by Jillian Sims, Compliance and Operations Manager, J-1 High School Programs

Janette, students, and fellow coordinators have breakfast on a farm in Michican

As part of an enhancement activity, Janette, students, and fellow coordinators have breakfast on a farm in Michigan

Janette may be a little new to the local coordinator position, but it isn’t stopping her from having a blast with all five of her students this year! Of course, this isn’t to say she she was completely unprepared for the task. Janette first started her journey in the cultural exchange world as a host family.

Then, watching how the local coordinators in her school were having such a great time with their students, she thought to herself “I could be having fun with a bunch of them!”

Through her own hosting experience, she had also seen ways in which she could provide even more assistance to other host families like her by becoming an LC (Local Coordinator). In this way, Janette came to CCI Greenheart and found herself placing and monitoring seven students within just a little over a year’s experience of being an LC.

Janette and students volunteering at a local emergency services pancake breakfast

Janette and students volunteering with local emergency services, serving pancake breakfast to the community

Not only through hosting, but also by being a coordinator, Janette has been building memories with her family and students. She recalls a great universal moment, common among many in the community of hosting and coordinating;  “I have had so many great moments, but the best is hearing your student call you ‘mom’ for the first time.” There have been other things too, like playing charades and volunteering, but nothing comes close to receiving such an endearing moniker. Janette has also recently become a   Grant Programs local coordinator and partially through working with our grant student, she has been active in finding volunteering opportunities for this and her other students. These experiences add a deeper level to the exchange and Janette and her students have become true members of the community.

“I have been a grant LC for only a few months, but I tend to coordinate my Academic Year Program students into activities that my Grant student is required so they have the benefit also. We are a big family here in Michigan. We beautified the town that I live in this spring; we pulled weeds, planted flowers, picked up trash and made it beautiful in the area, and the kids have a great time.”

Janette loves showing her students what it is to be a family in America, trying at every opportunity to find ways of sharing our way of life and showing them our country and all it has to offer to new eyes.

She offers this sage advice that seems to go well for both host families and coordinators, “Always listen to your kids, be a part of their lives and their memories here in the USA, and they will bond and make you a very happy LC!”

Janette's students helping out at a community pancake breakfast

Janette’s students helping out at a community pancake breakfast

Speaking of her two students from last year, Janette recalls that moment that all host families, local coordinators, and students have at the end of each year, “I believe that when I said ‘goodbye’ to students this spring, and tears of happiness and much sadness filled both our eyes, I knew I had created relationships all of the world that would last a long time. What a wonderful feeling!”

Interested in becoming an local coordinator yourself and joining in on the fun and experience of a lifetime? Check out our website to learn more: http://www.cci-exchange.com/localcoordinator/