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641 S St NW Suite 200



YFU Blog - Recent stories about Youth for Understanding

Jim and Martha Fields - Volunteers & Host Parents - Virginia


Duties: Evaluating student applications, other activities

Soon after retiring, Martha responded to an ad in the local newspaper and began volunteering for YFU. Today, Jim and Martha Fields have a combined 17 years of volunteer service to YFU.  She enjoys reading and evaluating student applications and believes her efforts help "to make a peaceful world."

"Exchange gives kids a good idea of the U.S. rather than what they just see on TV". She also enjoys interacting with other volunteers and learning about their varying backgrounds. Jim learned about YFU through Martha and began his volunteering as an interviewer. He looks forward to talking and connecting with prospective students during the interviews and hearing their varying views on diversity, which ranges from "insightful to occasionally humorous."

Jim and Martha went from being volunteers to later becoming YFU host parents. Martha recalls, after working on some profiles, thinking "this is a neat kid; I wouldn't mind having him live with us". She brought some student profiles home for Jim to look through and they picked their first student to host. Martha recalls, "I realized, after picking up our first exchange student from the airport, how extraordinary it was that the student's parents had entrusted their kid to us." Since hosting their first exchange student, Jim and Martha have hosted several permanent and temporary students and they remain in contact with most of their former students.

Through their experience with YFU, Jim and Martha see the value and impact of homestay exchange programs. "It opens your eyes to a new view of the world, it builds confidence and it gives kids more self-assurance and awareness."

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