The Sponsored Programs Cluster Coordinator oversees the program activities for the host students in their team that come to AFS-USA through the Department of State (ECA) Scholarship Programs. These programs include our Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX), Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX), and Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) host students. These students are hosted in clusters of at least three students. In addition to the recommended training below, Sponsored Programs Cluster Coordinators should be familiar with the Sponsored Programs Cluster Coordinator Manual.
For those engaging in Sponsored Programs-specific volunteer roles, the SP team asks that you complete the Sponsored Programs Up Close online training. The training provides an overview of the relationship between AFS-USA and the Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).
- Using the guidelines and leadership curriculum provided, plan a program of enrichment activities over the course of the school year.
- Coordinate activity dates with Team volunteers, students and their host families as well as others who may be included in an activity. Work with students to identify any specific interests they have that fit within the educational framework.
- Identify and work with local resources including businesses, government institutions, community service organizations, civic and youth groups. When possible, arrange for meetings with individuals at these places who can provide students with special insight into their field.
- Identify Activity Leaders, such as other volunteers or host parents, to lead and report on the activity.
Work with Team volunteers to include the wider community of AFS students in the area.
- Use the Cluster Activity Report provided to give a summary of each enrichment activity to the local Team and the Sponsored Programs Team in the National Office.
- Provide the Sponsored Programs Team with updates on special awards, achievements, interesting activities of the Sponsored Programs students and host families in the area.
- Provide a preliminary and mid-year schedule of planned events to share with the Team and the Sponsored Programs Team, including amendments to the schedule as necessary. (Please include orientation dates in the calendar).
- Keep appropriate volunteers in the area informed of activities for publicity purposes so that coverage can be secured for special events or noteworthy projects, using the tools and guidelines referred to in the Awareness Raising Section of the Cluster Coordinator Handbook.
- Please be sure to send a copy of any resulting media coverage to the appropriate program coordinator.
- Encourage students to write Letters to the Editor at some point during their academic year and to make school and other community presentations for International Education Week and at other opportune points during the school year.
- Include one meeting at the home office of the U.S. Congressional Representative for the district, allowing the students the opportunity to thank the Congressional Representative for their scholarship.
Program and Cultural Resource
- Serve as a local source of program, logistical and culture-specific information
- Share program and culture-specific information and materials to supplement or enhance host family orientation and support.
- Work through the existing support system if the need for counseling arises, offering culture- or program-specific information and insights where appropriate.
- Coordinate with Team Volunteers and the Sponsored Programs Team to ensure Sponsored Programs students’ attendance and participation in arrival, post-arrival, mid-year and end-of-stay orientations.
- Work with Team volunteers and Sponsored Programs Team to provide program-specific content.
Information They Need to Know
Here are links to the sections in Help & Learning with the information the Sponsored Programs Cluster Coordinator needs to know:
Supporting Sponsored Programs (SP) Host Students
This section includes information regarding supporting our SP host students while on program. This includes information about the different programs as well as cluster activities, etc.
- DoS (Dept. of State) Certification Training (annually)
- HSA (Hosting & Support Affiliation) Training (annually)
- Sponsored Programs Up Close Training