Northwest NEWS

September 7, 1998


The world will be in good hands

   It is time for some good news about our kids and our local families. Another summer is coming to a close, a time for transition and reflection. As the president of a local international student exchange organization, the end of summer usually marks a period of exhaustion for our staff, having worked so hard all summer to provide programs and homestays for many foreign visitors. Perhaps you met some of them around town or heard a foreign language being spoken in the grocery store, or even had the pleasure of hosting as we did. For all of you who did participate on some level, I wish to express our thanks and gratitude, for without your openness and generosity our programs would not be what they have become.
   For those of you who have thought about it, I encourage you to try hosting sometime; it is truly a unique and rewarding experience that touches everyone in your family.
   During the summer I had the great pleasure of meeting many giving families in our area and saw first hand what these exchange programs can create. I also met many wonderful teenagers from around the world, who were thrilled to visit our beautiful Northwest, but were most touched by the warmheartedness of our families. Yet the best part of all for me was to witness our local teenagers. We hear so many negative things about American teens, yet what I saw was just the opposite. I saw our kids taking these visitors into their circle of friends, including them in their activities, sharing cultures, ideas, music, languages, food and forming friendships that span the globe. As a parent, I was so proud of what I witnessed, and as a program administrator I feel deeply grateful.
   Thank you, kids and families for being so open and responsive to this opportunity. I think the world is going to be in good and capable hands as these young people grow into adults. After this summer I have great hope for the future and great faith in what we are doing together.
   Beth Shephard, Connections