The Host Family Orientation Coordinator is responsible for ensuring the delivery of local Host Family Orientation event(s) for host families in their team prior to their student(s) arrival.
For compliance purposes, host families complete an Online Host Family Orientation module and the local Host Family Orientation event should complement this content, while providing local context and support.
The Host Family Orientation Coordinator should plan the event in conjunction with the Hosting Coordinator so they can collaborate on the attendee list. The event(s) and attendee participation must be logged in Global Link.
- Work with Area Team leadership to determine the orientation budget and format (virtual and/or in-person) location if applicable, and date/s and communicate this information to host families well in advance of the event. (Please note, if offering an in-person orientation, Teams must also offer a virtual orientation for those who are unable to attend, or do not feel comfortable attending in-person.)
- Create the Host Family Orientation activity in Global Link and link all participants to the activity.
- If in-person:
- Review Best Practices for Organizing In-Person Orientations and Events
- Identify AFS Volunteers to serve as orientation group leaders/facilitators and to assist with snack prep and service, and logistics.
- Reserve space for the event, including ample meeting room/s, restroom facilities, and meal/snack prep and serving areas as needed.
- Identify experienced host families to serve as panelists and/or to be available to speak with attendees
- If virtual:
- Identify AFS Volunteers to serve as orientation facilitators/break-out room group leaders
- Reserve the electronic meeting space and send invitations to host families well in advance of the event.
- Identify experienced host families to serve as panelists
- Familiarize yourself and any group leaders/facilitators with the most up to date AFS Host Family Orientation content and incorporate content specific to your Team’s local realities, orientation schedule, support structure and emergency procedures.
Tasks: Quality Assurance and Compliance
J-1 Secondary School exchange program sponsors such as AFS are required by federal regulations to convey certain information to host families (participants, and volunteers) and to document evidence of having done so. In addition, AFS Host Family orientation materials are based on the Host Family Learning Journey and have been designed to complement the online Host Family Orientation. For these and other reasons, it is important that Teams use orientation materials provided by AFS as the basis for their orientation, adding any Team-specific information as appropriate.
The Host Family Orientation Coordinator must ensure that participants have the opportunity to complete the online Host Family Orientation Evaluation. (Results will be shared with your Team Leadership and reviewed by staff and volunteer members of the Orientation Advisory in an effort to continuously improve the quality of the Host Family Orientation for AFS-USA.)
Information You Need to Know
Here are links to the sections in the Help & Learning Center with the information you need to know in this role.
Skills/attributes/experiences helpful to volunteers in this role
- Prior experience as a Hosting or Support Volunteer
- Well organized and detail oriented
- Comfortable with computer-based work and electronic communications such as tracking information in a spreadsheet, sending emails, and texting
- Effective communicator; verbally and in writing
- Able to navigate changing circumstances with patience and good humor
Skills/attributes/experiences volunteers may gain through this role:
- Fun, heart-warming times with AFS Volunteers, host families and staff
- Event planning skills
- “Behind the scenes” knowledge of exchange program management and logistics
- Satisfaction from a job well done
- DoS (Department of State) certification (annually)
- HSA (Hosting and Support Affiliation) training (annually)
- Participation in national or regional conferences or training events (in person or virtual)
- Attend the AFS “Training of Trainers”
- Peer-to-peer training and/or mentoring available