Host families sought in Glen Ellen
The folks in Glen Ellen
Are you ready for a little alternate cultural experience this summer? Do you have bored teenagers, or whining grade school children? Want to add a little excitement to your lives?
How about opening your home to a visitor from Spain or Denmark? Heloisa Heinen has just the solution for you. For four years, Heloisa has been managing the Sonoma Valley nonprofit student exchange organization called Educational Homestay Programs (EHP).
Currently, Heloisa is reaching into our community to sign up volunteer host families. Her goal this year is to include more Glen Ellen families. In fact, if she is able to recruit more than a couple of us, she can arrange to have the bus that takes the students to Sonoma Academy in Santa Rosa make a stop in our village.
Several Glen Ellen families have participated in the past. Here’s a reflection from the Schoeffler family of our town. “For the past two summers, we have hosted girls at our home. For a month in the summer of 2010 we had two great Norwegian girls, Stine and Christina. Last summer, 2011, we hosted Megane, a French girl. Our family has grown by the addition of these incredible girls.”
Catherine Schoeffler says, “Our lives have been forever changed by these wonderful experiences, not only of the program and all the wonderful adventures our children Rachel and William Peyton have had on the trips with the girls and the group, but adding these wonderful girls to our family. They will forever be a part of our lives.”
Catherine continues, “We feel that Heloisa Heinen and the wonderful EF teachers have added such rich experiences. They are kind, involved and very intent on making this a great experience for the visiting students, and the hosting families. We will do it again and again.”
If you are interested in hosting a European student for only one month, between June 27 and July 24, call Heloisa for more information. She can be reached at www.ef.com/ehp or by calling 504-994-4159. There is no obligation in simply calling and you can hear straight from Heloisa about the students who will be arriving this summer and what hosting entails.
Students this year will be arriving from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Italy and Spain. During the weekday from 8 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. they are under the supervision of the Educational Homestay Program leaders while attending English language and American culture classes during the morning and activities during the afternoon.
This nonprofit group has been providing home-stay experiences for students around the globe since 1979. In fact, Heloisa herself was once an EHP student.
Host families are asked to open their homes and hearts and to provide meals, an available bed and transportation to and from the Plaza in Sonoma. Students do not need their own room and EF can provide a temporary bed for host families if needed. Participants also enjoy the camaraderie of the other host families, by joining summer-time barbecues and more. These activities heighten the cultural exchange and community experience.
You can create a life-long connection and make a lasting impact on a young person’s life. Heloisa is available at Sonoma’s Friday morning farmers market.
She is also eager to speak to organizations about this volunteer opportunity. Learn more about the programs by visiting www.efhomestay.org.