For Host Family Appreciation Week, we reached out to our Local Coordinators and asked them what host families mean to them, and why host families make such a difference in their communities. Here’s what Susan Greenhorn, from Iowa had to say:
How long have you been a Local Coordinator?
4 years next month!
How do you recruit your host families?
Last year, all but 2 of my families were through Facebook. This year it has been repeat or word of mouth.
What do you like most about working with our host families?
I love just visiting with them and learning about their interests, hobbies and simply laughing with them!
What do you appreciate most about our host families?
They try so hard to provide the best experience for my kids. In the process, they allow themselves to learn as well.
How has working as an LC/working with HFs changed your community or your views on the world?
I view world issues with a different mindset. Host parents are the true heroes in the story. Yes, the kids travel thousands of miles away from everything they know but the host parents are inviting a complete stranger to come live in their home. They provide meals for kids that they don't even know what they like or dislike. They provide a room to someone whom they don't know their decorating style. They provide transportation to practices, games, events concerts and everything else that the kids get involved with. They rearrange vacation schedules, work schedules, family outings in order to be able to include the student. They take the time to sit down and learn about another country very far away. I am in awe of our host families! We need more people in the world like our CIEE host families!
Anything else you would like to share?
We have been a host family for 7 years. This year we are hosting our 16th and 17th student. No two students are alike even if they share the same country or culture. In each experience, we learn more about ourselves and the other countries and the self-evaluation helps to make our family more accepting of all people regardless of their financial station, culture, color, language or religion.
We have 17 sons and daughters that live all throughout the world. We have a reason to travel to other countries. It so meaningful for the experience to come full circle. One of the most rewarding things for us is meeting the natural parents of our students after they have lived in our home for 10 months.
Learn what it takes to be a Local Coordinator.
Not interested in being an LC? Refer someone who would be great, and reward.