DALLAS _The local branch of the Education First Foundation and Rotary Exchange are looking for Dallas families willing to host a student for a minimum of three months and up to a year.
"We have four exchange students coming in August ... and if worse comes to worse they'll stay at our house until we find permanent families," said Lloyd Taber, Education First international exchange coordinator for Dallas.
When a family hosts an exchange student, he said, it should be a no-pressure situation. "We want this to be something they really want to do. Their only commitment is room and board. The students have their own spending money and insurance," he added.
For the four high school seniors arriving in August, Taber's hope is to find hosts who would make a commitment for the entire school year.
By contrast, the Rotary program (coordinated by Michael Buhler) has just one student arriving, but Buhler is looking for three different host families to do three-month stints.
"We want to give him a fuller flavor of American culture, and people are different _ every family is different," Buhler said.
In addition to hosting a foreign student, Rotary sends a student abroad. This year that student, Joel Shetterly, is going to Germany.
Buhler and Taber try to involve those students as much as possible in community service activities and enrichment opportunities outside of school. However, host families are not responsible for entertaining the students.
Both programs ask that hosts just be themselves and treat the student like one of their own children. Taber and Buhler said families open to learning and sharing their lives will find that the rest all falls into place.
However, this summer there is a sense of urgency. "We need somebody as soon as we can, because there's a bunch to do," Buhler said.
There is an interview and screening process for both programs, and a mandatory orientation day.
More information: For EF Foundation, Lloyd Taber, 503-623-8813 or effoundation.org. For Rotary, Russ Dimberg 503-831-3626 or youthexchange5100.org.