Bridget joined AYA in January 2015 and her one year anniversary with AYA is just around the corner. We can’t wait to celebrate this milestone with her! Bridget is an Adjunct History Professor with a passion for global education and this really shines through her involvement with our program.
Caroline from Brazil shared with us why Bridget is our LC of the month:
"Bridget is my LC and she deserves to be AYA’s LC of the Month because she really cares about her exchange students. She makes it a point to have a relationship with me and check in to see how my exchange year is going..."
“Wanda is my Local Coordinator and she is the best person in the world! She’s such a nice person and always tries to offer her help and support. Since the beginning I felt I could go to Wanda with any question and she would give me an honest answer and great advice. This is the support I need from my LC and I feel that Wanda has done that and even more!” – Laura, Germany
Learn more about LC Wanda up on the blog, here.
The fall semester is off to a great start for our students! And we know our Local Coordinators and host families play a huge role in their success, providing the support and encouragement they need to feel involved and a a part of the family!
As tradition, we always ask our students to nominate their LC to be the ‘LC of the Month’...
Read the full article on the AYA blog >
Maria B, Texas
AYA is gearing up to welcome their 2015-2016 AYA students and we asked our National office to nominate LCs who have gone the extra mile and really shined this past month. New LC Maria from Texas is our LC of the month. Congratulations Maria!
This month we asked our team at the National Office to nominate LCs who have stood out and really shined as a LC. Regenia a Local Coordinator from Ohio came in with a strong vote.
Regenia has been with AYA since 2012 as a host family and Local Coordinator. She’s dedicated to spreading the word about AYA and always thinking outside the box to find creative solutions to share our mission of bringing the world together. Check out her video she produced to promote our program, here!
Regional Director, Pieter shared with us why he nominated her: I’m proud to nominate Regenia as she has gone above and beyond in finding homes for our kids throughout the years as a Local Coordinator. Her dedication and motivation to place students is truly admirable. She’s a great teammate and we are happy to have her a part of our mission, to bring the world together!
AYA is looking forward to another great year with Regenia! Are you interested in becoming a host family or Local Coordinator? Find out more of the benefits of joining the AYA team, here!
Phil Blahut, Missouri
Written by Jihao -
AYA Student, China
"I think he is an amazing LC, even my host family can't believe how good and responsible he is. During the winter he organized a hot chocolate get together with AYA students. And he always calls us or use Wechat to connect with us to know what we have been up to. He even taught us some American traditions and reminded us to prepare a gift for our host mom for Valentine's Day!
We are really grateful for what he had done for us. Thank you Phil!”
Colleen Reid, Michigan
Written by Minona, Germany
"Colleen plans get-togethers each month with her exchange students at her home for ‘Topic Talks’, where we get to talk about different topics. It’s an opportunity for us to share things with each other and what we have been up to during the year and it’s always very helpful and interesting. I think these gatherings are a great idea because I get to meet new people who are in the same situation as I am and we can share our experiences and ideas. She also serves snacks and homemade cakes!
After the get-together I feel more motivated to try new things! I am happy to have her as my LC and I want to thank her for what she has done for me!”
Mallory Morman, Ohio
Written by Lisa Rosener, Germany
“I am most thankful for my Local Coordinator, Mallory. She is always there for me when I have concerns, understands and supports me. We work things out together and I don’t think I could have ever enjoyed the time as much as I have without her efforts to make this the most amazing year.
She is more like a friend than just a Local Coordinator and I would like to give her a huge “thank you” because she deserves it!”
Written by Katharina, Exchange Student
"She invited me and all the other exchange students to a lake house over Thanksgiving! We had a lot of fun together! She is just so wonderful and that makes you feel so good when you know you have somebody who is always there for you! She spends a lot of her free time with us and invites us to go on holidays with her and do activities. I’m so glad I have her as Local Coordinator.
She also made connections between us (exchange students) and that, in my opinion, is so important, because you have somebody who is in the same situation as you and you can always talk to them! I’m so thankful for Jonette and AYA. I found a lot of really good friends for life!"
Congratulations to Jennifer Slater, LC in Illinois, for being awarded LC of The Month for October. Jennifer has been with AYA for a little less than a year, but has proved to be amazing!
One of Jennifer's students, Anastasiya, had some wonderful things to say:
"Jennifer always contacts me to know how I am doing or do I need some help. Also, she always gives me all the information I need. Jennifer tries to help me with any problem, to visit events I am participating in, to make me feel comfortable and just to enjoy my time here. She is very nice, kind, respectful, and reliable."
Awesome job, Jennifer. We are so glad to have you on our team.
Revonda has been a Local Coordinator with us for ten years, dedicating so much of her time to ensuring that our students have an unforgettable experience while here in the United States. With her continued passion for our students and devotion to our program, Revonda has proven to be an outstanding Local Coordinator.
Revonda is a great representative and truly embodies the role of AYA Local Coordinator. We are proud to have Revonda as a part of our mission and value her as an organization!
Rebeckah has been a Local Coordinator with us for two years. With her continued passion for our students and devotion to our program, Rebeckah has proven to be an outstanding Local Coordinator. We are continually impressed with her level of professionalism and willingness to help in any situation!
Rebeckah is a great representative and truly embodies the role of AYA Local Coordinator. We are proud to have Rebeckah a part of our mission and value her as an organization!
Sandra has been a Local Coordinator with us for two years and has consistently proven her determination and commitment to our program. We are continually impressed with the professional, kind- hearted and patient demeanor Sandra portrays in every task that she takes on!
Sandra is a great representative and truly embodies the role of AYA Local Coordinator. We are proud to have Sandra a part of our mission and value her as an organization!
"DeVonna started hosting with AYA back in 2009, and became a Local Coordinator in February
of 2013. DeVonna has proven to be a wonderful host family and coordinator. She has dedicated her time to spreading the AYA mission to various people and schools throughout Minnesota throughout this placement season. Despite some road blocks along the way, DeVonna has not let this stop her from finding wonderful families. She is one of my most responsive Local Coordinators who continually turns in her paperwork in a timely fashion. DeVonna has placed many students this season and has qualified herself and a companion to attend our National Meeting in Portugal. I am very grateful to have DeVonna on our team and am excited to continue working with her throughout the year. Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication. Congratulations, DeVonna - can't wait to meet you in Portugal!" - By Lisa, Regional Director
"As the Regional Director for new LCs, I have had the opportunity to work with Jackie over the past few months, and I am so impressed with her dedication and work ethic! I am thrilled to say that after two months of working tirelessly to place two German students in her local private school, her efforts have paid off and Jackie has placed them both and qualified for the incentive trip to South Beach, FL! Jackie proved to be a responsive and reliable liaison between our office and her school as they worked together for two months to find the right students for their school and then locate host families for them. It was a long, arduous process that most people may have given up on – but not Jackie! Her persistence and drive has paid off and she is now the proud coordinator of two lovely German girls for this fall. I have every confidence that Jackie will exceed her South Beach qualification and we will see her in Portugal! Congratulations Jackie and keep up the great work!" - By Margot, Regional Director
"Ginger has been so helpful to all of us and does so much to make our year great! I am always able to speak openly with Ginger. She respects me and my opinions and explains everything really well. One of my favorite memories was having a sleepover at Ginger's home with all of her other students. It was so much fun! We went out to dinner and then she took us to the movies! I trust Ginger so much and I know that she went above and beyond for all of her students!" - By Sven from Germany
"Ginger is such a great Local Coordinator! Whenever I need her she is always there for me, responding to my emails within minutes. We are able to have both serious conversations and lots of fun together! Ginger has done everything she could to make me feel so comfortable throughout my time here in the United States. I am so glad that she is my Local Coordinator! - By Luis from Germany
"LeeAnn has helped us through our hardest times. She texts us every day and encourages us so much. With LeeAnn as our Local Coordinator, we always know we have someone who stands besides us. LeeAnn is so nice to talk to and I feel comfortable telling her everything! She is so nice and is doing her best work to help us out and gives us a great time in America!" - By Teng from China
Phil Blahut, MO
“Phil is a very engaging and motivating LC who has done a wonderful job since joining the AYA team! Phil has created strong connections with his families and students and has provided a strong support system. Phil is always reliable and working extra hard to promote our organization!” — Ryan, Regional Director, AYA
LC of the Quarter
“Sandra is very creative when it comes to promoting AYA. Over the summer she had a booth at an event called GermanFest in her community where she attracted people to her table by asking people to play the Plinko game and rewarded the participants with candy. She is always putting herself out there and is always thinking outside the box. She does a great job and we are so happy to work with her!” — Jackie Fedor, Regional Developer
“Sandra is always on top of her game and is very consistent with everything that she does. She is a hard worker when it comes to finding families for our students and utilizes our marketing materials to promote AYA through a variety of outlets such as events, social media, newspaper ads, etc. Sandra is dedicated to giving our students the best possible experience they can get during their time here in America by organizing activities and providing excellent support to both the student and their host family. Sandra is an outgoing person and we are lucky to have her as a member of our AYA family!” — Courtney Burnell, Regional Director
LC of the Quarter
Hugh has been a dedicated local coordinator with AYA since 2004 and host father since 1995! Hugh has always been actively involved in recruiting host families and building his network wherever he may be in the US. He has devoted his time to spreading culture and AYA mission to everyone he speaks to. Despite any road blocks during the placement process, Hugh has continuously persevered and always remains positive! His enthusiasm for the program and the students is one of his greatest assets; he takes every chance he gets to speak about our program and touch as many lives as possible.
One of the most recent ways he is reaching out this year, is doing a guest appearance on a radio station in Pennsylvania. Hugh is a very involved local coordinator with great relationships with this students and is always providing an optimal experience to his students with activities and support. Additionally, Hugh volunteers consistently at our student orientations in NYC, is happy to be a mentor to new LCs that are brought on board and helps out in any way he can. Hugh is a great example of someone with a passion for cultural exchange and making our host families and students feel supported through their experience. AYA is so grateful for all that Hugh has done and continues doing!! Congratulations Hugh!
LC of the Quarter
Written by Lisa Fealy, Regional Director
"I am proud to announce that Glenda O'Regan has been selected as Local Coordinator of the Quarter. Glenda has been an LC and has hosted with AYA since 2008 where she has opened her home to two students each year. Glenda has proven to be one of my most reliable Local Coordinators during not only the supervision year, but the placement season. She has always given her all to finding wonderful families, and making sure that all of her students and families have a memorable experience.
Glenda devotes much of her time to spreading the word about hosting exchange students and is a wonderful advocate of our program. Glenda has always made it a point to turn in all of her paperwork in a timely fashion and has assisted AYA in many ways to make sure that our files stay up to date and compliant. This year, Glenda worked hard to place out assignments that had been given to her and ended the placement season with 18 students. I look forward to seeing Glenda again this year at our National Meeting in Portugal. She is a wonderful asset to the AYA team, and I am very thankful for all of her continuous hard work and dedication!"
LC of the Quarter
Written by Lisa Fealy, Regional Director
Joanne Carlisle joined Academic Year in America in April of 2012 where she had enthusiastically jumped right in to the Local Coordinator role. She has dedicated her time to spreading the word of the culture of AYA to those around
her – communities and schools. She strongly believes in AYA's mission and vision to bring the world together. Joanne has placed a number of students this year, and has done a wonderful job supporting her students.
In a difficult time, Joanne is always ready and willing to help. Despite school hurdles, Joanne has always been very persistent and has kept her head held high! She has also done an exceptional job completing and turning in her paperwork in a timely
fashion to help our office stay compliant and complete placements. She is always looking for new ways to broaden her cluster and to show her students what the American culture has to offer. Continually, Joanne has excellent relationships with her families and students! Joanne is a wonderful addition to AYA and I am lucky to work with such a
LC of the Quarter
Written by Michael Falvey and Kate Caren
Liz Vaughn joined Academic Year in America in 2010 as a wonderful host mother. As new worlds opened up for her and her family through her host student, her excitement grew and she quickly felt that this was her calling. She then joined AYA as a Local Coordinator in February of this year.
Liz is open-minded, eager to learn, assertive, and dedicated to our mission - all desirable qualities from the Regional Director’s perspective and AYA as a whole. Liz has proven to have a natural way of relating to the students and getting across what's most important, creating a strong relationship of trust with them. This ability helps during supervision season where Liz has proven to have remarkable skills. She is responsive whenever needed and always keeps her student, family, and also the community in mind while trying to help guide their shared experience down a path which will produce lasting relationships for generations. Liz is compassionate, conscientious and detailed in all her efforts. We are excited that she is part of the AYA family and we look forward to helping her continue to grow as she invests our program throughout her community and so throughout the world.
LC of the Quarter
Nominated by Pieter Hogoboom
Julie Fowler joined Academic Year in America as a Local Coordinator in June of 2011 when she switched from another foreign exchange organization. Julie has so much passion for this program and for the exchange students in general. She placed over 15 students this year and converted every assignment that she took. Even though
at times she ran into difficulties with certain public high schools, it did not stop her from finding ways to place all of her students. She is one of the most responsive coordinators we have and always turns in her paperwork in a
timely fashion to help us complete placements quickly. Additionally, she has a wonderful relationship with all of her students and host families alike and has earned herself the opportunity to travel to Panama and France this year as a result of all her hard work! She is a wonderful addition to the AYA family and I truly enjoy working with her on a daily basis.
Julie recently told me this story about getting the word out in her area: "I had an LC from another company one day at the airport ask me how many kids I place. When I told her 17 this year, but I usually average 20-25, she was astonished! She came back to me a few minutes later and asked if I could tell her how I do it! After a minute of reflecting, my answer was this....'Know everything you can about the program. Study the DOS rules and regulations. Then, BELIEVE in the program!!! Your enthusiasm should make them want to host a student!'"
Written by Penny Alexander
Terri Rogers joined Academic Year in America in August 2011 where she graciously
opened up her home to two Grant students, one from Pakistan and one from Egypt.
After hosting, Terri became a Local Coordinator and dedicated her time to spreading the word and the culture of AYA to people and schools in her reach. She brought an area that had very little contact with foreign exchange students to being one that is welcoming the students with open arms. Terri was later able to conquer the school in her area by getting them to double their quota of students they originally said they'd accept. When a difficult situation presented itself, Terri was there and she immediately jumped right in and was
able to re-place four students within two weeks time. Terri is a motivated, dedicated, passionate local coordinator and we are lucky to have her on board.
From the very beginning Terri has been enthusiastic about the program and getting the students in her cluster involved within the community and immersed in American culture. She has done a number of enriching activities
with her students, such as volunteering to serve meals, food drives, preparing for an international festival for the Youth Group, participating in an international panel with the Humphrey Scholars from Cornell University
and an afternoon of visiting the ARC, the Association for Retarded Citizens where students participated in workshops. Terri likes a challenge and is a wonderful advocate for the students. Terri continues to do an
exceptional job and we are very thankful for all of her hard work!
Region: South Carolina
Years in Services: 3+ Years
How Dina builds strong relationship with students and host families... "I really enjoy getting to know each student and each host family - we all have a common interest! I have a lot of parties/get-togethers at my house July - October so everyone has a chance to come over and get to know everyone else in the group. We are our own little "AYA" family and everyone seems to get along perfectly - all of the families support each other and help each other ALL the time! We are together on the weekends doing things all the time!!"
Years in Services: 2+ Years
One of Laurie's most successful community service projects:
Last year a group of four girls sewed 12 dresses in one day for the Little Dresses for Africa Project that PBS personality Nancy Zieman sponsors. It was a Global Youth Service Project. All four girls had been enrolled in a fashion design class at Oak Park High School and were eager to test their skills. With borrowed sewing machines, a little help from their LC and some Oreo cookies and tea it was fun and productive
Years in Services: 5 Years
Two of Nancy's top cultural activities: Trips to the Park or Mall - My students do a survey of languages being spoken around them by others who visit those venues. Sometimes
my students strike up conversations with foreign people and they learn
much about the diversity of America. The students are always thrilled
with these trips and can not stop talking about them!
Horseback Riding - Every year I take my students horse back riding and they learn about Free Market
Economy. Anne, who owns the horse farm, was a HS exchange student to Finland in the 1970's and learned to ride horses English style while there.
Years in Services: 6+ Years
On community service projects
"We recently had a horseback riding social. The
coordinator for LifeSavers Therapeutic Riding
Center, Carly gave the kids horseback riding class.
She also needs volunteers, so she spoke with the
families and students about the organization."
Region: North Carolina
Years in Services: 3+ Years
"In my 3 years as a Local Coordinator, the most important thing that I
have learned is to be appreciative. I make sure that either I am at the
airport (or I have a friend/long time exchange family) meet my families
at the airport when our students arrive. As soon as the families get
in the car to leave..I send them a quick text thanking them for opening
up their homes to one of my students and reminding them that I am
Years in Services: 4+ Years
On building strong relationships with students and host families:
"I have a meeting with the families prior to the arrival of the
students. At this time they have an opportunity to share fears,
questions and get to know each other. Once the student
arrives I go to the home and meet with the student to make
sure they are ok with the trip here and the family they are with."
Years in Services: 11+ Years
Anita Quotables - On cultural activities:
"We took a trip that revolved around the theme of Abraham Lincoln. We started out in our city of Fort Wayne, Indiana by visiting the Lincoln Museum. This is a very hands on museum and since many of the students take U.S. History, it helped bring to life some of the things they learned in class. We then traveled to
both Kentucky and Illinois to visit the childhood home of Lincoln and to retrace the route he took when he traveled by train during the year of his election. The students were also able to visit the place where he stood to make his famous
Years in Services: 4+ Years
"Working with the youth of the world in the AYA, FLEX, and YES
Programs has opened eyes all around my region to the fact that we
are not the only ones in the world. People in my area, schools, and
even my own home have a wider outlook on what is going on in the
Years in Services: 2+ Years
"The most rewarding community and volunteer service for my students has been spending time with the elderly at the assisted living and nursing homes. Though it was somewhat difficult for some, because they had not experienced being around elderly people before, the students found it to be rewarding as they received expressions of appreciation for doing a variety of things with them such
as putting nail polish on the ladies' nails, reading them stories, going for walks, helping them with their meals, sharing with them about their countries, and just being their offering them friendship, kind words and smiles."
Years in Services: 8+ Years
"I always try to be involved in both the Host families and students lives. This can mean supporting them in sports activities, family events or just being a shoulder
to lean on when they need encouragement. I always try to give them 100%. I have also tried to be a big part of the Orientations we have for all the students. I
have always tried to be a supportive Local Coordinator and friend to all my Regional directors and also the AYA Staff."
Region: Washington State
Years in Services: 5+ Years
Tony Quotables - On being inducted:
"I've become known in my area as a person who runs a premiere program and I am starting to get people calling me wanting to be a part of our program. Students and families always comment on how they appreciate the ongoing support and availability and the many activities that we provide for our students and families to