Local Coordinators (LCs) facilitate host family and international high school student relationships in their local communities. They ensure that our cultural exchange programs run smoothly by matching exchange students with host families and organizing volunteer and other activities. They are a great help to host families and students through the school year, and Local Coordinators also benefit from these exchange experiences.
What better way of learning about the benefits of being a Local Coordinator than from some of our rock-star Local Coordinators themselves? Here are the top three perks of being a Greenheart Local Coordinator:
1.Forming bonds between people from different cultural backgrounds
When asked about her favorite part about being an LC, May Meerbrey said, “My favorite part of being an LC is connecting local families together with Greenheart students to create a new ‘big family’ for all.” Greenheart LC Ross Carnes says that his favorite part “without a doubt is meeting the students for the first time at the airport and seeing their nervous and anxious expectations disappear when they finally meet their host families. Everyone is so happy and excited!”
2. Local coordinator conferences
In a typical year, Local Coordinators also get to attend LC conferences, where they can network, visit new places, and meet people who share similar interests. May, for instance, says she enjoys the conferences because she gets to “enjoy a beautiful location and make new LC friends who have the same drive and passion as me.” Ross says “I have been so fortunate to go to places like Rome, Athens, Santorini, Buenos Aires, Munich, Budapest and Cancun. The conferences are always in fabulous places and the itinerary is outstanding. I worked for 30 years with a large financial services company and we had terrific meetings and conferences at some amazing places, but none of them is any better than the places I have gone with Greenheart. And, I get to take my wife with me. I always enjoy meeting other Greenheart members and discussing things we all face. I have always come back with something new to try.”
3. A rewarding sense of accomplishment
Greenheart Local Coordinators describe this job as very rewarding–emphasizing how fulfilling the connections they make with the families and the students are. They say that it is very rewarding to see how these cultural exchange experiences impact and change lives for the better. May says that she recommends being an LC “because it is a great way to serve as a ‘diplomat’ and be the bridge to connect the USA with the rest of the world.” Ross says “being an LC has given me the extra income to do things I might not have been able to do in retirement.”
One of the most important responsibilities for LCs is connecting with their communities to recruit host families. That can be intimidating. Reaching out to so many people can be overwhelming. Greenheart provides LC’s with tried-and-true materials, Plus, May and Ross have some tips for recruiting host families.