How did you learn about AFS and what prompted you to get involved?
I became aware or AFS as a high school teacher in Fairborn, Ohio as I had contact with AFS students attending the school.
What keeps you coming back to volunteer each year?
Getting to share in the excitement, enjoyment and intercultural learning. Both the hosting families and the students spending the year have been the reasons that keep me involved.
What’s a typical volunteer “shift” like for you?
My “typical shift” might be spending one or two hours at my computer (often longer!) making contacts with potential hosts and schools and responding to AFS emails, spending two or three hours travelling to a potential host home where I explain the way AFS works and the support we give to families and students, or spending a whole day, often from 7:30 am to 3:00 pm or later, at a school giving classroom presentations about going abroad with AFS or hosting.
What have you learned or how have you been personally affected by your experience with AFS?
I have been most affected by how my getting to know the students has made the world a whole lot smaller to me even though I do travel to various countries for fun. I am even more interested in keeping up on what is happening in the countries of our present and past hosted students.
Please share a memorable moment in your experience volunteering with AFS?
After years of getting to know many hundreds of AFS students, this year I developed a special, huge admiration for a Liberian YES young man named Levi Jackson, a student currently hosted in the Dayton chapter. He told me about his life as a child refugee fleeing Liberia during its war and spending years in refugee camps in Ghana and Nigeria with only his mother. Plus, he managed to avoid falling victim to Ebola. He even refused to eat on the flight to the US for fear he would get sick and be refused entry upon arrival. Now he feels so blessed to be alive and one of only eight YES students from Liberia. He is trying to show his appreciation for this opportunity by being involved and giving of himself every day.
What do you want to say to people who might be interested in volunteering with AFS?
You will not believe how much more connected you will feel to the world and its people.
What is the one thing AFS volunteers and staff don’t know about you?
I was a Red Cross volunteer swimming instructor at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base for 18 years.