Friends of Nutre Hogar works hand in hand with the Nutre Hogar medical facility in Santiago, Panama to help save the lives of medically at risk and severely malnourished Panamanian children. Through fundraising and capital campaigns, Friends of Nutre Hogar purchases medical supplies, facility equipment, and other much-needed items to help the Nutre Hogar care center in Santiago, Panama meet the needs of its young patients. In 2015, Friends of Nutre Hogar was awarded the Key to the City by the mayor of Santiago.
Friends of Nutre Hogar is recognized as a government-approved charitable organization (501(c)3) that is dedicated to serving the Panamanian community.
Our Mission Statement
We assist Nutre Hogar in its mission to rehabilitate malnourished Panamanian children by providing financial support, sending regular shipments of supplies, and working towards our shared goal of eradicating malnutrition by championing sustainable solutions to lessen its sprawling impact on the community.
Holly Morse is the founding director of Friends of Nutre Hogar and has been contributing to the Nutre Hogar centers since her first trip in 1999. After that initial life-changing experience, she has since traveled to Panama every year. She currently directs a summer home-stay service program for students and families interested in Spanish immersion and volunteering at Nutre Hogar. 2016 will mark her 17th trip introducing students to Panamanian culture and Nutre Hogar. She devotes much of her spare time to the associated charity of Friends of Nutre Hogar which she founded in 2008. In 2015, Holly accepted the Key to the City from the Mayor of Santiago on behalf of Friends of Nutre Hogar.
In addition, Holly teaches Spanish as a second language to both high school students at the University School of Milwaukee and adults in her community. She is married to her husband Dan and has three children. Their children Jenny, Ty, and Katie have all three been involved with both the Panama Service Project and Friends of Nutre Hogar.
Jean Plum has been a high school Spanish teacher for over thirteen years, her last eight years at the University School of Milwaukee. She also spent several years teaching English as a Second Language at a local technical college. Since the summer of 2010, Jean has joined her colleague Holly Morse for adventure and service in Panama, eager to reconnect with her second family there while continuing to touch the souls of the children at Nutre Hogar who, in turn, touch her own. Jean, along with her husband Michael, are board members of Friends of Nutre Hogar, always looking for new ways to support the children served by Nutre Hogar and the efforts of the its staff so that each day can be better than the last: "Cada dia mejor."
Jenny Morse teaches business writing at Colorado State University and conducts writing seminars around the state. She first went to Panama in 2006 where she became caught up in the ambitious project of Friends of Nutre Hogar. Since then, Jenny has worked each year to coordinate the inventory of donations and produce the annual newsletter. Having witnessed the urgency of the malnourished children in Panama and the slow culture shift that is gradually improving conditions for these children, Jenny works toward a future where Nutre Hogar and its Friends are no longer needed.
Rob fell in love with Nutre Hogar back in 2004 after his high school Spanish teacher, Holly Morse, convinced him to go on the Panama Service Project trip. Holly was right - the trip opened his eyes and changed his life. What Rob loves about Nutre Hogar is the same thing he loves about Friends of Nutre Hogar: the chance to have a tangible impact. As a board member, Rob hopes to grow the size and reach of Friends of Nutre Hogar and to increase its support base. Rob attended the University of Denver and graduated Cum Laude in Finance from the Daniels College of Business. Currently, he resides in Los Angeles where he makes his living as a professional actor and stand up comic.
Brittany Neihardt is currently in her third year at Georgetown University, though she is spending her year abroad at the University of Oxford to study international human rights law and international relations. At Georgetown, she is a Government major with a minor in Justice & Peace Studies. Brittany first went to Panama in 2011 and returned to Nutre Hogar two more times after that, each time both purchasing supplies and managing donations for the center. As a board member, Brittany sees a lot of potential to grow and expand the efforts of Friends of Nutre Hogar. In the future, she would love for Friends of Nutre Hogar to help fund the much needed building improvements for the Santiago Center.
Robert Pickart resides in Milwaukee, WI where he is the Associate Brand Manager on TIKI® Brand at Lamplight Farms, Incorporated. Robert graduated from Boston College with a degree is Marketing and Hispanic Studies. During his time at BC, Robert studied abroad in San Sebastian, Spain, in addition to having studied in Mexico and Belize. Robert has traveled to Panama three times; after his first trip, the impact of Nutre Hogar, his host family, and the entire experience left a lasting impression on his life, and caused him to return twice more and become involved with Friends of Nutre Hogar. Robert is looking forward to increasing awareness surrounding Nutre Hogar and participation in fundraising efforts in order to be able to make a significant impact on the children, families, and communities in and of which Nutre Hogar is a part.
Ryan traveled to Panama in 2004 as part of one of the first volunteer groups organized to visit Nutre Hogar. He was captivated by the Panamanian culture and the impact that such a small group of volunteers could have on so many children in need. Ryan attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., earning a B.S.B.A. in Finance and International Business, and spent five years in investment banking prior to pursuing his MBA at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He looks forward to continuing to assist in serving the needs of such an effective organization.
Greg Trinkl is currently in his second year at the University of Notre Dame and he will be spending his summer studying abroad in London. At Notre Dame, he is an accounting major in the Mendoza College of Business. Greg went to Panama in 2012 and facilitated an undergarment drive for Friends of Nutre Hogar in the same year. As a board member, Greg is dedicated to the expansion of Friends of Nutre Hogar so it can better serve the town of Santiago and surrounding indigenous communities. Everyone deserves the basic necessities of life, and Greg would love to grow Friends of Nutre Hogar in order to better provide these necessities to Panamanians in need.
Dominique Tlomak is currently in her second year at Washington University in St. Louis. She is a Cognitive Neuroscience major with additional interests in Medical Humanities, Physics and Immunology research. Dominique first became involved with Friends of Nutre Hogar after going to Panama in 2011. In the subsequent years, she has helped with organizing and purchasing medical supplies and fundraising. Looking forward, Dominique is excited to see Nutre Hogar continue to accomplish its goal of rehabilitating malnourished children and having a lasting, positive impact on the Panamanian community.
We couldn't have done it alone! There are countless indvidiuals who have contributed to this project and have helped Friends of Nutre Hogar touch so many lives in Panama. We'd like to thank a few people in particular:
Gracias a Sue Weber for all your help over the years! You have been our biggest supporter in this endeavor and we cannot thank you enough for the time and effort you've given to Friends of Nutre Hogar!
Gracias a Jeanne Kasza for your support in the early years of Friends of Nutre Hogar! You helped this project get off the ground when it was just an idea and your belief in this cause is still so appreciated!
Gracias a Carolyn Stephens and the generous community of the Northshore Presbyterian Church! Mrs. Stephens has rallied for this cause and organized for the Church to send wonderful bags packed with wishlist items!
Gracias a Michelle Mullen for your enthusiasm for Friends of Nutre Hogar! Mrs. Mullen has recently become involved with Friends and she jumped in head first. Please read her wonderful blog about her time in Panama here.
Gracias a Don Neihardt for your constant encouragement and generous donations! You have always believed in Friends of Nutre Hogar and supported our mission.
The Board of Friends of Nutre Hogar is unique in that every member has traveled to Panama to volunteer at the Nutre Hogar - Santiago center. We have all been deeply impacted by our experiences in Panama, making us extremely passionate about this cause.