Two weeks ago, Holt staff from across the U.S. and around the world gathered in Eugene, Oregon to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Holt International. More than 35 child welfare and orphan care experts from 12 countries — including Cambodia, China, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Korea, Mongolia, Philippines, Thailand, Uganda, Vietnam, and from around the U.S. — came to share wisdom, ideas and inspiration as we continue seeking a world where every child has a loving and secure home.
It was a wonderful week, full of passion, inspiration and hope for creating a better world for children. Here are some highlights from our time together.
We had the chance to hear directly from Holt’s international country directors about the needs of vulnerable children and families in their countries, and how Holt’s programs are bringing positive change to entire communities.
Beverly Sannon, Holt’s Haiti country director, discusses how support groups for single mothers transform the lives of women and their children in Haiti.
Hang Dam, Holt’s regional director of programs in Cambodia and Vietnam, shares about Holt’s greatest achievements for children in the countries where she works.
Lydia Nyesigomwe, country representative for Holt Uganda, discusses Holt’s family strengthening work in her country.
Miruk Alemu, Holt’s deputy country director for Holt Ethiopia, shares how educational support transforms children’s lives throughout Ethiopia.
During the conference, Nancy Crouch, domestic adoption director at Holt-Sunny Ridge in Illinois, shared a presentation about open adoption. Holt-Sunny Ridge works with women experiencing unplanned pregnancy who wish to place their child domestically with an adoptive family in Illinois.
Dr. Ron Federici was our keynote speaker for the conference. He is the CEO of Care for Children International, a humanitarian aid organization that provides medical care, supplies, training and education to orphanages around the world.
Melanie Chung-Sherman, the clinical director of post-adoption services for CounselingWorks, discussed post-adoption issues faced by adoptees and their families.
Ambassador Susan Jacobs is the special advisor for children’s issues at the U.S. Department of State and it was such an honor to have her with us. Her expertise and advice was such an encouragement to Holt staff at the conference this week. In addition to her presentation about the overall state of inter-country adoption, Ambassador Jacobs took the time to answer specific questions from Holt’s international staff about child welfare and adoption practices in their respective countries.
Holt staff and partners received recognition for their excellent work in their countries. Here, DJ You, the director of the overseas programs team at Holt Children’s Services of Korea, receives an award for her dedication to orphaned and abandoned children in Korea.
The week came to a close with a gala on Thursday evening to celebrate Holt’s 60 years of history and the work that Holt continues to do all around the world. To celebrate their unique cultures, many international guests wore their country’s traditional dress.
David Kim worked with Harry Holt in the 1950s and 1960s. Greatly respected in the fields of child welfare and adoption, David continues to serve as an ambassador for Holt’s work throughout the world. As a board member and president emeritus of Holt International, David enjoys seeing Holt continue to grow and serve children. He’s grateful for his many years of working alongside our staff and partners in service of orphaned and vulnerable children and he gives glory to God for making Holt such a great organization. Here, he signs copies of his book, “Who Will Answer,” for attendees of the gala.
The Korean Central Church choir from Springfield, Oregon entertained guests as they ate and mingled.
Pictured here is Kathy Sacco, special assistant in the Office of Children’s Issues within the Bureau of Consular Affairs; Ambassador Susan Jacobs; Phil Littleton, Holt International’s president and CEO; and Kevin Wrege, executive director of the National Council for Adoption. All were speakers at the gala.
There are so many reasons to celebrate Holt’s work around the world! But as we celebrate our past, we also keep our eyes on the future — constantly finding ways to expand and better our aid to children and families. And with such an amazing and hardworking staff, from our headquarters in Eugene, to our branch offices across the U.S., to our programs in 13 countries, we confidently and diligently press onward toward our vision — a world where every child has a loving and secure home.
Brian Campbell | Multimedia Manager
Daniel Hespen | Family Recruitment Specialist
Emily Thornton | HR Specialist