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: Kathleen Birkhimer

    Kathleen, a returnee and volunteer with the Florida team since 2009, shares her story!

  • 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 Winner

Young Volunteer Award

Mission Award

Peggy & Art Howe Award

Emerging Leader Award

Linne Shields

Galatti Award Winner:
Linne Shields
Dallas Team, TX

The 2016 Galatti award was presented to AFS-USA volunteer Linne Shields. Linne Shields is an AFS pillar in the Dallas-Fort Worth (Texas) market. Linne is well known for her skills in mentoring, coaching and inspiring numerous AFS volunteers as they took on key support responsibilities and moved into important leadership positions. Her insight, wisdom and knowledge, proven in each of the many volunteer roles, have positioned her as a strategic and valued AFS leader. As Co-Chair of the AFS USA National Support Advisory Committee, she directly influenced the AFS participant support policy. Linne and her husband host an annual trip for local AFS participants to Washington, D.C., where they visit the nation’s most important monuments and learn about American culture. Linne has been a host mom to 10 students and opened her home to 64 students for temporary stays.

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.

Jasmine Landry

Young Volunteer Award for Outstanding Service Winner:
Jasmine Landry
East Metro Team, MN

The 2016 Young Volunteer Award goes to Jasmine Landry from East Metro. Jasmine is an AFS returnee who went to Germany in 2009 on a Congress Bundestag (CB) scholarship. Despite being a busy young student, she's able to tackle many different volunteer roles, and is proactive in thinking of ways she can help the team. She has been a volunteer since 2011 and is the team’s Returnee Coordinator. She also serves as a liaison, sending volunteer and does both hosting and sending orientations. Jasmine possesses the ability to nurture current exchange students and offer perspectives to host parents and host siblings. Her own education and exchange experience offers the AFS community a solid resource. Her passion and energy for the AFS mission is contagious and she has a commitment to broaden opportunities for others through intercultural learning.

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.

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The Munro-Prolux Family

Peggy & Art Howe Award Winner:
The Munro-Proulx Family
Northwest California Team, CA

We are pleased to announce that USA nominee “the Proulx Family” was one of the International winners of this award. Recognizing the need to promote AFS programs to diverse communities, the Proulx family members have been the ultimate AFS ambassadors since 1997. Following the lead of parents Abby and Michael, the family has reached out to different religious and cultural organizations, as well as actively encouraged LGBTQ families to join AFS. Proulx family members have fulfilled a variety of AFS leadership roles, including helping to manage the local NorthWest California AFS chapters, developing and supporting Sponsored Program clusters, coordinating outdoor activities and participating in the AFS USA National Council. In addition to volunteering, the Proulx family has hosted AFS students from many countries. Over the years, siblings Andrea, Anthea, Kinara and Bonnie and granddaughter Fiona have enjoyed helping AFS students make the most of their international experience.

About the Award

Introduced in 2016 for the first time, the 2016 Peggy an Art Howe Award honors the outstanding service of AFS volunteer families. This award is inspired by the Howe family, who volunteered for AFS for more than six decades. Art Howe was a volunteer AFS Ambulance Driver in World War II, President of AFS, (1965-1971), and Life Trustee until his passing in 2014.

Marla Gamble

Mission Award Winner:
Marla Gamble
Greater Cincinnati Team, OH

Marla Gamble, from Greater Cincinnati has won the 2016 Mission Award. Marla has been volunteering with AFS for almost 30 years. She conducts the many presentations throughout the area, sharing her excitement for the incoming students. Everyone has a gift in life and hers is matching the student with a family. She takes the time to get to know each host family in order to know what would make a fabulous fit. Marla continues to build a superior rapport with key school officials opening so many possibilities for AFS. The result is that only a few short years ago the Dayton Area had less than 10 students and for the 2016-2017 year there were 27 placements, thanks to Marla!

About the Award

The Mission Award recognizes an individual who holds, or has held, a leadership role at the chapter, team, regional or national level and has made a significant impact in that role while advancing the AFS mission.

Clair Charlton

Emerging Leader Award Winner:
Clair Charlton
Michigan Team, MI

Claire Charlton, from the Michigan Team, is the recipient of the 2016 Emerging Leader Award. Claire is a leader and a self-starter, creative and energetic. Claire has been a host Mom three times and a welcome family once. Claire has also been a liaison and is currently the liaison coordinator for the Metro Detroit Chapter. As coordinator, Claire has established an excellent working relationship with the liaisons. She meets with them often to conduct training, go over issues and make sure all contacts are made and timely reported. Claire also conducts the Arrival Orientation for the Michigan Area Team. She has a passion for AFS and continues to display it.

About the Award

The Emerging Leader Award recognizes an individual who shows the potential to be as a future leader within the AFS volunteer structure of chapters or teams. This award is intended to recognize emerging leaders regardless of their age.