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The Observer Paper 12/22/14

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Home arrow Opinion arrow Our View arrow BUILD BRIDGES THAT SPAN THE GLOBE



La Grande-area residents do not have to look far to see the world.

All they have to do is look onto the Eastern Oregon University campus and they'll see the world in a microcosm.

EASTERN HAS 96 international students from 36 countries and 39 students from the Pacific islands of Micronesia.

The university is hoping that community members take an interest in the international students, but not simply by attending special activities such as Island Magic on campus. Local people can sign up to connect with an international student regularly by joining the Friendship Families program, coordinated by Maren Peterson and Kim Donivan.

Local families will be encouraged to include their international student in activities once a month, such as having them over for dinner or a barbecue, going for a ride, asking them to join them at a sporting event or at a movie, going skiing or sledding or inviting them to a birthday party.

AREA FAMILIES interested in connecting with an international student should call Peterson at 962-3085 or Donivan at 962-7211 for information.

It will be a win-win for La Grande-area residents and the international students. Both will be enriched as oceans are spanned, cultures are bridged and lifelong relationships are built.


Genevieve Carter, the 80-something golden-ager featured in Friday's newspaper, is among the thousands of volunteers who make our communities tick.

CARTER, a retired teacher who serves as a volunteer helping children with their reading and writing at Greenwood School, is yet one more example of the value of mentoring and a lifelong commitment to education. Her example could serve as an inspiration to seniors and others who are thinking about getting involved. All sorts of community groups have needs that beg to be filled by people with a commitment to building community, solving problems — and probably having a little fun besides.

In these times of pinched school budgets, volunteers for schools are all the more valuable. And an involved older person can inspire a student for a lifetime, possibly even to follow their example in giving to others.

A lot is being said about old folks' security. Sure, there is the health of social security to consider, along with the issues of affordable prescription drugs and housing, rising taxes and other matters. But a big part of security, personal anyway, is giving something to the community, and collecting perpetual rewards in return.


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