Pictured in header: Bob (left, host dad), Joan (middle, from Spain), and Daniel (right, from Italy).
Borderless Friends Forever (BFF) is a non-profit organization based in Cary, North Carolina, that has been working to promote cultural and educational exchanges for nearly a decade. The organization’s mission is to bring together international travelers and host families to create meaningful relationships through which they can celebrate their differences and similarities.
Crystal Allis, the founder and Executive Director of BFF, has worked in international education for 17 years and has hosted 32 students in her home. She founded BFF to offer high support and service to students and host families and to create a safe and happy experience for all participants.
This year, BFF has a student from Cary High School participating in the Winter Guard (an extension of the guard section in the marching band), a uniquely American experience for him. “It has been fun to watch him flourish in this area, and he has gotten the attention of many folks in the area after some of his performances. We have heard from people we don’t know about how they saw him in a show and how amazing he is. We are so proud!” says Allis.
BFF places students from 32 different countries each year, including Bolivia, Brazil, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, and Turkey, among others. Students come to the United States to improve their English, learn about American culture, and experience a new kind of life. They make new friends, experience high school spirit and sports, and create a second family. They also build a tremendous amount of self-confidence.
Host families play a crucial role in the BFF program, providing students with three meals a day, a place to sleep and study, and loving parenting and guidance. Host families get to learn about their student’s culture and share their own culture with the student. “One of the best feelings is witnessing the student’s growth in self-confidence. Students become family members and often revisit their families in the future, and some families visit their students in their home countries,” says Allis.
BFF is currently seeking host families for the 2023/24 school year, and families come in all shapes and sizes. The school spots fill up fast and open on April 1, so interested families should act now. Anyone interested can see student profiles on the BFF website at www.borderlessfriends.org and contact Allis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919.285.2693 ext. 1 to learn more about the program and how to apply.
BFF is an organization that truly embodies its mission of promoting cultural exchange and creating meaningful relationships between people from different countries and cultures. By fostering these relationships, BFF is helping to build a more connected and compassionate global community, starting right in the heart of Cary, North Carolina.
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