Summer's the time to consider housing a foreign exchange student


Here I thought everything slowed down in the summer. When I'm wrong, I don't make small mistakes! School officials are moving, churches are holding fairs, concerts and lectures, the Army Band is playing at Fort Meade, the library has its summer reading program.

I'm tuckered just thinking about it all.


Lisa Solomon, of the Education Foundation for Foreign Study, is looking for a few good families from the Savage-Laurel area to share their hearts, homes and love with high school students from foreign countries who will attend school in the county next academic year.

It takes quite a bit of confidence for a 16- or 17-year-old to move to the United States for a year. There's a new language, culture, school and a family to adjust to. But the students come to see what the United States is all about.

The EFFS needs a few more host families, especially from our part of the county, to take in students, who will attend Hammond and Atholton high schools. The EFFS reviews the students' applications and keeps them on file. Host families can scan the files looking for students from particular countries or with some shared interests. From there, it's a year you'll long remember, from trying to explain Halloween (let me get this straight: You reward children for masked extortion) to the different ways English can be mangled, to the look of shock when you try to speak the student's language.

There are few requirements for host families: singles, empty nesters, families with young children and those with teens have all been hosts. Of course, the EFFS keeps in touch with the students, especially at the beginning of the year. There are parties and other social events for the students, sponsored by the EFFS. The students come with their own spending money (thank goodness we have so many malls) and their own health insurance.

So if you honeymooned in France, have relatives in Poland, adore Japanese culture or just plain like kids, consider taking in a teen from far away for the year. Call 1-800 44-SHARE or Lisa Solomon at (410-461-7362) for more information about this program.


The Savage Branch Library has a new assistant manager, at last! Good things do come to those who wait. Jack Lattimore joins the staff as the assistant manager, and Angela Engles is the new library associate. She will replace Jeri Akers, who is transferring to the central library. Alison Kopyta is leaving us. The purple balloons the staff bought to say good-bye to her are still festooned on her office chair. I don't know if she just likes them so, or is afraid to drive home with them bobbing along in the back seat. So hail and farewell to the staff of our favorite library branch!


On June 19, Louise Phelps was honored for her 50 years of service to the chancel choir at United Methodist Church of Savage. She was given an engraved, leather-bound hymnal by Ray Miles and the Rev. Cliff Webner, the pastor, as a token of the congregation's and the choir's appreciation for her half-century of service.

At the same ceremony, sisters Alice and Myrtle Phelps, who are no relation to Louise Phelps, were honored for their 50 years of service to the choir. Both have since retired from active participation in the choir, but the congregation does not forget to honor faithful service.

Finally, the choir received new robes at the ceremony. These are dedicated to the memory of Alice and Myrtle's brother, Everett Phelps, who, you guessed it, also served in the choir for a half-century. There must be some magic in the Phelps name that just keeps them singing. Or maybe the secret to a long life is to join a choir and stay with it 50 years. I've heard it said that the Lord respects me when I work, but loves me when I sing.


Jane Hull Harvey, of the Interreligious Health Care Access Campaign, will be the featured speaker Thursday at the United Methodist Church of Savage. The IHCAC is an umbrella organization representing the concerns of more than 70 Protestant, Catholic and Jewish religious bodies about national health care program choices.

There are a lot of proposals out there. The IHCAC evaluates the current proposals, noting which ones provide the most care to the most people by spreading the financial burden as widely as possible.

Those who are concerned about the devastation medical bills can inflict are invited. The discussion, entitled "Health Care Reform in the U.S. -- A Christian Perspective," begins at 7:30 p.m. at UMCS, Baltimore and Foundry streets in Savage. For more information, call (301) 604-0703.


To entertain those who come early for good seats for the health care discussion, Jonathan Waller, a gospel jazz pianist, will perform at United Methodist of Savage from 7:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Mr. Waller is a student of jazz at Towson State University and is a member of Hope Baptist Church in Laurel. He, along with Ray Miles, the music director at UMCS, has released a tape of gospel music featuring the choirs of Hope Baptist and UMCS.

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