Eric Lomeli - AFS Volunteer

Stories of AFS Volunteers

Every single moment is inspiring when you understand the impact that is made through the AFS mission.

- Eric Lomeli, Volunteer in San Antonio, TX

Helping to bring the people of the world together is exciting, interesting, and rewarding work. For 70 years, AFS Volunteers have given their time to empower students, families and communities to overcome cultural barriers through increased understanding. Our volunteers come from every pocket of America, and their impact is felt on both a local and global scale.

Who are AFS Volunteers?

  • Spotlight On: Rio Orticio

    Rio's own study abroad experience drove him to give back and help future students navigate their adventures.

  • Spotlight On: Stassa & Jay Phillips

    As retired teachers, Stassa and Jay continue to encourage diversity and open-mindedness in their community.

  • Spotlight On: Carol McCaulley

    Ever since her high school AFS Club, Carol has been inspired by the students, families, and volunteers she's come to know.

  • Spotlight On: Eric Mattlin

    Eric learned about AFS through his son's school, and is now a host parent and volunteer with his local team.

  • Spotlight On: Stephanie Davidson

    Stephanie keeps her foreign language skills up by volunteering and helping fellow high schoolers learn about the world.


Volunteer Awards

Each year AFS presents awards to the volunteers that go beyond the call of duty. Thank you to our current and former winners for carrying the mission forward!

Galatti Award Nominee

Young Volunteer Award

Tribute Award

Emerging Leader Award

Jan Perkins

Galatti Award Nominee:
Jan Perkins
Arkansas Team, AR

Jan has been an inspiration to AFS-USA volunteers for more than three decades. Over the years she has helped to support dozens of international students participating in AFS programs in the United States, recruited scores of host families in her small town and promoted AFS at the local high school and at community events. She has opened her home to welcome and host 29 students from every corner of the globe. Jan has been described by fellow volunteers as “the heart and soul of AFS” and exemplifies the AFS belief that one life can change another.

About the Award

The Galatti Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service was established in 1983 and was named after AFS founder Stephen Galatti. This award honors longstanding AFS volunteers whose commitment and exceptional dedication have advanced the mission and goals of AFS. It is the most prestigious commendation granted to volunteers by the AFS International Board of Trustees.

Gabbi Paris

Young Volunteer Award for Outstanding Service Winner:
Gabrielle "Gabbi" Paris
Columbia Pacific Team, OR

Gabrielle’s introduction to AFS began as a member of a host family. This motivated her to spend one year on an AFS program in Spain and to later become an AFS volunteer. Gabrielle has been a group leader at student orientations and has given talks about AFS to middle and high school students. She was selected to participate in an AFS-USA youth leadership summit. Gabrielle has brought passion, leadership and innovative ideas to our organization and embodies the core values that are at the heart of this award.

About the Award

This international award recognizes young AFS volunteers whose creative ideas, fresh perspectives and boundless energy have advanced the mission and goals of the organization. AFS hopes to inspire a generation of young volunteers by recognizing and honoring the contributions they make on a daily basis to promote intercultural understanding through our programs.

Tribute Award Winners:
Greater Chicago and San Francisco Bay Teams

The Greater Chicago and San Francisco Bay Teams are the winners of the 2015-2016 Tribute Award. These teams are recognized for their initiative, leadership and success in recruiting and integrating former participants of AFS high school exchange programs into the work of the team. Both teams were awarded scholarships to support future students in their communities going abroad on AFS programs.

About the Award

The Tribute Award recognizes exceptional and outstanding contributions made by AFS chapters and teams. The theme of the award changes each year. Past themes have included volunteer development, compliance with U.S. State Department guidelines, and alumni engagement.

Camille Saunders

Emerging Leader Award Winner:
Camille Saunders
Greater Puget Sound Team, WA

Camille Saunders has been a volunteer at the local and national level for more than 10 years. In 2014 she was selected to participate in an AFS youth leadership summit in Washington, DC. Regardless of her role, Camille has demonstrated leadership, initiative and a commitment to advancing the AFS mission.

About the Award

The Emerging Leader Award recognizes individuals who show the potential to become future leaders within the AFS-USA volunteer structure of chapters or teams.