How did you learn about AFS and what prompted you to get involved?
A daughter of friends had been an AA and they had hosted. They approached us as possible host parents. My husband and I actually previously knew of AFS as we were friends with the very first AFS student to be hosted at our high school in the 1960s.
What keeps you coming back to volunteer each year?
We both have been so enriched by our contact with students. We have no children of our own, so being a part of AFS was an opportunity to connect with teenagers, as well as to connect with the rest of the world. It is educational and rewarding to see America through the eyes of others.
What’s a typical volunteer “shift” like for you?
I am currently the team chair for Heartland, a liaison for several students and the sending orientation leader for the local chapter, so I spend 5-10 hours per week taking care of AFS business.
What have you learned or how have you been personally affected by your experience with AFS?
I personally have benefited from my contact with students in a multitude of ways. I am curious and enjoy learning about other cultures and places. Hosting AFS students has provided opportunities for me to make those connections. In my job as an educator, it has always been important to know and learn as much as possible about teaching students from other cultures. My contact with AFS students from around the world has been of great benefit to me professionally as well as personally.
Please share the best thing or the funniest thing that’s happened to you while volunteering with AFS?
We took our Italian “daughter” on vacation to Pigeon Forge, TN to visit Dolly Parton’s Country Stampede. There was a large arena show with a meal. The look on her face when she discovered that the entire meal was served and eaten without utensils was priceless. I must admit, I had some of the same reservations she did when I first discovered that we had no eating utensils. We laughed together about it each time we told the story to others.
What do you want to say to people who might be interested in volunteering with AFS?
There are so many ways you can be involved and involvement can be at the level that best fits with your current lifestyle. Try it, you’ll like it.
What is the one thing AFS volunteers and staff don’t know about you?
I collect China.