The following e-mail was received at the website:
My name is James Kerr. I am a semi-retired teacher and I live in Troy, Illinois (Madison County.) For about ten years I have been working as a volunteer with American Councils for International Education, a non governmental organization in Washington, DC that places students who are selected in US Department of State programs These students spend a school year in a community in the United States as part of the State Dept. program. I have worked as a local coordinator in this program, visiting the students once a month at their high schools, making sure they are doing well, and working with their host families if there are issues of concern. This is NOT an exchange program for students whose families can afford to send them for a year abroad. These students are here as guests of the US Dept. of State and have qualified to be selected for their respective scholarships.
All of the students in this program are required to score well on an aptitude test, an English language test, and they have advanced through three rounds of interviews before being selected. All students come with full health insurance and all receive a monthly stipend to help with incidental expenses from the Dept. of State.
Each host family must provide a safe and English speaking environment, a place to sleep, meals and snacks for all meals taken by the family, a place to study, and transportation to and from school and school activities if necessary. School bus transportation is fine.
I am presently trying to place a girl from Serbia who is a Greek Catholic. I thought perhaps your diocese has a listserve or maybe individual parishes have listserves that my information could be transmitted to members. If a host family contacts me, even though I am in Illinois, I will have my agency search for a coordinator in their area who can help them get more information. I would hate to see her lose the scholarships she has earned for lack of a host family and host
I would appreciate interest from couples with children, couples without children, seniors, empty nesters, or singles. I have done placements with all of the above and the placements changed the lives of everyone concerned. I would be happy to provide more information to any members of your congregation who might be interested. Thank you for your help.
James E. Kerr