Exchange students donate time in North Country
Friday, June 29, 2018 - 10:27 am

To the Editor:

International Exchange students are impacting their host communities by donating hours of their time to community service. ISE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bridging cultures and connecting communities by placing high schoolers from around the world into welcoming volunteer host families. Our program instills a commitment to service, the importance of community, and the value of education and intercultural friends in its participants.

This begins with the host families and expands into the larger community. These 15-18-year old students travel from their home countries, which include Brazil, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Thailand and many more who have been placed with host families across the United States.

There is generally an average of 3,000 students with about 40 being place in New York each year. This year our 33 students were able to accomplish a combined effort of 1,100 community service hours. Through project help our students have volunteered at fire departments, local charities such as Lights on the River, Operation ShoeBox, Polar Plunge, food and clothing drives, churches and senior centers.

Donating their time allows for a full cultural exchange during their 10-month stay not only for the students, but for those they are giving their time to.

Many relationships have been formed through volunteering.

Tarasa Lewis

International Student Exchange regional advisor