The 10th annual Irish Hearts for Orphans benefit dance will take place on Sun., April 7, from 2:30 to 7 at the Boston Marriott Quincy, to benefit NPH USA.
The agency, its acronym name derived from the Spanish “Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos” (In English, “Our Little Brothers and Sisters”) submitted the following about its work to benefit children:
“It isn’t where the lights are shining you want to give… it’s in the dark corners where we have to shine some light.”
This phrase came up several times in a conversation with Patrick Kelly, a quiet force in the Boston Irish community who has been a beacon of light and goodwill for so many who find themselves in dark corners. Pat was born in County Roscommon and moved to the US in 1968, where he and his wife had two daughters, Courtney and Andrea. In 2015 his life was devastated after the tragic loss of his daughter, Courtney. He immediately began to look for ways to give back in honor of her memory and shine light and hope for others. He found a unique opportunity to turn his loss into a chance to provide hope for others.
At the time of her passing, Courtney was enrolled in the Physician Assistant Studies program at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, studying to become a nurse practitioner. In Pat’s words, “…my thought after that, because I was so proud of her, was if I could find somebody else to carry the torch for her. So I decided to give a scholarship to somebody who would follow that course, do the work that I thought she would be doing.”
Pat had attended events such as the Irish Hearts for Orphans Benefit Dance hosted by NPH, a local non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of nearly 3,100 orphaned, abandoned, and disadvantaged boys and girls in Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru. Through health care, education and home environment NPH helps children to thrive and grow.
NPH also provides educational scholarships to youth who complete their studies and want to pursue a trade or university education. Working with NPH staff, Pat was able to connect with a student who was in need of support, Kenia Grisela of Honduras, and donated the funds to cover her university tuition.
Just like Courtney, Kenia is studying chemistry and pharmacy in the hopes of pursuing a career in medicine. She is currently enrolled at Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras (National Autonomous University of Honduras). Pat’s hope is that this scholarship will put Kenia in a position where she can help the people in her country.
At this year’s Irish Hearts event, we hope to secure additional university scholarships and child sponsorships. We hope that you will follow Pat’s example and help us continue to shine light into the darkest corners of the world.
We want to thank everyone who has participated over the past 10 years. Our hearts are moved beyond words and filled with hope!
Visit nphusa.org/irishhearts for more information on Irish Hearts, to learn about how you can support this event, or to register to attend.