DALLAS -- The Dallas Rotary Club is looking for families willing and able to host a foreign exchange student during the 2011-12 school year.
Each year Dallas Rotary's Youth Exchange Program sends one student from the Dallas area to another country and hosts a foreign student in Dallas.
Russ Dimberg, youth exchange program cochairman, said Rotary will be hosting a boy from India this year but is still looking for families to take him in.
"We are looking for families who live in the Dallas School District boundaries and have room for a child to treat as their own for three or four months," Dimberg said.
Lu Ann Meyer has been a member of Dallas Rotary and on the youth exchange committee since 1995. Between 1995 and 2004, Meyer's family hosted seven students from Argentina, Brazil, Denmark, Germany, Japan and Mexico.
Two of Meyer's children participated in the program in their junior year, too. Both lived in Brazil.
"Hosting is an enriching life experience," Meyer said. "There is a newfound respect and understanding for those of other cultures."
Meyer added that the reverse is true, as well.
"As a host parent it's a great opportunity to share the American way of life," she said. "Hosting a student from a foreign country is a rewarding experience that creates friendships that last a lifetime."
Typically, exchange students stay with three families throughout their visit. The student stays with the first family from August to the end of December, moves in with a second family around the beginning of January until spring break, and then finishes the year with a third family, staying until about mid-June.
Dimberg said the student would attend Dallas High School, be fully involved in family routines, as well as exchange program activities.
Interested families would have to pass a criminal background check and provide references in the screening process. While the families would be responsible for providing room and board for the child, most other personal expenses would be covered through the program. Dimberg said families with high school-age children are ideal, but any family is welcome to apply.
For more information about becoming a host family, call Russ Dimberg at 503-831-3628 or Jerry Wennstrom at 503-623-8951.