In order for a student to come on program, s/he must be linked to a screened host family, a school who has granted approval, and a registered and trained liaison before the student boards the plane to come to the U.S.
This article walks through how to use the Liaison Assignments Widget in MyAFS to assign liaisons in the team. Volunteers with the affiliation Liaison Assignment Coordinator as well as all staff have access to assign and remove liaisons from the widget. All other registered volunteers simply have access to view the widget but not make any changes to the information. If you would like to become a Liaison Assignment Coordinator, please contact your Volunteer Services Specialist (VSS) or Participant Support Specialist (PSS)!
For a quick tutorial (under 9 minutes!) on how to use the Liaison Assignments widget, click here. Otherwise keep reading the detailed instructions below on:
- Adding Prospective Liaisons
- Assigning Liaisons to Specific Students
- Finding Eligible Liaisons
- Monitoring Liaison Registration and Training
- Removing a Liaison Assignment
- Liaison Linking Stages
- A Note about Notes
To view a 35-minute recorded webinar from April 2020 that walks through the instructions below, please click here.
Please note that because liaisons are such an important part of AFS, multiple staff and volunteer roles are involved in ensuring liaisons are identified, registered, trained, linked, and supported. If you are ever in doubt about who to contact with a liaison-related question, please reach out to AskAFS@afsusa.org.
Adding Prospective Liaisons
To indicate that an individual is interested in being a Liaison, go the Liaison Assignments widget, select the correct school year, and then choose Add:
Enter the name of the person you are adding. MyAFS will first check to see if we have someone by that name already in our system.
If MyAFS finds the person you are seeking, great! If not, click on Add a New Person.
Prospective liaisons can also add themselves to the widget if when they start volunteer registration they indicate they have talked to someone about volunteering AND they are intending to be a liaison.
So don't be alarmed if you see someone on your list that you didn't remember adding yourself!
Assigning Liaisons to Specific Students
If you already know to which student(s) a prospective liaison will be assigned, go first to the Students view, then find the correct student, and click Add.
You will then be asked which volunteer role you wish to add: Liaison, Associate Support Coordinator, or Welcome Liaison. A Welcome Liaison (formerly known as a Team Liaison) is a temporary liaison responsible for supporting assigned students and host families until the permanent liaison is identified, fully registered, and trained. Also of note, Welcome Liaisons are auto deactivated when permanent liaisons go active, and if no permanent liaison is assigned to an NH student by January, the Welcome Liaison will become the permanent liaison.
Once a liaison is assigned to a specific student and is fully compliant, a welcome email will go out to the liaison and host family introducing one another even if the host family is not yet fully screened.
Finding Eligible Liaisons
If you are having a hard time finding a liaison for a particular student, consider consulting the list of eligible liaisons. This list shows all registered volunteers who have completed the training necessary to be a liaison.
Monitoring Liaison Registration and Training
Once a liaison is added to the Liaison Assignments Widget, AFS staff will monitor new additions to determine if a volunteer application needs to be sent to prospective liaisons who are not currently registered volunteers. Once the application is sent, un-registered volunteers will receive automatic weekly reminder emails (on Wednesdays) until they submit their volunteering application. Once registered, they will receive automatic weekly reminder emails (on Wednesdays) until all training is complete too.
Personal outreach to prospective liaisons can be very useful as we know some people miss or ignore auto emails.
You can review a prospective liaison's registration status by clicking on the orange Check Status button in the Registration Valid Through column.
The new page that opens will show exactly which aspects of volunteer registration are missing. In the example below, the prospective liaison needs a volunteer interview and to submit the criminal background check.
You can check on the status of a prospective liaison's needed training by clicking on the orange Check Status button under the Trainings Valid Through column:
The new page that opens will outline the status of each of the required training courses:
Removing a Liaison Assignment
When a prospective liaison is no longer willing or interested to be a liaison (or if they become unresponsive). Please remove them from the Liaison Assignments Widget by clicking the "x" next to their assignment in the student view:
To remove a prospective liaison who has not yet been assigned to a student, please notify your Participant Support Specialist.
Liaison Linking Stages
Throughout the liaison linking process, we use statuses to denote where the prospective liaison is in the process of becoming actively linked to a specific student and host family. You can review those stages here:
Tentative: The Area Team has determined which volunteer will be assigned to the Student/Host Family.
Pending: Support Staff have linked the volunteer, but the volunteer is not fully registered and/or trained
Active: Everything is complete. The Welcome Email has been sent to the Liaison and Host Family.
Unlink Pending: The Area Team has determined the volunteer should no longer be assigned to a specific Student/Host Family. Support Staff has not yet removed the liaison assignment in Global Link.
Inactive: The volunteer was actively assigned to the Student/Host Family for a period of time but is no longer.
To view flowcharts describing the liaison linking processes click on one (or both!) of the following:
- Flowchart for getting a volunteer registered and trained as a liaison
- Flowchart for linking students
A Note about Notes
Liaison Assignment Coordinators and staff have access to leave and update notes related to liaison linking right in the widget by clicking on Add Note:
To know that a Note has been added about a person, the main page will show "View/Update Note" instead of "Add Note."
This is what a Notes entry looks like.
You can also see notes and the history of past notes in the person's Global Link contact log here:
If you have any questions about assigning liaisons, please reach out to your Participant Support Specialist or email AskAFS@afsusa.org. Thank you for helping us in the assignment of one of the most critical AFS roles!