This week’s meeting featured Rotarian Lou Mello, zooming in from Mt. Pleasant and the Mt. Pleasant Rotary Club. Lou is the District Chair for the Rotary Youth Exchange program.
The Rotary Youth Exchange program allows high school students to visit, live, and go to school in another country. This program is a non-profit operated by Rotary, as the clubs support inbound and outbound students. Students stay with families that may or may not be Rotary members. Usually, students live with 2 – 3 families during an academic school year. There is a year-long process to prepare for a student to be abroad. This allows time for submission and review of applications, medical screening, student and parent interviews, language training, and visa and travel arrangements.
Lou has a very well-organized program and usually our District’s clubs host 12 – 15 students per year. The cost to a Rotary Club is about $750 per outbound student and about $2000 for an inbound student. This program allows for mentoring of students, promotion of peace through cultural understanding, leadership development, and promotion of Rotary. Many students and families have been touched in such a positive way that the connections last for a lifetime. For the student, it is not just a “year abroad”, but a life-changing event!
Lou’s presentation was successful as our own Darla Domke-Damonte volunteered to be the Youth Exchange Coordinator for our club! Thank you Lou Mello for leading this sought after presentation.
Written by: Scott Burleson