All of our sponsors are volunteers. They are not compensated and are participating in the program solely because they believe in it. However, we have certain expectations for ALL of our volunteers.
The most important expectation of our Community Sponsors is that they have the time and the ability to meet with the officer they are sponsoring, in-person, at least once a month. We expect our sponsors to be pro-active in reaching out to the officer they are sponsoring. If they turn down one invitation, that is not an excuse to stop reaching out. Of course, there will be a month or two where schedules simply cannot be deconflicted. That's ok. But the expectation is that the sponsor and officer will meet in person once a month.
We expect for our Sponsors to be capable to exchange ideas in a respectful manner. The officer may end up wanting to discuss hot-button issues such as religion and politics. That's completely ok! We want the officers to hear as many opinions on as many different topics as possible, to see the diversity of life and opinions in the U.S. However, especially with hot-button issues, it is important to be respectful, and be mindful of the fact that not everyone will agree with that opinion. We expect that you will let the officer know that your opinions do not reflect the opinions of the U.S. Government or the American people as a whole. Consider explaining dissenting opinions to the officer.
We expect that none of our Sponsors will abuse their relationship with the International Officer. None of our sponsors will engage in proselytizing. This program is a cultural exchange, not indoctrination. Our sponsors will not sell or rent property, vehicles, or make any monetary gain through this relationship. Sponsors who violate this expectation will be dismissed from the program.
It is important that our Sponsors are not taken advantage of as well. Know, that as a sponsor, you should not be helping the Officer with their homework. If the Officer is having trouble with their coursework, they can work with their professor. If they need a paper edited, they can see Ms. Beth Summe at the ISMO office.
As a Sponsor, you are not the Officer's personal chauffeur or babysitter. If one day the spouse has a medical appointment while the Officer is at school, and you want to offer your help to take the spouse to the appointment, that is fine! If you want to babysit the Officer's child once or twice, that's fine! But you should not feel obligated in any way, shape, or form to do so. That is not your role as a sponsor.
Do not give the Officer a loan. If the Officer is struggling financially, they should come to the International Student Management Office to discuss their options.
We understand that a year can be a long time. If at any point during the year, your circumstances change and you find that you no longer have the time or energy to continue sponsoring, we expect you to reach out to the Sponsor Program Manager as soon as possible. We want to ensure that any officer who wants a sponsor, has one. We will make arrangements to find a new sponsor for the officer if need be.