Southern New Hampshire has been selected as a host community for teenagers participating in a new State Department initiative to build understanding between America and the Muslim world.

As hosts to three teenagers enrolled in the Youth Exchange and Study Program, local families and high schools will serve as “citizen diplomats,” participating in a grassroots peace initiative.

The program is represented locally by Dolores Siik, who serves as a YES Cluster Leader for PAX-Program of Academic Exchange.

PAX is a nonprofit educational foundation, designated by the U.S. State Department as a sponsor of the YES program.

Dolores Siik seeks to interview and select three host families this month so they can begin communicating with their future “son” or “daughter.”

YES students, representing Egypt, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and the Philippines, arrive in August.

They will spend 10 months living with host families and participating as fully enrolled students in public school.

Selected in an intensely competitive process, the teens are chosen for their leadership potential and serve as outstanding “ambassadors” for their homelands.

Host families come in many sizes and shapes, with and without children. Single parents, young couples and retirees are welcome to apply.

The best hosts are simply curious and warm people, not those with a magazine perfect lifestyle.

Host families are asked to provide a bed, a place for quiet study, and the love and support any teenager needs.


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