“One thing we can’t give our kids is a look at American homes and families.”
With that sentence, German high school teacher Annika Seligmann saluted Pearl Rotarians for again hosting her students for a day during their two-week visit to Northwest USA.
During the past seven years, Seligmann (pictured here with student Hellen Berghorn) told Rotarians at their Oct. 23 meeting, “Thanks to Rotarians, 150 kids have visited homes on our family day.”
In the 2012 visit of 24 students from Stolzenau Gymnasium in Northern Germany, Seattle, Portland and the Oregon Coast were visited. Contacts were made with Lincoln High School; Pearl Rotarians also spoke or brought in guests to talk about American life, politics, society and religion. A synagogue was visited.
The students themselves, emulating Rotary’s “Service Above Self” credo, actually perform volunteerism. On the morning Seligmann and three of her students visited the club, pulling ivy near Linnton was on the students’ agenda. Old clothes and leftover food were donated to the William Temple House.
On the annual family day, Rotarians’ outings ranged from the touring the air museum at McMinnville to visiting Timberline Lodge in a snowfall.
President Dave Haack congratulated Seligmann on continuing the program (student and chaperone housing is based at the Northwest International Hostel). “The club looks forward to showing your kids around each year. It’s really a lot of fun. It’s great.”
Past President Don Barney and his wife, Jo, have been consistent hosts. “A great event,” he said, during the club’s weekly “Brag” session. “It’s wonderful that you bring the kids.”
Seligmann wrote in an e-mail just hours when the students returned to the hostel after the Oct. 21 outing:
“Thanks, Pearl Rotary, a million for giving our students your time again!
“The kids came back beaming and our feedback took forever because they just wouldn’t stop talking about their ‘best day in the US ever.’
“We are very grateful that you help us again and again to make this program happen and we hope that one day we can give back to you what you do for us. Come visit us anytime–we’d love to host you!
Seligmann also had special thanks for Rotarian Jordan Weisman, the club’s international service director, who recruited the families to host the students. That appreciation was echoed by German Francesca Weinert, one of the students who came to Rotary and participated in “Brag”:
“This dollar is because I want to thank you for during such a great job with us.”