The Garcia-Stokes Family

Meet Jesse and Wade from Phoenix, Arizona, who welcomed Pierluigi from Italy and Livio from Switzerland into their home.

“As a family we’ve been fortunate to learn about two new cultures – we are all more alike than we are different.”

When you host two students, it’s wonderful because they have each other. They’re connected from the beginning and they’re going through the same experiences together. As a family we've been fortunate to learn about two new cultures – we are all more alike than we are different.

It’s the little things that mean the most – family dinners, walks outside, movie nights. Wade and I are big travelers so we try to go on small trips as well. Even though we’ve been to the Grand Canyon a million times, I loved watching Pierluigi and Livio experience it. I got to see it through their eyes and it was like seeing it again for the first time.

“When I talk to them, I know that we made a difference in their lives.”

It's so special to share our traditions with the students. Christmas was particularly spectacular. Livio is from Switzerland so he's always had a white Christmas. Having one in the desert where it's still nice and warm was a treat for him! Wade's family came to visit from Portland and the boys felt right at home.

Saying goodbye is the hardest point. When I talk to them, I know that we made a difference in their lives. When I talk to their parents and they notice a difference too, it makes saying goodbye a little bit easier. I think to myself - how lucky we are to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.

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