Updates and Resources Regarding Situation in Ukraine March 9

Updates and Resources Regarding Situation in Ukraine March 9

Dear AFS Volunteers,

As we continue to respond and monitor the evolving conflict in Ukraine, we wanted to share the latest updates, communications, and resources we have on our end.

Firstly, our colleagues working with the FLEX Program sent the following message to all hosted FLEX students with a copy to Liaisons, Support Coordinators, and host families:

Dear AFS-hosted FLEX Students, 

We are sure you have been following the war in Ukraine in the news and understand that this might be making you feel anxious or wonder how your FLEX Program might be affected. We completely understand your concerns and want to share with you what we are doing to monitor the situation. Our primary concern is always your safety, and the safety of the AFS host families, volunteers and staff.  

Our thoughts are with the Ukrainian people, especially the Ukrainian FLEX participants in the U.S. and alumni, and all people who are suffering because of this violence. The AFS mission affirms the dignity and worth of every human being, regardless of what nation or culture they come from, and their right to live in a just and peaceful world.  

There are currently no plans to shorten or cancel your FLEX program at this time.  

The FLEX program is keeping close watch on the situation and adhering to government regulations, travel advisories and other potentially changing circumstances. he FLEX team at AFS-USA will share any significant FLEX and AFS changes with you.

It is very important to take care of your emotional health during this time.  

We certainly understand the impact this war may be having on your emotional health and urge you to talk about how you are feeling with your host family, liaison, and FLEX programs staff. We also encourage you to talk with a mental health professional if you feel that would be helpful. If you do decide to speak to a counselor, please let your liaison or support volunteers know. We are all here to help you in these extremely troubling times and care about you a lot.  

AFS always stands on the side of peace. 

This situation goes to the very heart of the AFS program mission and to the foundation of AFS exchange programs. AFS strongly supports the United Nations’ calls for “restraint, reason and de-escalation,” and adherence to international law and the UN charter. AFS is concerned for every person potentially affected by this conflict, but particularly for the millions of young people living in Ukraine and Russia who deserve to live in a just and peaceful world. The Network of 55 AFS Partners is dedicated to continuing the exchange of people and ideas whenever and wherever it is possible to do so, regardless of the political situations that may arise between nations. That commitment remains stronger than ever today. 

Kind regards,  

The FLEX team at AFS-USA 


AFS-USA Support and Sponsored Programs Team are also hosting a call for all volunteers/host families of hosted FLEX students tonight (Wednesday, 3/9) as a means to connect our FLEX host families and volunteers as well as address any current questions/concerns they may have while also sharing current best practices for promoting overall wellness for our students, host families, and volunteers impacted.

To reiterate our guidance from last week, AFS-USA recommends considering the following steps to take in helping your student promote their mental health and wellness on program:

  1. Make time to talk.
  2. Validate their feelings.
  3. Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate.
  4. Review safety procedures.
  5. Observe their emotional state.
  6. Limit television and social media viewing of these events.
  7. promote physical health.

Additionally, AFS-USA would like to recommend sharing the linked Emotional Passport resource with your hosted student that may be struggling with how to promote their emotional health and adopt healthy self-care practices into their daily routines.

Should you receive concerns pertaining to your hosted student and/or host family please feel free to reach out to your Support Volunteer leadership and/or Support Staff person who will work with you to identify appropriate support resources and guidance.

We thank you for your ongoing commitment, care, and compassion during this challenging time.


AFS USA Support and Sponsored Programs