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Rotary Club seeking host families for exchange student

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MASSENA - The Massena Rotary Club is looking for a home for a student who will be coming to Massena in September as part of the Rotary Youth Exchange program.

Thomas Sullivan, Massena’s Rotary Youth Exchange program coordinator, said they need two host families to accommodate the student, who is currently scheduled to be visiting from Germany. One family would be a host from the end of August or beginning of September to February, and the second family would take over from mid-February to the end of June or beginning of July.

“The student arrives at the end of August and is here until the end of June or beginning of July. We generally have two host families, one for the first half of the year and second for the second half of the year. It looks like the student coming here will be a young man from Germany,” Mr. Sullivan said.

While Massena has had more than one inbound student in the past, it’s just one student this year, “provided we can have two host families,” he said.

Students from Belgium and Croatia are currently attending Massena High School and will be returning home at the end of the school year. Two Massena High School students, meanwhile, have been spending their year in other countries. Mackenzie George is in Fredericia, Denmark, while Nathan Marshall is in Cascavel, Brazil. Their parents are among those playing host family this year for the inbound students.

Mr. Sullivan said families don’t need to have kids to become a host family, and Rotary will do a home and background check before a family can host an inbound student.

“They do not have to have kids, but it helps. They do not have to be parents. It doesn’t have to be a household with a 16-year-old boy,” he said. “It’s a great experience. We’ve done it ourselves probably four times now. They’re great kids. It’s really a positive experience for host families.”

All Rotary asks of families, Mr. Sullivan said, is “that they accept the student as one of their own and they aren’t necessarily treated like they’re a house guest. If your kids have to do the dishes, we expect the student to do dishes. We expect them to abide by the rules of the host family.”

They use two host families so the student can experience different family lifestyles, he said.

“My interest might be to go to Williamsburg, Va. Yours might be to go to Disney World,” he said.

Anyone who is interested in hosting a student can contact Mr. Sullivan at work, 764-0295; at home, 764-1139; or email tom@sosupply.com.

Mr. Sullivan said that, in order to ensure the next student comes to Massena, he needs to hear from potential host families by Tuesday.

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