Youth program needs host families for Japanese students

Published 03/13 2014 06:08PM

Updated 03/13 2014 09:11PM

The 4-H International Youth Exchange Program provides leadership training and life skills to people ages nine through 19.  It's been around for years, but this is the first time the program is bringing children from Japan to the Wiregrass.

They're looking for families in the Wiregrass to host about ten Japanese students from July 23rd through August 21st. 

Organizers say it's a way to promote peace between countries and benefit local communities.

"It allows the people here in Dothan to learn about other cultures from other countries, and it also allows the people here in Dothan to go and learn about other cultures," said State Program Coordinator Rosalind James, who works for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

The students' costs, including medical insurance, are covered through federal funding.

"We're asking for families that have siblings ages 12 through 16 to host one child, and it can be a boy or a girl.  And hopefully, you will have a child of the same gender in that household," James said.

Host families will have to apply for the program and pass background checks.

"What is so really wonderful about it is that when the host families will host that particular child, then they'll have the opportunity to go to Japan and be a host child or parent in Japan," said James.

The program will also have weekly activities bringing the host families together.  And the organizers are planning a warm welcome.

"They'll be flying into the Dothan Regional Airport.  So we plan on having a big celebration for them."

A meeting will be held on April 9th from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Wiregrass Museum of Art. 

Interested families can attend that meeting and learn about the ten children selected.
To register, or for more information, you can contact the Alabama Cooperative Extension System at 334-794-4108.

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