Families sought to house foreign pupils


The nonprofit organization Education First is seeking area families to house individuals who come to the United States to learn English as part of an educational trip or a cultural exchange.

Group housing director Rachel Wise spoke at the June 28 meeting of the Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association in an effort to recruit host families. The organization, which was founded in Sweden in 1965, has 539 offices and schools in 54 countries, including a Chicago branch at 122 S. Michigan Ave.

Participants tend to be in their 20s or 30s, but they can range in age from 16- to 80-years-old, and the length of their stays vary, Wise said. "We have several stay for two weeks and others for a year," she said.

Efforts are made to make sure that host families and the students are a good match for each other, Wise said. It is not unusual for families with school-age children to request younger students, she said.

Host families receive a stipend of $130 per week to house one student and $230 a week to house two students, Wise said. Homes are expected to have Internet access, and breakfast and dinner must be provided on weekdays and three meals a day on weekends.

For more information, call Wise at 312-662-1510 or send an e-mail to rachael.wise@ef.com.

It also was reported that "Romeo and Juliet" will be performed as part of the Chicago Shakespeare in the Park series at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, and at 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13, at Wilson Park, 4630 N. Milwaukee Ave. Admission is free.

In other news, it was reported that public schools in the Jefferson park area are operating between 125 and 150 percent of their capacity. Concerns were raised that development projects which are bringing several hundred apartments to Jefferson Park could further overburden the schools.

The association has opposed several recent zoning proposals, including a 16-story development.

It also was reported that a farmers’ market will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday, July 9, at Jefferson Memorial Park, 4822 N. Long Ave., and that the "Jeff Fest" arts and music festival will be held the weekend of Aug. 4 to 6 at the park. The musical lineup for the festival includes pop legend the Buckinghams and the 1980s tribute band 16 Candles.

The association’s next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 26, in the basement of the Congregational Church of Jefferson Park, 5320 W. Giddings St.