Got a spare room? Ithaca Rotary needs exchange student host families!

Two international students coming to live in the Ithaca area for the upcoming school year need places to live, and the Rotary Club of Ithaca is looking for host families who can house them for a few months each.

Last year's Rotary exchange students Anup from India and Duda from Brazil speak to club members about their experiences in Ithaca. Photo provided.

Last year’s Rotary exchange students Anup from India and Duda from Brazil speak to club members about their experiences in Ithaca. Photo provided.

Host families don’t have to be affiliated with Rotary to host Rotary exchange students. They’re asked to provide room and board for a student for three to four months, “which makes for a manageable commitment and gives the student experiencing family life from multiple perspectives,” say organizers.

Hosts are asked to treat and include the visiting student just as they would their own child. Families in the past have “run the full spectrum of possibilities” including those with small children, “empty nesters” and retired couples, families with high school aged children, same sex partners, and single-parent families.

Host families may not be on public assistance and must live in the Ithaca City School District. (Other local clubs bring students to the area, too, if you don’t live in ICSD.) Becoming a host family will include filing an online application with two references, having a criminal background check completed, a home inspection, and a two-hour Department of State orientation. There’s no charge to become a host family, and no compensation. Students have a supply of emergency money available to them that’s held by the club treasurer. The club provides guidance and support to the students and families, and an allowance to the students.

Rotary’s motto is “Service Before Self.” The area Rotary Clubs host a fundraising pancake breakfast on election day each fall, and exchange students visiting the U.S. always help out at the meal.

For more info or to apply, contact Ithaca Rotary youth exchange committee chair Erick Schnell at 607-280-0891, or Marshall McCormick at 607-280-0455 or marshall@fwm.io.

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