January 28, 2010

Rotary Club Seeking Host Families for International Youth Exchange Program

MEMPHIS, MO - The Scotland County Rotary Club in Memphis is strongly considering hosting an international student for the 2010-2011 school year through Rotary International’s Youth Exchange program. Locally, the Rotary’s Youth Exchange Program would allow a student age 15 – 19 years old to spend up to one year living with a few host families in the community and attending school at Scotland County R-I.

The Scotland County Rotary Club would like to find three families, in the Scotland County School District, to host one international student during the next school year. Host families would have the student for 3 – 4 months at a time. The local Rotary Club can chose a student from one of the the following countries for next year’s exchange: Germany, Venezuala, Belgium, Brazil or Hungary.

Host families in the Youth Exchange program come in all shapes and sizes. They can be Rotarians or non-Rotarians, and may include young children, older children, or no children at all, retired people and under the appropriate circumstances, single or widowed people.

A host family is a vital part of the cultural exchange, immersing the student in a variety of activities while in the host country. The host family plays a large role in offering the student a view of another country and gains the opportunity to learn about a new culture from a young leader. Hosting is a tremendous experience in which you can share in a young person’s hopes and dreams and develop a lifelong connection with a student and family from another country. It can be challenging to help a young person transition to a new culture and ease into the surroundings but the rewards are immeasurable.

What is expected of a host family?

Hosting a student can be an extremely rewarding experience for everyone in the family, yet it is a role that requires a lot of responsibility and host families are not paid.

Before the student arrives, the host family is responsible for:

• Participate in training and orientation sessions offered by the club or Rotary district

• Establish communication with the student.

• Understand the program rules that the student must follow.

• Know how to contact key Rotarians involved in Youth Exchange and community services in case of an emergency.

During the exchange

• Provide a safe and welcoming environment for trust and friendship to develop between the student and your family.

• Support and make the student feel like a part of the family, with the same privileges and obligations.

• Gently encourage the student to learn and adopt most of the ways of your household.

• Provide room and board for the student. All students must have their own bed. If the student must share a room, it should be with a child of the same gender and similar age.

• Provide a place in the home where the student may study in private.

• Recognize the student’s birthday and other special occasions.

• Ensure the student knows how to contact family members, friends, and other support networks.

• In case of an emergency, know how to access and use the student’s travel insurance policy.

• Voice any concerns and questions regarding the student to the Rotarian host counselor, including serious homesickness, difficulty adapting to family life or school, or illness.

• Maintain close contact with the host club, and address problems and concerns quickly.

• Exercise supervisory and parental responsibility to ensure the student’s well being.

• Encourage involvement in community life by introducing the student to neighbors, friends, and local groups.

• Teach the student about the local culture, and learn about the student’s culture.

• Advise the student about matters related to school, family, community functions, and friendship.

If you are interested in serving as a host family for a Rotary International Youth Exchange student for the 2010-2011 school year, please contact Scotland County Rotary President Dick Bratton at 660-465-2559 or Harlo Donelson at 660-465-2244.

Rotary is a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders that provides humanitarian service, encourages high ethical standards in all vocations, and helps build goodwill and peace in the world.

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