Host families needed for exchange students

By By Steve Gillespie/staff writer
Feb. 21, 2002
Families within a 250-mile radius of Meridian are being sought by local representatives of PAX-Program of Academic Exchange to host foreign exchange students.
Local PAX coordinator Sheila Ethridge and her assistant are looking for families in Clarke, Lauderdale, Kemper, Neshoba, Newton and other nearby counties to host students for the next school year.
Judy Guerron of Ecuador is a junior at Southeast High School who is staying with Beverly and Michael Haskins of Meridian through the PAX program. She has been here for six months.
She added that she would recommend the program to her friends in Ecuador as well as other families in the area.
Guerron's host mom said she also would encourage area families to serve as hosts.
PAX students arrive in the United States in August for a 10-month academic home stay.
PAX students come from such countries as Africa, Brazil, China, Ecuador, Germany, Japan, Mexico and Sweden. Students are between 15 and 18, speak English, have full medical insurance coverage and have their own spending money.
The PAX representatives will deliver student profiles and information about the program within the 250-mile radius. It costs nothing to apply for the program or host a student, provided certain requirements are met.
PAX families are asked to provide students with meals, a place to sleep and study and a warm, supportive environment.
Ethridge said private rooms for exchange students are not required, as long as they share with another child within three to four years of their own age. Single parents, young couples and retirees are also welcome to host.
Ethridge is encouraging potential hosts to take in male exchange students.
Even though an equal number of boys and girls enroll in the PAX exchange program, Ethridge said girls are selected by host families first leaving the male applicants to wonder why no American family has taken an interest in their application.
Exchange students
PAX-Program of Academic Exchange is a nonprofit educational foundation headquartered in Greenwich, Conn. For information about the program, visit the PAX Web site at or send e-mail to
Families in many East Mississippi counties including Clarke, Jasper, Kemper, Lauderdale, Neshoba, Newton and Winston can host PAX exchange students for the next school year.
Anyone interested in being a host family should call Sheila Ethridge at (601) 632-4229 or (601) 632-4401; her e-mail address is Or call Martha Murray at the PAX headquarters toll-free (800) 555-6211; her e-mail address is