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YFU Blog - Recent stories about Youth for Understanding

Aurora Cerron - Exchange Student - Lima, Peru


An international exchange student to Adrian, Michigan

A Four-Decade-in-the-Making Letter To My Host Father


Aurora Cerron is a 1969/1970 YFU alumna from Peru.  The Bonner family of Adrian, Michigan hosted Aurora during her YFU program. Despite long distances and time apart, Aurora and her host parents remained close for decades following her exchange year. In 1976, the Bonners visited Peru to meet her family; Aurora subsequently visited the Bonners in Michigan four more times – she was joined by her two children during a 1997 visit.

The letter below was composed by Aurora congratulating her host dad on his 90th birthday. Sadly, W. Leigh Bonner passed away two weeks after receiving the letter. It was read aloud at his funeral service with more than 100 in attendance. W. Leigh is survived by his wife Mrs. Lois Bonner, pictured below with Aurora during a recent visit to the United States.

Lima, Peru - October 22, 2010

Dear Dad,

Happy Birthday to you, Dad!!! Ninety years old!!! And 40 great years of being in contact!!!

The year 1970 – it seems like yesterday, when Mr. McGrath talked to you about me and I moved in with you and Mom. I will never forget that day. The driveway was full of snow, and as soon as I arrived to your house I felt at home in Clarkston. Now that I look back, I can share with you and Mom that the time I spent with you and my teachers and classmates at Clarkston Senior High was one of the most important and rewarding years in my life. Your example, values, and principles have helped me in my personal and professional life. These days, I can proudly see those same values in my children, Tito and Diana. I am so, so grateful for it.

In these 40 years, a lot has happened, and I have shared with you and Mom the happy and sad moments in my life. You smiled at my successes and encouraged me during difficult times, and in the absence of my own parents you became even closer to me. Thank you very much for being there!!!

You and Mom are in our prayers. Take care and God Bless You!!!

With all my love and gratitude and that of Tito and Diana,


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