How did you learn about AFS and what prompted you to get involved?
I grew up fifteen minutes away from C.W. Post College and heard through my AFS High School Club moderator that volunteers were needed at arrivals and departures. I just showed up and helped. While in high school, my family hosted through another program a few times and I went to El Salvador one summer since AFS was only available for a full year program. Thirty years later in NJ, I connected with the Team.
What keeps you coming back to volunteer each year?
The camaraderie within the team and loving to help shape each student’s life-changing year.
What’s a typical volunteer “shift” like for you?
It varies. During hosting season it can begin with an early morning phone call with my Team Deveopment Specialist and then continue with calling host family leads, reading student profiles and applications on GL, more phone, email and text conversations with my Team Develpment Specialist, putting up posters or visiting schools during my errands, interfacing with other Team members, and then of course the evening calls to potential host families and the constant checking of GL for new releases of students. I also work on the planning and executing of all five student orientations as well as three summer host family orientations, student sending and many host family interviews as well as being a liaison. It feels like hosting season never ends, with late placements into September and then reorganizing in October for it all to begin again!
What have you learned or how have you been personally affected by your experience with AFS?
That it takes a hard working, conscientious team and an awesome Team Development Specialist to have a successful hosting and sending year.
Please share the best or the funniest thing that’s happened to you while volunteering with AFS.
The best thing was being able to visit Italian students formerly hosted NJ and to meet and be graciously hosted by their families while I was in Italy this past summer.
What do you want to say to people who might be interested in volunteering with AFS?
It’s awesome being able to have an influence on and participate in teens’ most life-changing year of their life!
What’s one thing AFS volunteers and staff don’t know about you?
In 1999, during four months of my pregnancy with my daughter, I was a Broadway mom. I traveled throughout the US with the cast and crew of Peter Pan since my son played Michael Darling!