Host families needed for exchange students

Canada World Youth (CWY) is coming back to Red Deer and is looking for two host families to welcome youth this December.

CWY is a national non-profit organization that offers communities and youth international educational experiences.

Through CWY youth gain valuable work experience, leadership and employment skills, and increase their knowledge of issues affecting families and communities around the world.

“Canada World Youth’s programs contribute to the achievement of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, particularly in the fields of environment, health and equity,” said Robin McKay, resource person.

Jolene Helgason, project supervisor, said the project this year in Nicaragua is working in a village of about 100 people to help improve their food security.

This year, CWY is seeking host families once again for Canadian and Nicaraguan youth.

Each host family will welcome two youth, one Nicaraguan and one Canadian, from Dec. 16 until March 11, 2012. Two host families are still required in Red Deer.

“We look for families who want to learn more about different cultures and are interested in welcoming the volunteers into their homes as if they are family,” said McKay.

Since 1971 when the project began, more than 33,000 youth from Canada and around the world have participated in the CWY projects.

“Once we arrive in Red Deer, the youth will be volunteering at non-government organizations throughout Red Deer from Monday to Wednesday, and continuing their weekly educational activity days on Thursdays and Fridays,” said Helgason.

If organizations have a project that could use the help from the group of 20, Helgason said to let CWY know.

Some of the organizations that the youth will be working with include Loaves and Fishes, Central Alberta Refugee Effort, the Red Deer Food Bank Society, the Red Deer Native Friendship Society, The Hub on Ross, Central Alberta AIDS Network Society, and Habitat for Humanity, Red Cross as well as the Central Alberta Diversity Association.

Throughout the three months in Red Deer, the youth will also give presentations about their experiences in Nicaragua.

From 2009 – 2014, CWY has joined with partner organizations in 14 countries throughout the world to run the Youth Leaders in Action programs. The partner program in Nicaragua was chosen and this is the second time the partnership is running in Red Deer.

“For Nicaraguans, it will be their first time in a cold climate so arriving on December 16th might be a bit of a shock for them,” said McKay.

The youth are already looking forward to experiencing Canadian culture and seeing how the holidays are celebrated in Red Deer.

“Canada World Youth is a life changing program and through it the volunteers engage in a journey of self discovery by learning and improving on many skills including communication, language and adaptability,” said McKay.

For more information and a list of ways you can help contact Robin McKay at (403) 343-7899 or

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