NPH USA. Deacon Hoyt, thank you for joining us on "Horizonte." Pleasure to have you here, sir. Tell us about the history of the organization.
Deacon James Hoyt: The organization started around 60 years ago from -- it was founded by an Arizona native, William Wasson, who went to St. Mary's grade school and high school. He had a great desire to become a priest and ended up completing his degree at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in legal studies and was teaching law at the American University of Mexico City. He had a strong desire to become a priest. One of the monks told him to meet with a bishop in southwestern Mexico City to talk about his vocation. The bishop accepted him in. In 1953, William Wasson was ordained a priest and he was assigned to a very, very poor market parish in the center of Cuernavaca. In 1954, someone stole the poor box and so they set up a trap hoping that the thief would come again. A couple of days later, the thief came and grabbed the poor box and was caught, they dragged the thief down to jail and called for father Wasson to press charges. When Father Wasson arrived at the jail, he found a 14-year-old boy named Carlos behind bars. He asked Carlos why did you steal the money? He said he was hungry. He said why don't you go home and eat? My father is deceased, my mother's boyfriend beats me and I live on the streets. Father Wasson said that what Carlos needed someone to care for him and mentor him and asked the police if he could do that. Carlos returned to the rectory with Father Wasson. Little did father know by the end of the first month, the police would send him eight more boys.
José Cárdenas: That is how it all began.
Deacon James Hoyt: Right.
José Cárdenas: We have heard for years about father Wasson and his activities. Was he in Senora for awhile and that was where one of his orphanages was?
Deacon James Hoyt: No. He started in Cuernavaca after they outgrew the rectory and went into an abandoned brewery, and then closer to Mexico City.
José Cárdenas: How did what he started morph into NPH?
Deacon James Hoyt: There was no strategic plan. By the end of the first year they sent him 32 boys. Soon after that the family grew to over 1,000 children in Mexico.
José Cárdenas: Not just in Mexico, all over Latin America, Central America.
Deacon James Hoyt: Correct, it has expanded into Guatemala , Honduras, Haiti, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Peru, and Bolivia.
José Cárdenas: And how many kids are we talking about total?
Deacon James Hoyt: We care for over 34 hundred children that are residents in our homes in addition to that, in addition to the homeless for orphan and abandoned and disadvantaged children, we have outreach programs. Our largest ones in Haiti. With a pediatric hospital, surgical hospital, two adult hospitals, a cholera clinic and 28 street schools.
José Cárdenas: Let's talk about what NPH-USA does to support the efforts.
Deacon James Hoyt: We were founded by father Wasson's mom and dad, his brother, Bernie, and first cousin George. In response as more and more children in need were coming to father Wasson's home. Financial resources were needed to be able to support that. And father Wasson believed that it was only through a quality education that would help his children break the cycle of poverty into which they were born. Education was costly, and NPH-USA started over 50 years ago starting to meet the financial needs.
José Cárdenas: Raising moneys to help with the educational efforts. We have a web site on the screen. Before that we had the phone number. That is where people can contact the organization to donate money. (nphusa.org)
Deacon James Hoyt: Yes.
José Cárdenas: And the variety of programs. I went on the web site. Very interesting. The variety of programs that you fund is phenomenal in terms of what you do with these kids.
Deacon James Hoyt: Right. The main thing is that the children come with their brothers and sisters, siblings, to live inside of a larger family unit. And father wanted to keep the families together. In 60 years, none of the children have been adopted out. One of the things that is hard to understand, you know, people question why don't we adopt the children out? We care for the children that because of legal reasons and the lack of a death certificate or formal letter of abandonment, these children cannot be adopted out to Mexican families nor internationally. And so that was the main focus area that father Wasson was helping.
José Cárdenas: We have had some wonderful pictures on the screen of the kids you are helping. Great effort, great organization, and hopefully people will take it to heart and help the organization. Thank you for joining us.
Deacon James Hoyt: Thank you very much.
Deacon James Hoyt:Southwest Regional Director, NPH USA;