Utah Host Families Urgently Needed For Japanese Youth

Jul 17, 2019, 6:41 PM | Updated: 8:28 pm

WOODS CROSS – The Jensens may seem like any other Utah family, but they’re far from that to the Japanese youths they’ve hosted in their home over the years. It’s an experience that Rebecca grew up with, and has now passed on to her own children.

“Every summer, we hosted and we made a lot of friends,” Rebecca said of her childhood. “(We) learned a lot about Japan, and just really liked the experience.”

Her teenage daughter, Lauren has made a lot of friends through the experience.

“I follow them all on Instagram, and we have Snapchat group messages, we talk on it and stuff, so it’s really fun,” Lauren said.

Rebecca and Lauren Jensen

Families like the Jensens, host kids from Japan, three weeks at a time, through the Mountain West Cultural Exchange. The organization’s president, Maresa Manzione says it’s different from other exchange programs, because the youth are there to spend time with their host families throughout each day.

“These kids are coming to Utah to be a part of your family,” Manzione said. “They’re not a guest. They’re not out on activities, hanging with other exchange students during the day. They’re here to be part of your family and learn your culture, learn our culture, and likewise we learn theirs.”

This year however, the cultural exchange is short about sixteen families, as Manzione says happens from time to time. The organization is looking to fill 16 slots, in time for the youth to arrive, on July 25th. Adult Chaperones arrive with the group, who help with the language, and make sure the kids adjust. The experience culminates in the final week, with a group camp, where Lauren Jensen recently served as a youth counselor.

“It’s sad when the kids don’t have like a family, so they can’t come over and experience it,” Lauren said.

“It’s a really positive experience. I’ve loved it,” Rebecca added.

People interested in hosting, can find more information here:  https://www.mwce.website/host-with-us/

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

man holds gun...

Shelby Lofton

Expert breaks down how far someone can legally go to protect their Utah property

A tense interaction between a snowboarder and a Brighton man has started conversation on Utah's trespassing laws, and now an expert is weighing in.

5 hours ago

New homes during construction. (Ray Boone, KSL News)...

Daniel Woodruff

Battle brewing between Utah builders, cities over home inspections

SB185, which passed the Senate this week and awaits a vote in the House of Representatives, could allow builders to pick their own inspectors.

5 hours ago

The stage of the Tabernacle Choir as they perform in Manila. (Dan Rascon, KSL News)...

Dan Rascon

Tabernacle choir performs unforgettable concert in Manila

It was a night not to be forgotten in the Philippines as the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square performed  its first major concert before thousands of Filipinos at the Mall of Asia’s 9,000 set arena.

6 hours ago

Police are asking for help in locating the driver in a hit-and-run that sent a Sandy mother and her...

Shara Park

Sandy police seeking help in locating vehicle involved in a hit-and-run

Police are asking for help in locating the driver in a hit-and-run that sent a Sandy mother and her teenage daughter to the hospital.

7 hours ago

Keith Sorenson opens a tool shed to display the tools of the trade. (Stuart Johnson, KSL News)...

Alex Cabrero

Taylorsville heritage center reclaims stolen historic anvils

A pair of historically-significant anvils were finally returned to Taylorsville after being stolen two years ago.

7 hours ago

Herriman police are seeking the public's assistance in locating 76-year-old Joe Vakuata. (Herriman ...

Mark Jones

UPDATE: Herriman police find missing 76-year-old man safe

Herriman police are seeking the public's assistance in locating a missing 76-year-old man.

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Utah Host Families Urgently Needed For Japanese Youth