Sponsoring a Foreign Exchange Student

Cultural differences, language and miles sometimes make us feel worlds apart. However, when you decide to welcome into your home an international exchange student, you quickly discover they become family.

Hosting a foreign exchange student over the summer comes with benefits for both the hosting family and the student. You both will learn how “worlds apart” could, in fact, be very close together through experiences and conversations at home, school and community.

Students acclimate to a new environment through such living situations, learning about a new culture and practicing a new language. They experience immersions in a foreign culture in a safe and affordable manner. Their parents have peace of mind knowing that their children are in a safe home and well cared for while they live in a foreign country.

Hosting international students can also bring many benefits to the host families. Families may choose to host a foreign exchange student for various reasons: to forge friendships, to provide a learning experience for students from another country, and to exchange cultural insights. Some host families exchange students every year, fact that denotes that the experience is a good one.

Here are more benefits a hosting family may enjoy when opening their home to a foreign exchange student.

1. Expand your family’s horizons

Housing a foreign exchange student is a great option for a family that wants to provide for their children a flexible, open and expanded worldview. Since these international students want often to learn during their stay as much as they can about the host’s culture, many of them are also happy to discuss their own cultures and countries with their host family. This can open a whole new perspective for your children and help them see the world in a new way. Your children will learn to accept and respect the cultures and peoples of the world. You will introduce your family to new music and foods, a new language, and an entirely new culture. As you share experiences with someone from across the globe, your family will gain a new perspective, seeing the world with fresh eyes.

2. Send your own children to study abroad

By taken part in a hosting and student exchange program, many host families open the possibility that their own children are placed in other countries. This way, it becomes much easier to send your own children to study aboard.

3. Help a student reach his/her potential

Watching a person develop, grow, and succeed in life is a great reward for your efforts. By providing hosting to a foreign exchange student you help that person to reach their potential. You can feel proud for your role as a host for international students in helping young adults or teens grow and develop.

3. Earn extra income

You may also receive a compensation for hosting an international student. This way, you can earn an extra income for your household. This also ends up being a better financial option for visiting student’s parents because it costs them less than they would pay for living expenses and pricey dorms.

4. Expand your family

Through the foreign exchange student you can build lifelong friendships with someone from across the globe.

5. Make a difference

By hosting an international student, your support the cultural awareness and diversity in schools and throughout the community.

Building a New Playground in Torrington

Playground Plans to Enable Kids Enjoy All The Benefits of Play

Play is undoubtedly one of the most important factors that influence the growth and development of a child. It helps the child to grow into a well-rounded person by promoting his/her physical, cognitive and social development. Lack of enough free, spontaneous play does not only hamper development but also harms a developing child.

Understanding a child’s natural yearning for physical activity and providing them with the appropriate playground structures is giving them a gift they will enjoy throughout their lives. They will learn how to engage in healthy exercise from an early age, which will lead to a lifetime of healthy and happy living.

Functions of an ideal playground for kids aged 6 to 12 years

The key functions of a playground include:

– Promoting physical activity: Physical exercise has endless benefits to children – emotional well-being, resilience, positive mood, and so on. And who can forget that obesity levels among children are rising by each dawn. In 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics declared obesity and overweight a national emergency. It also indicated that prevention through play is the only sustainable solution to these health problems.

– Encouraging social interaction: Children develop values and skills such sharing, empathy, negotiating and leadership through social interactions on the playground.

– Supporting creativity and problem-solving: Some play experiences trigger cognitive development in children. In children who are around 6 years of age, play helps to improve sensory stimulation. In older children, especially those approaching adolescence, creative play enables for development of coping skills so that the child develops flexibility towards problems.

Studies have shown that there is a big correlation between physical activity and cognitive function.


Playground structures that meet playground functions effectively

Effective playgrounds have particular play space designs and structures to ensure that the children benefit fully from the playground functions. Below are critical considerations to make when planning on playground designs and structures:

1. Include space for active play

Multipurpose open spaces allow children to engage in a wide variety of activities including running, crawling, jumping, gross motor activities and so on. Adding balls, toys, building materials, beanbags, and other playing equipment adds flexibility into the space so that every child can find something exciting to do.

2. Accommodate all demographics and backgrounds

For the children to interact and socialize freely, the playground should be highly accessible to children of varying backgrounds. Children of different ages and abilities should be able to access and enjoy the playground and interact with peers.

It’s therefore inherent that considerations are made about path width, surface texture and play structures and equipment with reference to children’s various physical abilities. Walkers, wheelchairs and other mobility aids should easily access the playground. The point is, when setting up the playground, think about every child that will need to play on the play space.

3. Include natural elements

Studies have shown that children portray higher levels of physical activity when the playground combines manufactured equipment with natural materials. Trees, long grass, boulders, stumps, water, sand, pebbles and so on makes the landscape more beautiful and welcoming. Natural materials provide variety, adventure, and interest.

Such a combination makes for a high-quality play space that encourages children to grow both physically and intellectually. It creates an environment with elements of risk and challenge. Children can create their own challenges such as hide and seek games, climbing over boulders, and jumping off tree stumps. They can engage in activities of varying difficulty and complexity, thus enhancing their physical, social and cognitive capabilities.

4. Safe and hazard-free play space

Playground safety requires careful consideration of the children’s ages and abilities. Adult supervision is also highly required in outdoor play spaces. When planning for a play space, it’s important to go through regulatory codes in the locale. For every state, there are specific building codes and childcare licensing regulations relating to the design and equipment that a playground should have.

If you are planning for enhancements and changes to a children’s playground, it’s good to first consider what you want the children to have. Focus on the movement opportunities that the children have, then go ahead and choose the equipment and surfaces that will best accomplish this objective. Another key thing to remember is that safety comes first. Many parents would better have their child relax on a bench rather than letting them hurt themselves when playing on an unsafe playground. Therefore, make the entire playground environment unquestionably safe for the children.

With a safe, creatively designed and adequately equipped playground, you can give a child a gift that will keep them smiling all the way to old age; and that is play.

Torrington Club Founding Beliefs

The Torrington Club is usually explained as a service organisation that works on various projects related to national and international civilization.  When we feel that a person with whom we are talking with can be a good Rotarian or when someone asks us about the functions of Rotary club we implore them to join other like minded individuals.  Usually we overlook the explanation that after joining this great club, an individual can help himself as well as other grow.

According to our belief one can mainly get three items after joining and being engaged in the activities of this club, as I have observed during my life as Rotarian; personal development, professional growth and family values.

The opportunity of association you get in The Torrington Club provides you personal development. The people we meet through this club may not have come in contact with us otherwise, and most likely would not have had the impact on society that they would have otherwise. These relationships allow us to know what others are doing in their personal and professional life, such as their professions, interests and hobbies which can also encourage us to improve our life. When we complete certain service mission with other Rotarians it helps in make a strong bonding between us. When we attend conferences and assemblies at district level we get opportunities to expand our network of relationship. The speakers and programs that are found in all meetings of Rotary club also help in our personal development. It increases our knowledge about national and international issues which can be used while sharing ideas while taking some action in this regard.

When you become member of Torrington club then you can get enough chances of professional growth. The District Assemblies, Rotary Leadership Institute programs, observation of other Rotarians and the President Elect Training Seminars or PETS offer you ample opportunities to sharpen your leadership skills. You learn about salesmanship, management of project, volunteer management and fund raising while leading a project in this club. Most Rotarians already have these skills due to their career still, to achieve success, they take advice of their fellow members. The best thing universally found on Rotarians is that they want everyone to be successful.

The two beliefs of the motto of Rotary, Our 4 Way Test and Service above Self, offer a natural value to this system. People, we are linked with including our families, consider us as individuals working to make this world a better place to live in, when we accept and go with these two beliefs. Nothing can be better to teach our children the idea of coming forward if they can learn by self observation. Hopefully this lesson of life of understanding the world and spreading peace will automatically be followed by the increasing numbers of people in our community.

We get a lot in return from Rotary even if we contribute very little in it. As individuals we learn, grow and share our values as we do our job in Rotary by providing opportunities, hopes and saving lives of others. Our passion for Rotary gets energy from such things. These things will compel future members of Rotary to say Yes when they are invited to join it.