Melissa Baxter – Volunteer & Host Mom – Texas

Duties: Area Representative

After a few years as a host parent, Melissa wanted to get more involved with YFU. She is an Area Coordinator with YFU USA and her son Brandon is an Area Representative.

My family has been hosting with YFU since 1987 when a school counselor called to see if we could help out, even for a short time. That short time has spanned more than a decade, and we see no end in sight. Out of that call also came a desire to be more involved with YFU. I am an Area Coordinator with YFU USA and my son Brandon is an Area Representative. We have worked with students from all over the world and have loved nearly every moment of it. Thank you, YFU, for making our world smaller!

Host Mothers Reunite in Hamburg

It began as a dream over a year and a half ago. Meeting up with and getting acquainted or re-acquainted with the natural mothers of my 14 full and part-year sons—what great potential there was for an awesome reunion! After many emails back and forth, it was agreed that 10 of the mothers were interested and able to attend. The location was set for Hamburg, Germany, as that was the central point between the homes of my European sons. The dates were August 2-6, 2007.

First and foremost on our agenda that day, as well as the others, was sipping cappuccino and getting to know each other. Some mothers had met each other in San Antonio at my home, one had met the other in Stockholm when I was visiting years ago, but most had never met; they had only heard stories of each other and of their sons through me. Sightseeing, sharing delicious meals (thanks Salvatore!!!), and simply being together were the things we focused upon. Topics of conversation ranged from our homes and jobs, and how to deal with leftovers and families. In the end, we realized that though we lived far apart, the world is indeed small.

The highlight for me was sitting back and listening to the others chatting amongst themselves on our last evening together. Plans have already been laid for another get-together, a cruise out of Texas in 2009 celebrating the 50th birthday of three of the “girls.”

Would you like to share your YFU Story? Please submit stories and pictures to marketing@yfu.org.

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About Youth For Understanding USA

Youth For Understanding (YFU) advances intercultural understanding, mutual respect, and social responsibility through educational exchanges for youth, families and communities. The global YFU network, consisting of partners in more than 60 different countries, is united by the belief that full cultural immersion is the most effective means to gain the skills needed to thrive in an increasingly multicultural, interconnected and competitive global society. YFU has remained a trusted leader of intercultural exchange programs for more than 60 years because of its commitment to safety, reputation for quality, and exceptional support services. Backed by a global team of volunteers, YFU provides cultural education and guidance to all participants. Selected to administer more government and corporate scholarships than any other high school exchange program, YFU is the only organization awarded full-listing for J-1 inbound, outbound and short term exchange by the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET). Through creating global learning opportunities, YFU has promoted international understanding and world peace to more than 250,000 students and their host families. Thousands of parents across the globe trust YFU with their teenagers every year, and thousands of students every year choose YFU to help them discover their inner selves.
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