Exchange families gather for reunion

February 25, 1993

Westminster-area families who have opened their homes to AFS foreign exchange students will gather for a potluck supper Sunday at Sandymount United Methodist Church.

The "Where are they now?" reunion will give the host families and friends of the Westminster AFS Chapter a chance to share news about the 45 AFS students who have attended Westminster High School over the last 18 years.

David Gifford, chapter president and guidance counselor at Westminster High, organized the reunion. He's been involved with the group since its inception and helped the foreign students plan their academic programs and steered them through the ups and downs of their year in America.

AFS Intercultural Programs originated after World War II to promote world peace and understanding. It is the oldest and largest student-teacher exchange program in the world, with 3,000 American families playing host to foreign students each year.

Most families house a foreign student for one year.

But 10 Westminster families have hosted two students and one family has had three. Some families have sent their children overseas in return.

Dean and Etta Rae Griffin hosted a boy from Finland and girl from France. Their daughter spent a year in Turkey. Bill and Mary Grace O'Rourke sent a son to Ecuador and a daughter to Germany.

Glenn and Marie Ashburn's daughter lived with a family in Indonesia, while the family opened it's home here to students from Mexico and Peru.

The exchange experience has united people all over the world, helping to reach the AFS goal of international understanding.

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