Below is a guide to better understand the role of the staff members who work with your team. Here is a screenshot of how to find the staff contacts for your team in the Team widget in your MyAFS Volunteer Portal.
Who Do I Contact?
Below you will find a brief description of the most frequently-contacted staff roles at AFS-USA. If you are unsure of who to contact, no problem! Just send an email to AskAFS@afsusa.org, and we will make sure your message gets to the correct person.
Note that the work of staff is never intended to REPLACE the work of the volunteers but rather to support and augment or even to fill in the gaps. They are intended to be teammates.
As of May 2022, there is one Regional Director for every two regions and a Participant Support Specialist for each region. Below are some of the reasons you may contact these staff members:
Regional Field Specialist (RFS)
- Engages volunteers to identify and screen families for hosted students before students arrive
- Works with volunteers to identify families for hosted students if they need to move while on program
- Builds community relationships
Volunteer Onboarding Manager (VO)
- Handles AFS volunteer issues not related to student support, hosting, or study abroad
- Volunteer registration and integration contact
- Conducting new volunteer interviews
Regional Directors (RD)
- Establish a strategic vision and a work plan for managing and developing their assigned region
- Maintain the health of the volunteer base in their regions
- Keep in regular contact with volunteer leaders.
- Manage the Regional Field Specialists in the region
- Each RD works with two regions
Participant Support Specialists (PSS) / Hosting Support / Sending Support
- Works directly with volunteer Support Coordinators, Associate Support Coordinators, and Liaisons
- Questions, concerns, issues when students are on program
- Some Area Teams have a different PSS for Hosting students and Study Abroad students.
- Each PSS works with 3 regions.
Study Abroad Team Contact
- Works directly with students/parents interested in study abroad
- Selecting an appropriate program
- Completing the application process
- Engages volunteers in working with and interviewing parents and students interested in study abroad
Travel and Logistics
- Works directly with volunteers to process Travel Waivers, Parental Permission forms, and Program Releases
- Signs DS 2019s for Hosted Students
- Arranges travel for Early Returns
- Coordinates Arrivals and Departures
- Work directly with Treasurers on all Field Finance issues
- Area Team/Chapter financial reporting
- Reimbursements for volunteers
- Vendor payments
- Opening/closing bank accounts
- Obtaining Certificates of Insurance
- Works directly with volunteers to address questions related to monthly contacts & visits
- Works directly with volunteers to address questions/concerns related to AFS regulations and Compliance.
- Develops national and regional educator resources and promotional materials
- Communicates with school outreach volunteers and supports School Outreach Coordinators
- Presents at conferences and delivers virtual and in-person training and opportunities to educators
- Cultivates relationships with organizations and educators that bolster recognition of and connection to AFS and it's programs
- Collaborates with volunteers, school staff, and RFSs on securing school placements for hosted students
- Tracks and records all available data on school policies, deadlines, and school personnel involved in approving exchange student enrollment
- Manages school fee payments and reimbursements
- Supports volunteer School Representatives in teams without a School Outreach Coordinator