An Important Update From Tara Hofmann

An Important Update From Tara Hofmann

The arrival of spring has brought a much-anticipated sense of hope and renewal to so many of us. We’re beginning to venture out from under a very challenging year for both the world and for the AFS-USA family. This renewal will bring new challenges for us to conquer on our way to recovery and, as you know, this is especially true for AFS-USA.

In this video message, and in the bulleted points below, AFS-USA President and CEO Tara Hofmann shares a variety of updates on current activities, plans, and achievements. It’s an overview of how we’re moving forward on AFS-USA’s path to recovery – a path that depends on the participation of each and every one of us. Already we’ve seen some remarkable accomplishments and successes, many of which Tara will cover in her video message.

Here is a brief summary of the points discussed in the above video, so you can easily review and share:


  • Monthly MyAFS webinars
  • Volunteer Welcome Widget that will support registration and integration of new volunteers into established teams (coming soon)
  • Study Abroad Widget that will show volunteers the study abroad applicants in their team and where they are in the application process (coming soon)


  • AFS-USA Hosting Academy content now available for all volunteers on the Training Center or via Help and Learning
  • Interviewer Training for volunteers on best practices for interviewing host families, volunteers, and study abroad participants (coming soon)
  • Updated Liaison Training (coming soon)
  • School Outreach Strategy trainings (coming soon)

We continue to focus on school outreach, one of our strategic plan priorities. We are proud to share with you our new School Outreach vision statement: Any student or educator can become a global citizen when schools partner with AFS-USA. As a reminder, our new School Outreach Advisory group is still looking for members.

School Outreach

  • Successful completion of two Global Competence Certificate (GCC) pilots with different educator audiences
  • Prioritization of presenter opportunities at national and state level conferences with an eye towards maximum visibility and influence
  • Global Classroom newsletter, lesson plans, and educator resources available on our website and Help and Learning
  • Cultural webinars and ICL materials for classroom teachers (coming soon)
  • Educator awards, managed by the School Outreach Advisory Group (coming soon)

Our April 1 hosting benchmark is 275, and we fell slightly short of that at 224 students placed. We are excited to share that a total of 450 participants have been selected by host families.


  • 245 placements awaiting school approval
  • School approval is not a guarantee, but we remain hopeful
  • Hosting Onboarding Unit cleaning up outstanding host family leads
  • Host family applicants receive rapid response to their inquiries by skilled staff
  • Qualified leads are handed off to local volunteers who guide families the rest of the way

The entire volunteer onboarding process is now managed by two people in the Volunteer Onboarding Unit. They have been working hand in hand with volunteer team leaders to get current volunteers through the re-registration process and new volunteers through their initial registration.

Volunteer Engagement

  • More new volunteers registered in March 2021 than any month last year during COVID-19
  • Volunteer numbers are returning to pre-COVID levels
  • A user experience for volunteer applicants that is more streamlined and efficient

We thank all of our AFS-USA volunteers for working hard to help us achieve our NH21 goal of 1200 hosted participants. Thank you for taking the time to review this important message and remember that you can always provide your feedback to Tara at