4-H Volunteer Profile: Porter-Riley Family

In an effort to highlight the many different volunteer opportunities 4-H has to offer, the 4-H Volunteer Profile series will highlight a few of the many wonderful people who give their time to Michigan 4-H.

In an effort to highlight the many different volunteer opportunities 4-H has to offer, the 4-H Volunteer Profile series will highlight a few of the many wonderful people who give their time to Michigan 4-H. 

Volunteer name: The Porter-Riley Family: Roger Riley, Saundra Porter-Riley, Emma Riley and Alex Riley
Location of volunteer service: Ingham County
Duration of volunteer service: One year

What programs do you volunteer with?
We host youth through the Michigan 4-H summer exchange program.

What is your role in 4-H?
We are a host family. We take in a student from another county who stays the summer with us.

How many youth have you hosted through the program and from what countries?
We have hosted one student from Japan.

Why did your family decide to volunteer with 4-H?
We decided to host because the student was Japanese and we have ties to the Japanese heritage.  We also decided that the short length of time required would provide us with an idea of how we liked the experience and if we’d like to host future students, possibly for longer.

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What are some of the rewards your family has experienced as 4-H volunteers?
Meeting Kento (our Japanese exchange student) and staying in touch with him and his family on Facebook has been rewarding.  It was great to see him and our son bond, especially in such a short amount of time.

What are some of the life skills your family teaches youth as 4-H volunteers?
We taught him English, how to prepare food and American camping skills.

What is your favorite memory from your 4-H volunteer experiences?
Our two favorite memories occurred when we took Kento to a Tigers game.  He was in great awe over the stadium, the scoreboard, the game itself and the fireworks.  The other thing he wanted to do on the trip was to eat an American size hamburger. We took him to Red Robin and when his burger was set down in front of him, a smile spread across his face in astonishment as his eyes filled with happiness. It was a great moment!

What would you say to someone who was considering becoming a 4-H volunteer?
For families looking to volunteer as host families like we did, we would suggest using Google translate and to have patience when communicating. Kento would catch on if we explained in multiple ways or used hand gestures.  Overall, being a host family was a lot of fun and a great learning experience for our whole family – consider becoming a 4-H host family yourself or volunteering in another way!

Thank you Porter-Riley family for giving your time to share American culture with youth. Visit the volunteers page to learn more about becoming a 4-H volunteer or visit the international exchange page to learn how you could become a host family.


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