As Valentine’s day approaches, let us give credit where credit is due: our incredible host families! WE LOVE YOU! We appreciate each and every host family who has joined us in this journey – let us share just a few of their stories with you!
It’s a Twin Thing!
What’s more fun than hosting an exchange student?
Doing it alongside your TWIN SISTER!
The energetic young-at-heart retired couple, Carren and Sid Cavanaugh, had so much fun hosting exchange students multiple years in a row that the idea soon caught on! Charon, Carren’s twin sister who lives nearby, decided to get in on the fun as well! Carren and Sid have hosted 6 students with iE, and Charon and her husband Robert have hosted 2!
“They are both just incredible couples,” shares coordinator Angie Roye. “Truly genuine people!”
Angie has loved getting to know both the Cavanaughs and the Coffmans, and she shares that the sisters are very much alike in terms of temperament and energy.
“They’re the kind of people everyone wants to be around,” shares Angie. “They’re very involved with their students, and they run circles around me with all the activities they do!”
The students hosted have been appreciative too – they stay in touch, develop great relationships, and come back to visit every year.
“They’re super interested and engaged, because they truly care,” shares Angie.
“World’s Best American Dad”
In the beginning, Greg Hopkins wondered if a student would become bored at a host home with a single host dad. Now, as Greg continues his 4th year hosting, nothing could have been further from the truth!
“Each of Greg’s students have had a really amazing experience,” shares coordinator Becky Watters. “He receives ‘Father’s Day’ presents from his former students; referring to him as their “American Dad’.”
Though Greg doesn’t have any children of his own, he HAS been in the education field for over 20 years.
“He truly has a passion for young people and helping them achieve success,” shares Becky. “And he really enjoys the experience of having iE students as part of his family.”
Though the Lenzemeiers (including 2 young sons!) are brand new to hosting, they jumped right in, sweeping their student Javier along in an active lifestyle that keeps the family rockin’.
“They are really active and family-oriented,” shares coordinator Jessica Lane, “but they have this wonderful easy-going vibe about them. It never feels stressed out.”
Since the Lenzemeier family is relatively new to their home in Colorado Springs, they became quickly excited about exploring their new home turf alongside an exchange student!
“They’re really active, and that’s what I think is so great,” shares Jessica. “It gives them an opportunity to get out, be together; and everybody has fun when you get out!”
An Open Door
Mel, Doreen and Cody Patterson began hosting a few years in response to a need for an emergency host home.
“They immediately stepped up and took the girl in and quickly made her feel at home,” remembers coordinator Charlotte Powell.
Soon after, yet another student was in need, and once again the Patterson family took him in without a second thought. The next year, remembers Charlotte, they chose a student to host for the whole year and loved every minute of it.
“Mid-year, I was telling them about how I was looking for a home for a young German student in need of an emergency placement,” remembers Charlotte. “An hour later I got a call. They would take him in as well.”
Charlotte shares that the Patterson family has such a heart for students in need of a fresh start, and that each student they have hosted have truly found a second family with them.
“They are willing to accept each student as the wonderfully unique individual they are,” shares Charlotte. “They truly want to share their lives with the students, but most of all, they genuinely care that these students feel loved.”
Always Room for One More!
Melissa and Dave Hamilton are an active couple who love kids. They have a full schedule – Melissa is a science teacher, coach and advisor for the student panel of Athens Area Community Foundation, and Dave is a contractor and president of the boost club. And though they have an active lifestyle with 3 children of their own, they have loved adding an exchange student to the mix as well.
“The Hamiltons are a busy family but always have time for their kids,” shares coordinator Diane Casselman – and that includes their exchange students!
Diane shares that this family “works” so well as a host family because they truly care. This means real relationship every single time!
“They have fun with their students and truly make them a part of their family,” shares Diane.
In it Together
Billy and Carolyn Lowe have hosted a total of 7 students with iE, often hosting 2 at a time! They’re currently hosting Jannik from Germany and Iker from Spain.
“They welcomed their boys with open arms,” shares Regional Director Charli Harris, “and enthusiastically participate in any and all activities whether it be sporting events, holiday events or simply playing board games together as a family.”
Charli shares that the Lowe family is “all in” with their students, supporting them the way they would their own children.
“I truly appreciate their caring nature and sharing the best of American culture with their students!”