Hello, I am Roni Samaras Sutton, the daughter of Betty Keener Samaras, granddaughter of Claud and Violet Keener and cousin of Gertrude Beal. I currently live in Roanoke, VA and am employed by Foreign Links Across the Globe, also known as FLAG. FLAG brings high school aged students from all over the world to study for a year in the US. FLAG has instituted a partnership program with non-profit organizations to give referral donations for recruiting host families or Local Coordinators. Local Coordinators are responsible for recruiting, vetting and supporting host families for the students. I am a Chapter Leader who hires and manages Local Coordinators. I am hoping to not only build a team of three to five LCs in the Greensboro/Winston Salem/High Point area, but also a team in the Chapel Hill/Durham area. In fact, I have hired one Local Coordinator in Chapel Hill and she is well on her way to placing her first student, a young lady from Japan.

FLAG’s referral program is generous. For each LC who is referred, hired and has placed the first student, organizations are given a donation in the amount of $300.00. For each host family who is vetted and who commits to take a specific student, organizations are paid $100.00. If you know of a family who would enjoy hosting a foreign exchange student or if you know of someone in the area who is looking for flexible, part time contract work, please contact me. Be sure to tell me that you are from New Garden Friends Meeting so that the referral is appropriately assigned.

Hosting a student is fun and surprisingly easy. It’s great for empty nesters, families with small children or families with teens. Single parents can be host families as well. The students must have safe living conditions and the family must provide three meals a day. Students may share a bedroom with a host sibling as long as they don’t have to share a bed.

The application process is easy and free. I can personally attest to how fulfilling it is to be a host parent. My husband and I have hosted for the past 7 years. We added a total of 13 sons and daughters to our family. We still keep in touch with them and several have been back to visit us. In fact, one who is from Pakistan, has come back twice.

While I am targeting this area, I am not limited to it. So, if you know of someone outside of NC looking for part time work or a family who would be a great host family, please let me know that as well. Finally, if you are affiliated with a local high school as a parent, faculty or staff member and can introduce me to the person responsible for making decisions about foreign exchange admissions, I would greatly appreciate your input. I can be reached at ronibluebrickbuilding@gmail.com, 540 815 6618 (mobile) or 540 947 5228 (home). For more information on FLAG, please visit www.flag-intl.org.