Host family desperately needed for Webster exchange student

13 Apr

The Association for Teen-age Diplomats (ATAD) is looking for a Webster family to host a high school-aged exchange student from Spain for the next school year, and time is running out.

ATAD was created after World War II by a group of Kodak employees. They wanted to come up with some way to foster world peace and thought that if the world’s young people got to know each other, there would be less war. They started bringing exchange students to Rochester in the 1950s.

Most years, ATAD will host five to ten students hailing from France, Italy, Germany, Russia, Peru, Poland, Spain and Turkey. Only three are coming this year. Laura, from Marratxi Spain (a small village near Mallorca) is one of them, and she still doesn’t have a host family.

Laura is 15 years old, and is interested in English, math, volleyball, playing piano and ukulele, singing and drawing. According to her bio on the ATAD website, she’s great with younger children, and loves to laugh and go on vacations. She’s been studying English for 12 years, but would like to get even better at it when she’s here.

Thanks to all of the paperwork involved — including procuring a visa — time is getting short to place Laura before the next school year begins. It would be great to see someone here in Webster step up and help this young lady get the experience of a lifetime.

Becoming a host family is easy, and really requires very little more than providing room, board and love. The visiting student doesn’t even need a private bedroom or any spending money.

You can find answers to many questions on the ATAD website, but here’s some helpful info:

  • students bring their own spending money and have their own insurance
  • families generally include the visiting student on family trips, and the students sometimes have their own money to pay for it
  • ATAD hosts a few social gatherings during the school year so host families can meet other families
  • each student has a program chair assigned to manage any problems — large or small — which come up. The ATAD volunteer network is ready to step in and help with any issues that arise.
  • host families do not have to have any other children
  • all visiting students know English well
  • families are not provided a stipend for hosting a student
  • students do not pay room and board

For more information, visit the ATAD website or email Suzanne Isgrigg, Vice President for Host Families, at

Let’s find this young lady a host home, Webster peeps! When I was chatting with Suzanne at Community Arts Day, she told me, “Webster has always been my best go-to place for my host families.” Let’s show her that she can rely on us to come through again.

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