Each year, AYA students and Local Coordinators (LCs) nominate host families across the country for the honor of Host Family of the Year. It is always difficult to choose a winner from all of the nominations. We’re reminded each year that AYA host families make such a huge impact on so many students’ lives, making friendships and loving connections that are absolutely inspiring.
Without further ado, here is the National Host Family of the Year: The McLoughlin Family — Lincoln, Nebraska!
For the past year, the McLoughlin family have opened their hearts and their home to Meike Hecht, an exchange student from Germany. The McLoughlin family were nominated by Meike in recognition of their selflessness and for the love they shared to help make the exchange experience unforgettable.
“Jim and Sara didn’t just affect my past year, they helped me shape myself. They challenged me every single day of my journey to be better than I am. They both were perfect role models. Sara is one of the best persons I have ever met. She would help anyone, anytime. She is so nice, friendly and polite. Jim is so diligent. He is so busy with work but still finds time every single day to work out and to help in the house. They both are the most funny people. There wasn’t a single day during my year where I haven’t laughed. Trust me, if would have the words to describe these 2 people, I would write you an essay,” shares Meike.
This year, we also selected fourteen winners at the state level! Drumroll, please…!
- Weaver family — Sierra Vista, Arizona
- Aspel family — Lemont, Illinois
- Carpenter family — Fort Wayne, Indiana
- Bonin family — New Iberia, Louisiana
- Donley family — Frederick, Maryland
- Shoettle family — Bad Axe, Michigan
- Jackson family — Kansas City, Missouri
- McLoughlin family — Lincoln, Nebraska
- Tallant family — Williamston, New Jersey
- Ormsby family — Almond, New York
- McKibben family — Delaware, Ohio
- Meyer family — Lancaster, Pennsylvania
- Brooks family — Victoria, Texas
- Makela family — Mosinee, Wisconsin
Congratulations to all of our winners and kudos to all AYA host families that open their hearts and homes to share American life and culture with students from around the world. One student at a time, you help us bring the world together. Bravo!