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Sierra Homestay Needs Room For 4 More

This is a note from Coarsegold resident Bruce Howard who together with his wife Lori Howard are promoting nonprofit organization Sierra Homestay. They’re looking to fill a few precious spots and want to hear from residents who are interested.

Dear Friends: For the past 6 years, Lori and I have brought Chinese students to the Eastern Madera County region and it has been a positive experience on all fronts.

This summer we are expecting 39 students (ages 13-18) from July 20 – Aug. 2. Our problem is… we still have 3 boys and 1 girl that need a home to stay in.

The criteria we have for a great Host Family is…”Would I want my child to stay in this home”? If the answer is YES… then we would really like to hear from you/them ASAP.

Sierra Homestay - final performance 2011 - Photo Courtesy Sierra HomestayThe students will be meeting Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4p.m at Sierra Vista Presbyterian Church in Oakhurst. We have families in Raymond, Coarsegold, Bass Lake, Ahwahnee and Oakhurst that can help with carpooling.

The students will have 18 hours of English/American Culture (they are all fair to excellent in their English language skills). They spend two days in San Francisco, July 19 and Aug. 2, take two trips to Yosemite and a have a few additional “surprise” cultural elements added to their program.

Weekends are the time for the students and families to do what is “normal” in a “normal American family.” We will be encouraging the students to “chip-in” with family chores – pick-up dishes, make beds, feed pets – as this is part of our American culture.

Sierra Homestay - Courtesy of Sierra HomestayAll students come with medical insurance.

We ask that the Host Family provide:
1) a bed
2) 3 meals a day (one being a sack lunch)
3) transportation to and from the study center (Sierra Vista Presbyterian Church)

We are happy to work with you if any of these needs can’t be met, for example carpooling, needing a bed.

We have found that when Host families are paid to host students, the experience of hosting turns into a “hotel” experience. We remind students that families are not being paid to host.

The families host so that they can learn more about China. We want the students to learn about how the people of America live and to share our culture.

Sierra Homestay - 2011 - girls singing at the shopping center - Courtesy Kellie FlanaganOur goal is for these students to leave with a positive impression of America and the people that live here.

We do give the families $75 in Vons gift cards to help defray food and gas costs. We can place 1-2 students per home.

If you and/or someone you know have the time (even 1 week and we can find a 2nd family to take the second week) and can help us with these “saving the best for last” students or have any additional questions, please let us know.

Thank you so much for your consideration.

Bruce Howard
Sierra Homestay

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