Last week, we had a zoom kick-off for our volunteers, called "It's Only the Beginning". We got to see 40 of our friends over the two sessions--some new and some returning volunteers. Our Executive Director, Rev. Irene Wong, welcomed everyone and caught us up on what's been going on in AMIS over the past 6 months. She reminded us that our mission statement has not changed; that no matter what, we will continue to promote global understanding through friendship and hospitality with international students.
Kirsten Schaetzel, the English Language Specialist at Emory Law School, shared how important the Amigo Friendship Program is for the students she works with. It is really meaningful for international students to be able to have conversations with Americans outside of the academic classroom. She also encouraged volunteers that students are more comfortable doing things virtually than we are!
AMIS students, Ezekial, Taslim, Niral, Naseem, and Tianyu shared their experiences thus far through COVID and ways AMIS has impacted their time in America. One student said that just knowing there were people here in America who care about her has made a huge difference in her time.
Susan, our Program Administrator, offered ways that volunteers can be involved with AMIS virtually. Right now, we have masks donated to us from Sockfancy.com that we are mailing to students with a welcome flyer and card. We are excited that the Amigo Friendship Program can still happen this year, and there are many ways to be a friend virtually. If you haven't already signed up, it's never too late.
We are really excited about our new student and volunteer welcome videos (Scroll down on the homepage here) to help us spread the word about AMIS. We raised money for these during #GivingTuesdayNow and are excited to share them with students, volunteers, churches, other organizations, universities, and others who work with international students.