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   Commentary by Melissa Taylor

   My name is Melissa Taylor, and I am the local Area Representative for the Center for Cultural Interchange, (CCI GREENHEART) a Chicago based non-profit organization that sponsors and places high school exchange students with volunteer host families in the United States for the academic semester or year.
   I am writing to ask for your assistance in identifying qualified families that might be interested in cultural exchange and volunteering to host a high school exchange student.
   This is a great mission project for your church or organization to consider. You are taking in a child that may or may not know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. You have the opportunity to plant that seed and watch it grow. Who knows, when this child goes back to his/her home country how many people this could reach. I hope that you will include this as part of your mission field and help find families to host a student this coming up school year.
   Volunteer host families provide the meals for the exchange student and a place to stay (a student must have his or her own bed in either a separate room or in a shared room with a host sibling of similar age and same gender).
   Students have their own spending money to cover personal expenses and have accident and health insurance through the program. Host families are not compensated for hosting a high school exchange student per U.S. Department of State regulations. However, families are eligible for a modest tax deduction for each month they host a student.
   We are currently seeking host families for several 15-18 year old boys and girls from countries such as Germany, Belgium, Taiwan, Vietnam, Hungary, Poland, Colombia, Brazil and China. I will be more than happy to forward you bios of some of the students to review. We do our best to match students with host families based on similar hobbies and interests in order to ease the student’s transition into U.S. family life and culture.
   Who can host a student?
   CCI host families come in all shapes and sizes and represent the diversity of American culture. Our families are of varied economic, religious and racial backgrounds and include working parents, couples without children, singles and single parents, adoptive parents, empty-nesters, in addition to the traditional nuclear family.
   All host families complete an application and must clear a background check.
   Please let me know if I can place an announcement in your church newsletter or bulletin or come and speak to you about CCI and hosting an exchange student.
   More information about CCI can also be found on our website at
CCI is designated by the United States Department of State as a J-1 Exchange Visitor Program Sponsor for the Secondary School program. CCI is currently granted full listing by the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET).
   We are also a member of the World Youth Student and Educational Travel Confederation: Global Work Experience Association, and The Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange.

Please send all inquiries to Melissa Taylor 662-217-2728 or e-mail:

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