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Host families needed for exchange students


To the Editor:

What do teens like Anna from Denmark, Hameed from Yemen, Zijun from China, and Quentin from France have in common? They are about to join a group of about 350 teens from 60 countries who are coming to Michigan in August as Youth for Understanding (YFU) high school exchange students! These four boys and girls are among a group of students who will attend schools in Michigan while living with local families. Some of these students are still waiting to learn what loving American host families will select them to be their new exchange sons or daughters, and interested families are urged to call today to obtain their letters and profiles.

It takes many caring people to make their dreams come true: the host families and the volunteers who make this adventure possible. They are essential links in YFU's chain of friendship that goes back 55 years through 225,000 YFU students who have exchanged world-wide through this non-profit organization which began in Ann Arbor in the early 1950s.

Today Youth for Understanding is seeking host families for many bright, hopeful teens like these who will carry on that tradition and form lifelong connections with their host families and communities. Host families provide a place to live and three meals a day plus the encouragement, advice and love to help their new family member through a year in a new home. The students bring their own spending money and health insurance plus the willingness to be a good family member, following family rules and helping out with family responsibilities. YFU provides local representatives who mentor the students and families to make sure it's a good experience for all involved.

Host families offer a typical family living experience— not a tourist/travel opportunity. They are caring people who offer a slice of real life in America. Families come in all shapes and sizes, ethnicities and ages, with and without children of all ages. They share an interest in teens and other cultures. Some families agree to host a student for the academic year while others agree to be a welcome family who will get the student off to a good start for up to 12 weeks.

If you are interested in learning more or becoming a host family, please call 248-681-7650 or send an email to kmoran@yfu.org for more information to see if this might be right for you. You will be put in touch with a local volunteer or staff member, and you can request profiles of students with interests similar to your own. More information is available on the Youth for Understanding Web site at www.yfu-usa.org where families and volunteers can fill out an on-line application.

Kathi Moran, Field Director
July 15, 2010

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