Jean Goecks wins intercultural education award

Portland, OR January 25, 2018 – Each year, AFS (an Intercultural Education Nonprofit) recognizes one exceptional volunteer out of all the 4200 volunteers nationally who make a real impact in people’s lives through intercultural education and building bridges of cultural understanding. In December of 2017, one local AFS volunteer, Jean Goecks, was given this prestigious AFS award, the AFS Galatti Award.

Jean Goecks is from Camas Washington and is a member of the AFS Camas-Washougal Chapter.  She is also the AFS Columbia Pacific Area Team Chair.  The local AFS team territory encompasses SW Washington and Oregon.  Jean is the leader of all efforts happening in the team for AFS to build a more just and peaceful world through intercultural education.  She works with over 150 volunteers, 70 host families, 60 International hosted students and 20 American families who send their children on a study abroad program.  Jean Goecks has been a volunteer with AFS-USA for 20 years and during that time has contributed to the Columbia Pacific Team in many ways, from providing food at events to being team chair. She has impacted her team greatly by supporting hosted students, taking them into her home and helping facilitate conversations about diversity, inclusion and bias. Jean’s commitment to AFS continues to create invaluable experiences within her community for students, families and volunteers alike. One of her greatest contributions to the AFS Mission is supporting the host families and international students while they are in our area.  She ensures that both host family and student are provided the best tools and information for adjusting to a new culture.   Intercultural exchange demands both courage and tolerance.  Jean leads the way to creating a more just and peaceful world through exchange every day.

When asked about why she volunteers, Jean said, “Volunteering for AFS has opened my world. The impact on my family, friends and community reaches beyond the one on one of hosting a student or sending my child abroad. Providing food for student orientations, being liaison for numerous hosted students, interviewing host families and students going abroad are just a part of the job, as is the hug and positive feedback. Helping students and families reach beyond their cultural differences, to embrace the journey of living together and becoming family is amazing.  Mentoring students and volunteers, seeing their growth and achievements is a large part of why I volunteer. I am honored to have been selected for this award but an amazing group of volunteers, staff, families and students are included in this award. As a team, we are united to further the AFS Mission. Remember, life begins at the end of your comfort zone”.

Congratulations to Jean Goecks from Camas for winning the Galatti Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service. The top AFS Award in the nation. Established in 1983, the Galatti Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service honors AFS volunteers whose longtime commitment, dedication and exceptional journey with the organization have advanced the mission and goals of AFS and created an impact in the AFS Community.

Stephen Galatti served as the Director General of AFS for more than 28 years, from its beginnings in 1936 until his death in 1964. During this time, he built and transformed AFS from a volunteer ambulance service into a world-wide organization that promotes peace and global awareness through intercultural learning experiences.

Galatti worked tirelessly to expand the AFS global community, reaching out to ever-larger numbers of participants, families and countries. He created a program model that relied heavily on the continued support of dedicated volunteers, who he saw as the driving force behind the organization.

In keeping with Galatti’s vision, AFS places the highest value on its volunteers and recognizes them as the drivers of all AFS programs. It is in tribute to Galatti and to devoted AFS volunteers that the Galatti Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service was established.

The 2017 Galatti Award winner will receive an engraved plate and a certificate, handed out in person by the President of AFS International or a member of the International Board of Trustees. In addition, the winner’s local chapter will receive the Galatti Award Partial Diversity Scholarship. This scholarship provides financial assistance to a candidate who would not otherwise be able to participate on an AFS program.

AFS USA is volunteer ran, international nonprofit that offers intercultural exchange programs through a global network of independent, International AFS Organizations, each with local teams of dedicated volunteers. AFS has been facilitating life-changing opportunities abroad for more than 70 years.

AFS-USA Mission
AFS-USA works toward a more just and peaceful world by providing international and intercultural learning experiences to individuals, families, schools, and communities through a global volunteer partnership.