Parents are needed to sponsor foreign exchange students and the economy may be putting a damper on volunteers who are afraid of the extra expense, says Stan Wolenski, a Pecan Grove resident and a representative of Cultural Academic Student Exchange (CASE).
Wolenski says the cost of providing a home for these students is nominal. “They come with an allowance and insurance, so the cost is nominal and the rewards are phenomenal,” Wolenski says.
CASE is a non-profit organization dedicated to placing foreign exchange students with American host families. All students arrive with their own spending money and insurance and all the host family needs to do is provide a loving home, food and board. As an incentive, current IRS regulations allow a $50 per month tax credit for the host families.
“Due to current economic conditions we have many students who have not been placed. Our students hail from countries such as Vietnam, China, Germany, Brazil and many other Asian, European and South American countries. They are generally exceptionally well behaved.
Since these kids do not speak perfect English, although most do speak English, and can’t drive, they are somewhat at your mercy. They usually adhere to the rules quite well,” he laughed.
Host families must undergo a background check to rule out drug use and other crimes of moral turpitude. Most people sail through the qualification process, which usually takes about a week to complete.
For additional information on the program, contact Wolenski at 832-875-7888 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.