Morristown Rotary-Noon Club is seeking host families for its Youth Exchange program for high school students for the 2019-20 school year

This will be the first time in 10 years that the club is participating in the program.

“One of Rotary’s thrusts is connecting distant places around the world, and there isn’t a better way to do that than to bring a young person into a country they are unfamiliar with and let them learn about it firsthand, by being a part of it,” Rotarian Don Baldus said.

Living in a foreign country is a powerful way to gain global understanding and promote peace. Through Youth Exchange, students learn a new language, discover different cultures and customs and make friendships that last a lifetime.

The objectives of the Rotary Youth Exchange program include instilling international understanding and goodwill in students, creating positive change by empowering youth and making lasting connections for host clubs, host families, communities and the students involved.

Rotary districts administer the Youth Exchange program in collaboration with local Rotary clubs. Unlike many exchange programs, Rotary Youth Exchange is managed by volunteers, resulting in relatively low administrative costs and a strong support network of engaged Rotarians. Rotary’s youth protection policies and district Youth Exchange certification program ensure that the safety of the youth involved in the program is the highest priority.

Long-term exchange students will have more than one exchange family during the school year, according to Noon Club President and Exchange Coordinator, Dr. Conrad Brimhall.

“By living in the homes of several families, they are exposed to a variety of experiences in the host country and will better understand the culture,” Brimhall said.

Host families should be responsible, willing and interested in welcoming the young person into their home.

Hosting a Youth Exchange student offers Rotarians and local residents the opportunity to experience another culture within their own community. Local students and community members can contribute to the exchange experience.

Host families, however, should be willing to do more than provide room and board, they will need to actively enhance the exchange experience by involving students in many different community activities. It is beneficial, as well, to the exchange student if members of the host family are interested in a variety of topics of conversation, culture and recreation activities. The exchange student will not be able to operate a vehicle while in the United States, so the host family will be expected to provide transportation, including to and from school classes. The student will be either a high school junior or senior.

“We feel there are a number of families in Morristown that would meet the criteria to serve as a host parent,” Brimhall said.

“It’s a challenge, but it’s also a wonderful opportunity for a young person coming from another country to learn about the United States,” Baldus said.

For more information about the program or to begin the application process, contact Brimhall at 920-602-6549 (leave message) or Baldus at 423-312-8484.