Sheridan Community Schools, along with AFS Intercultural Programs/USA (formerly the American Field Service), are looking for local community members who would like to participate in their joint project called Global Readiness in Indiana Towns (GRIT). They are seeking host families in the Sheridan area for between 5-10 international high school exchange students arriving this fall.
These young people represent a variety of countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Finland, Germany, Italy, Lebanon, Portugal, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, West Bank and more. They are among the more than 2,000 international AFS students hosted in the U.S. each year.
Sheridan Community Schools is participating in this project along with Indiana University, AFS-USA and the Center for Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL) at the University of Indianapolis. Sheridan teachers will receive professional development throughout the summer and academic year at no cost to the district as a part of the project, which will benefit the students throughout the community. Local residents are also encouraged to volunteer as liaisons with the students and families. These new volunteers will also receive complimentary professional development as they learn more about these students and their home countries and cultures.
Rick Davis, principal of Sheridan High School commented, “Having the opportunity participate in the Global Readiness in Indiana Towns (GRIT) project is a terrific win for our students, staff, and community. We are excited to bring more students to Sheridan from culturally diverse countries, and the associated professional development is just an added benefit to the whole program."
“Hosting our AFS daughter from Thailand was a great experience for our blended family and for our local school. The conversations over dinner and the things we learned about each other’s cultures were fascinating. Playing family games, watching movies, and even running errands took on a new light as we were able to show our daughter how we lived, why we made certain choices each day and what was great about our community,” said Greg Pugh, an AFS Host Dad in Westfield.
Hosting with AFS fits our life perfectly. All people need to host is room in their home and in their hearts. You definitely get back more than you give,” said Nancy Fuller, a two-time AFS Host Mom in Norwell, Massachusetts. “When people host students, they build a bond—not just with the child, but with the parents and siblings of the child,” Nancy’s husband, John Micek, added. “It makes the world a much smaller place . . . you gain an extended family.”
Welcoming an AFS Student is a wonderful way to help change the world without leaving home. These students attend local high schools, participate in local community life and are encouraged to share aspects of their culture. They also discover first-hand what it’s like to live in America, and they form lasting friendships that create enduring links between the U.S. and other countries. In many cases, the bonds that form between AFS Students and their Host Families last a lifetime.
All types of individuals and families are encouraged to host. The AFS mission of building a more just and peaceful world through international education is best achieved when students experience the full diversity of the U.S. population.
Host families are expected to provide their student(s) with a bed, meals and support and encouragement throughout their program. In turn, families receive the support of local AFS-USA Staff and Volunteers, of which there are more than 4,000 nationwide. Students arrive with their own spending money and medical coverage.
In addition to hosting opportunities, AFS-USA offers a variety of experiences abroad for individuals of all ages. Programs are available to more than 80 countries, and for durations ranging from two weeks to ten months. Participants do not have to know another language to study abroad, and merit- and need-based scholarships are available.
Those interested in becoming a Host Family for an AFS Exchange Student, or in studying abroad with AFS, are encouraged to contact 1-800-AFS-INFO, contact Jill Woerner at 317-771-2391 or visit www.afsusa.org/grit for more information. You can also get involved as an AFS-USA Volunteer. Visit the website or call to get started or learn more about opportunities to make a difference.