A Message from Tara Hofmann

It’s remarkable that in September AFS will start its celebration of the 75th anniversary of AFS youth exchange programs. Over the course of the coming year, our communications will reflect our theme, 75 Years of Creating Global Citizens: Your Story is Our Story!

Nowhere is that more evident than in the lives of well-over 100,000 AFS alumni who live in the U.S. today and support the mission of building a more just and peaceful world. Every day I am inspired by the stories that cross my desk. This spring, I learned about Nick, an AFS exchange student from Ukraine, who organized a fundraiser to support the charitable arm of the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Rochester, New York. His actions exemplify the AFS mission and have a positive impact on his school and community. Also this spring, I had the honor of attending the swearing-in of Virginia Palmer as the Ambassador to Ghana, who took up her post in Ghana on April 26th. Virginia is a Returnee, U.S. to South Africa,1979, and I have known her for nearly twenty years—since she was the Chief of Mission at the US Consulate.

Virginia Palmer

And congratulations to Cynthia, an AFS-USA volunteer leader and host mom who, with her AFS colleagues, organized a reunion in Croatia and led a campaign to raise funds that went towards purchasing an ambulance to be completely readjusted and sent to the Odessa area of Ukraine. AFSers are remarkable leaders who are committed to a life of service and are an inspiration to us all. Please reach out to us to share your story during our 75th Anniversary by filling out this form.

Warmest regards,

Tara M. Hofmann
President and Chief Executive Officer

Host Family at a baseball game
Welcome a Student For 12 Weeks in September!

AFS is looking for families to welcome a student for 12 weeks starting in early September! As an AFS alum, you know how excited students are to start their exchange, and welcoming them will mean they will be placed with a permanent family in your community for the upcoming academic year.

“You have the opportunity to give a young person a once-in-a-lifetime experience that they will never forget. And then you also have the opportunity just to create a relationship that will last forever.” – Sheri Belton-Gonzalez, AFS-USA Host Parent

Perhaps our recent podcast episode featuring a few of last year’s students, Samira from Germany, Toby from Sweden, and Mira from Austria, will inspire you to host this year! They share about their host families, schools, and what life is like for a teenager in the U.S.

Will you host a student like Samira, Toby, or Mira for 12 weeks in September? Let us know at [email protected] or by replying to this email! You can also start an application here.

Jenny K. Messner with Daughter
Announcing the Messner Family Matching Gift Campaign

“I want to offer a bridge to hope,” is what Jenny K. Messner (U.S. to Brazil, 1970) said when she reached out to AFS-USA to establish the $250,000 Messner Family Matching Gift Campaign with her husband, Michael. “We want to acknowledge the milestone 75th Anniversary in a meaningful way while encouraging AFSers with any connection and from every generation to support the organization that has transformed so many lives, including my own life and my daughter Rebecca’s (U.S. to Italy, 2001).

Looking back on my life—the opportunities that had presented themselves and the direction I have taken—I owe a lot to AFS-USA. I want to give back so that more young people can experience the transformative power of studying abroad. This is my primary objective.

Jenny and Mike have changed many lives through their support, including the establishment of the Speedwell Foundation Study Abroad Program with AFS-USA in 2007. Close to 250 students were able to go on a life-changing, year-long study abroad experience, all due to the Messners’ support.

This September, when you make a gift to AFS-USA, it will be matched up to $250,000. We hope this encourages any person who has experienced the power of the AFS Mission to look back, remember the positive ways AFS-USA has made a difference in their lives, and contribute to the matching challenge.

AFS-USA Welcomes New Board Members and President’s Council Members

This Spring, the AFS-USA Board of Directors proudly elected five new Board directors and the President’s Council welcomed four new President’s Council members. Please visit this webpage for more information on our new outstanding Board and President’s Council members.

Mary Porterfield and Paul Maricle

Your Story is Our Story: Paul Maricle

In 1971, Paul Maricle was a Spanish student in Mary Porterfield’s class. Mary is a long-time volunteer who has held many volunteer positions locally, regionally, and nationally as the former Chair of the Board of Directors for AFS-USA.

Paul was Mary’s first student who applied to study abroad with AFS when the Goodland, Kansas AFS Chapter was established. Paul had three years of Spanish, but was sent to study abroad in Germany! After high school, Paul attended Washburn University, where he studied German, and also spent time abroad during his university years.

Today, Paul is a member of Castle Lantz Maricle, LLC (CLM) which specializes in international business transactions with German businesses entering the U.S. Market. Paul is the Honorary Consul for Germany, Colorado, and Wyoming. Thank you Paul and Mary for sharing your story with us!

Has AFS-USA changed your life in some way? ‘Your Story is Our Story,’ so please take the time to share your words with us during our 75th Anniversary by completing this form.

75th Logo

AFS-USA is proud to celebrate 75 years of global citizens working together to create a more just and peaceful world, and that means celebrating YOU!

Whether you are currently engaged with AFS or have been at any time in the past seven-and-a-half decades, we hope that you feel great pride knowing that you are a part of our history—and what a remarkable history it is! Since 1947, millions of people have supported the AFS mission by becoming globally engaged citizens who help to build a more just and peaceful world.

AFS-USA will kick off our anniversary year in June 2022. To commemorate 75 years of creating the kinds of global citizens the world needs, we would like you to share your story with us. Your story is our story! How has AFS-USA changed your life? If you studied abroad, hosted a student, volunteered with AFS, or are connected in some other way, please tell us what made your experience such a memorable and life-changing part of your life. We plan to feature stories on our website throughout our anniversary year. Photos are encouraged!

Connect with fellow AFS Alumni by joining our Returnee Reconnect Facebook Group!

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