Free programs overseas, Dear Teen Me, algebra, homecoming, owls and bats

If you have, or know of, a student ages 15 to 18 who’s interested in other cultures, I strongly recommend they check out the State Department’s National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) program. While you might think that it is impossible to be selected, regular readers of this column know that Sonoma has had three high school students, two college students and one teacher selected to take part in NSLI programs (all expenses paid) over the past four years. Students spend either the summer or a full year in Morocco, China, India, Korea, Tajikistan, Turkey or Russia. The merit-based full scholarships cover all travel, accommodations, daily language classes and cultural activities. The goal of NSLI-Y is to increase the number of young Americans with the language skills necessary to advance international dialogue and increase understanding between cultures. The deadline is soon – Tuesday, Nov. 5. nsliforyouth.org.


The Republic of Thrift on Highway 12 has been awaiting nonprofit status for months now and finally got the good news of its approval this summer. The bad news? The government shutdown has placed its Federal Tax ID number in limbo. As soon as possible, the store will be providing donors with donation receipts. Since opening in 2012, the store has donated more than $65,000 to Sonoma’s public schools.


According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the percentage of students choosing colleges close to home is increasing slightly every year (though nationally still only 20 percent of this year’s full-time, four-year freshmen said that being close to home was a very important factor in their college choice). The figure was 16 percent in 1983.

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