Team Overview

Welcome to the Finger Lakes NY Team

“Welcome to the Finger Lakes Team where we have active volunteers committed to the mission of building peace and understanding through international and intercultural learning experiences. There are many opportunities to become a part of the AFS global community:  host a student, study abroad or join our volunteer force.  Wherever your interest lies, you will have the experience of a lifetime.”

~ Joanna Collins, Volunteer


One of the largest tourism regions in the state, New York’s Finger Lakes covers 9,000 square miles from the southern shore of Lake Ontario to the Pennsylvania border and encompasses 11 parallel lakes spanning the center of New York State like a giant handprint.The most popular lakes located in the Finger Lakes region are Canandaigua, Cayuga, Conesus, Oswego, Otisco, Honeoye, Keuka, Seneca and Skaneateles.  Although each has a name of it’s own, these thin glacial lakes are most often referred to as a group: the Finger Lakes.


The FINGER LAKES NY Team is always looking for volunteers who are passionate about everything international and multicultural. AFS is an organization for people who believe in the power of cultural understanding as a foundation for achieving a more just and peaceful world. Joining AFS is a great way to learn about new cultures, share your own cultural experiences, and help students experience a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Our volunteer opportunities include:

  • Sending students abroad
  • Hosting international students in the U.S.
  • Returnee/Alumni engagement

We will strive to help accommodate even the busiest of volunteers – there are always ways in which you can help!

Open Volunteer Positions

We are proud that AFS is a volunteer-driven organization. AFS USA partners with over 50 countries around the world whose local volunteer vision is the same as ours. Hand in hand we work towards creating a more just and peaceful world by building global connections together. As with every volunteer organization, we are always looking for members in our community who are searching for an opportunity to get involved. We have many areas of interest and would be very happy to discuss any of them with you.

Current team needs:

  • Host homes, email Barry
  • Host a team meeting, monthly options
  • Airport pick-up
  • Event coordinator
  • Liaison’s, monthly support contact with student and host families
  • Emergency/temporary homes

AFS Local & National Scholarships

Contact our Area Team

Steven Ploof | Team Chair | [email protected]

Steve is currently a Law Enforcement Officer in the Greater Rochester area and is the Team Chairperson for the AFS Finger Lakes Team. Steve and his daughter took interest in the exchange program after travelling to several different countries and experiencing their cultures. He has hosted three students from Germany, France, and Italy.

Joe Palmiotto| Chaperone

I am a 6-12 Technology Education teacher. I started hosting students with AFS because of the exchange students that would be in my classes. My wife did some research and we agreed that hosting for a year would be the most fulfilling way for us and our student to develop a life lasting relationship. I volunteer for AFS because I find being part of a team is more rewarding to help make the students experience more enjoyable. Volunteering also helps to know some of the other students making the hosting experience that much better.

Toni Kiddie | Support Northeast, Liaison|  [email protected] | 585-924-5908

Toni Kiddie is a retired elementary reading teacher who lives in Victor, NY. She has been an AFS volunteer since 2003. During that time, AFS has given her opportunities to be a liaison several times, host for a short period and to work in many team positions. Toni enjoys working with volunteers and host families, being on site for the many orientations and activities. She especially loves getting to       know our hosted students. In her spare time, Toni is a substitute teacher, plays tennis all year and enjoys summer golf. She and her husband, Dave, travel to Boston and Philadelphia areas often to be with their daughter and son and five grandchildren. They have also had the rewarding experience of reuniting with their hosted student in Cologne, Germany.

Midge Englund | Support Central | [email protected] | 585-624-3796

Midge has been a host parent to seven students and a liaison to 24. Midge’s passion for world peace through this international exchange program has brought her to volunteer as a chair, liaison, sending, hosting and many other areas in our team.

Sandy Lawrence | Support West |  [email protected] | (716) 432-1863

Ernie and Sandy have hosted 6 wonderful students and sent their own son Andrew to Chile for his AFS experience. Sandy started with AFS in high school and is a returnee from AFS Austria as well as an AFS teacher to Thailand. She has done almost every team job at some point during her volunteer time with AFS Finger Lakes.

Judy Glaubinger | Sending Coordinator | [email protected]

Judy is a retired teacher, mother of 4 girls and Abuela to 3. She has hosted a number of students and one of her daughters went abroad with AFS when she decided to volunteer. She likes the cultural understanding. When working with the students that go abroad from the US she likes to emphasize that they are ambassadors of the US.

Barry VanNostrand | Hosting Coordinator [email protected] 

Barry was a police officer for 32 years and retired as the supervisor of his department’s major crimes unit. He is now the Director of School Safety for a public school where he also coordinates their foreign exchange student program. He also now serves as Town Justice in his hometown. Barry and his wife Laurie have 2 children – Aaron who is in law school, and Sarah who is a VP in finance. With their children now moved out, they have hosted students from Holland, Denmark, Italy, Germany and will be hosting from Norway in the fall of 2015. They love their home in the country that they share with their 2 dogs and 2 cats.


Finger Lakes NY Team