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News - Youth For Understanding USA

Latest news about Youth for Understanding USA student exchange programs worldwide – Events – Partnerships.

Longtime Volunteer Recognized with International Award

Jennifer McKendree

Longtime Volunteer Recognized with International Award

Terri Elms named ‘International Volunteer of the Year’ for intercultural education nonprofit YFU


Washington, DC (January 11, 2016) – Each year the global Youth For Understanding (YFU) community nominates a volunteer from its network for the YFU International Volunteer Award. This award celebrates the volunteer, who, through their creativity, activities, and commitment to YFU’s mission and values, contributed significantly to advance growth and development to YFU programs and people to facilitate participant learning, support, and care. The 2015 recipient of this award was YFU USA’s volunteer nominee, Terri Elms from Colorado.

Elms’ selection as the YFU International Volunteer of the Year was announced at a recent YFU National Directors Meeting in Rome, Italy and presented to her as part of YFU USA’s Western Region Volunteer Conference in Santa Fe, NM last month.

In her nomination, Morgan McKibben, Field Director for the Rockies Field, wrote, “Terri has an extensive 20-year history with YFU as both a volunteer and host parent. In her current volunteering capacity she serves as the Denver Area Coordinator and recently planned a large orientation that encompassed the entire state of Colorado and southern Wyoming. As many volunteers do, Terri lives and breathes YFU. She is known by her volunteer peers and YFU staff for her giving heart and nature, excellent organizational and leadership skills, kind demeanor, taking initiative, and for the endless hours she gives to YFU. She is an amazing asset and truly is the heart of the Rockies.”

According to Elms, “To me, YFU means connecting with people, irrespective of whether they are in my community, or on the other side of the world. I feel as though I have had the opportunity to play a vital role in the lives of international students at a very important time in their lives. I maintain my commitment to the organization because YFU is a family. It is a global, multicultural family spanning neighborhoods, states, countries, cultures, and generations. As the YFU community builds upon itself, the world becomes smaller and we all gain.”

“For more than 60 years, YFU has successfully carried out its mission thanks to the efforts of thousands of volunteers across the country and many more around the globe. At YFU we believe cultural exchange opens minds and hearts, enables learning that transforms lives, and ultimately helps to make us citizens of one world. None of this could be done without dedicated volunteers like Terri. Upon learning of her selection as the international volunteer of the year, I couldn’t wait to get back to the US and surprise her with this exciting news,” said Michael E. Hill, President & CEO of YFU.