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Cultural Homestay International gives back to the local community

Jan 10, 2020

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Over the 2019 holiday season, exchange students gave back as a thank you to the community that is playing host to them. Program Administrator of Cultural Homestay International (CHI), Michelle Stage, met with 64 exchange students in Murfreesboro in December 2019 to drop off donations to the local representative of the Department of Children Services (DCS). CHI also took over 50 jackets to Duck River Gear Headz for their coat drive for the homeless.

Although CHI have previously carried out donation programs in other countries, Stage wanted to do something for the immediate local community. “One year we bought shoes for kids in Uganda but I thought we could do something a little different, something local,” she said. The idea was to show the community that the exchange students give back to the community they stay in for the year. “A lot of people don’t know that the exchange students give back a lot to the community, when in fact they often realize small acts of kindness for their host families and the community when they can.”

Stage said she was inspired to help the local DCS when she talked to a DCS worker. The worker said that since kids are given a limited supply from their home, DCS has a closet that is available for anyone to grab what they need, but it is starting to get a little empty. According to Stage, the students come from various countries including Belgium, France, Russia and China and only go to school for the school year, 10 months, while on an education visa. Stage said she wants everyone to see that the exchange students want to give back to the community.

“They love being here. I have three at Tullahoma High School this year and if they could, they would move here. They love the high school.” Items that were donated were clothes, shoes, toothbrushes, tooth paste, hair supplies, coloring books, coloring pencils, deodorants. All the items were from a list of supplies provided by DCS.

Anyone interested in hosting an exchange student can email CHI at care@chinet.org.

Original source: Kyle Murphy, tullahomanews.com.

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