Earn the President's Volunteer Service Award by Volunteering with Education, Travel & Culture this Upcoming School Year

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Volunteering with ETC and earning the PVSA award is just one of the many benefits of hosting an exchange student. The Paddock Family share their experience hosting an ETC student and encourage others to make lifelong friendships and unforgettable memories.

The Paddock Host Family and Sae

We developed a lasting friendship with Sae and his family and we continue to stay in touch to this day.

The President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) is the prestigious volunteer award that recognizes United States citizens who have achieved the required number of hours of service in a 12 month period or cumulative hours over the course of a lifetime. ETC host families and siblings can earn the PVSA by hosting an ETC exchange student for 5 or 10 months. The awards are offered in multiple levels and are designed to recognize each milestone of your service achievement. Host siblings as young as 5 years old can earn either a bronze, silver or gold award. Along with the premier honor of receiving the PVSA, recipients receive a personalized certificate, an official pin, and a congratulatory letter from the president of the United States. Having the PVSA award on a college application or resume can set you apart from the competition. Colleges and organizations love to see students who find a specific area of interest and can give back to the community.

For criteria and eligibility requirements visit http://www.presidentialserviceawards.gov

ETC host families host for several different reasons. Some decide to host to increase their family’s cultural awareness or to learn a new language, and others host to experience what it’s like to parent a teen, to have a positive role model for their children, or to simply help make a student’s dream come true. Hosting an exchange student is a priceless investment. Your most important contribution is far from monetary. It comes from your heart—a willingness to open your home, welcome a student to our country, and make them feel like a true member of the family. For Josh and Marianne Paddock, host parents in Colorado Springs, CO, hosting was all about sharing the American dream and creating lasting relationships.

“It was meant to be. We did not intend to host an exchange student since we already have four kids and four fur babies. It all started when I was browsing on a networking page where I stumbled upon a post about a boy from Korea looking for a host family. I showed the post to my husband who happened to be a retired Korean linguist in the US Marine Corps. When he was young, he too was as an exchange student in Norway and he had an amazing time. We thought, how nice would it be to share that experience with this wonderful child named Sae Young. Here’s the best part, he didn’t mind a hectic household with crazy Golden Retrievers and even had a request that he wanted siblings considering he is an only child with a pet hedgehog.

Little did we know the experience will create a huge impact to all of us. Just a perfect peg in a round hole! He fit right in as if he was ours. He immediately warmed up to our lifestyle and even the way we communicate which is full of puns, sarcasm, and jokes. Sae and our younger boys have so much in common in their preferred sports, their food preference, the music they listen to, and much more. He witnessed the election and the Denver Broncos winning the Super Bowl. He even sang Karaoke with us! Sae learned American slangs and has become like his silly host brothers. He went from bowing with hands together to begging for hugs, from being quiet to throwing punch lines, and even giving gag gifts.

We created wonderful memories at home and traveled to 15 states with Sae. We developed a lasting friendship with Sae and his family and we continue to stay in touch to this day. One year seems like a long time. I suggest not paying attention to it. Instead, live your lives as it is and have fun with the experience. I am teary-eyed just remembering the day he left to go back to Korea. It was harder than we thought it would be for us and Sae. We are thankful he chose us and we will hold on to those memories forever.”

About Education, Travel & Culture:
Education Travel & Culture is a non-profit [501(c)(3)] educational exchange organization. Its purpose is to promote international understanding and goodwill by providing high quality educational and cultural exchange programs in the United States and abroad. ETC provides inbound program opportunities for high school students throughout the world to study in an American high school and live with an American family. Part time, telecommute positions are also available. If you have a passion for education, travel, and culture, then join our team!
For more information, FAQs or to apply to become a host family or Local Coordinator, visit http://www.edutrav.org or email Field Director, Brenda Ferland at bferland(at)edutrav.org

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Brenda Ferland

Sarah Rohler
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Education, Travel & Culture
since: 06/2011
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